One of Houston’s most legendary dive bars has been reborn with a new name and new ownership. Alice’s Tall Texan has reopened as the Tall Texan II.
Open for 36 years, Alice’s served cold beer in giant, frosted chalices to generations of thirsty Houstonians. Proprietor Alice Ward closed the establishment in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the bar’s story has a new chapter.
Jesse Botello recently reopened the bar, which is located near the Heights at 4904 N. Main St. A Houston hospitality veteran who is also a co-owner of Midtown bar Glitter Karaoke, Botello tells CultureMap he looked into leasing the Tall Texan space as soon as it closed. After a few twists and turns, he came to an agreement with the property owner.
“I saw the potential after it closed down,” Botello says. “It’s in a great neighborhood . . . The clientele is really diverse. Glitter we get every ethnicity, which is really cool. That’s what Houston’s about.”
The two biggest changes that people will notice are the addition of a full liquor license and the ability to pay with a credit card. Food trucks will park on-site to keep patrons fed.
Botello sourced some decor from a farm in the Texas countryside. Porcelain-topped tables and vintage chairs from Goodwill complete the look, which is designed to be cozy and welcoming.
He adds that regulars have been coming by and checking the place out. They tell him it looks very different, although he doesn’t agree. Ward stopped by, too.
“She was there with probably six or seven regulars. Everyone knew her,” he says. “She had three Tito’s and tonics and left.”
Adding a full liquor license means the new Tall Texan will serve cocktails (a menu is still under development), but regular shouldn’t worry too much. Ice cold beer still flows from the taps. Botello even managed to source four dozen chalices to serve them in.
“I think it’s going to be a good little spot,” Botello says. “I don’t think it’s going to be a huge money maker. I’m 52 now. I don’t care a lot about money. It’s more about being happy and doing something for our friends.”