Attention, local whiskey fans, a new festival in north Houston is serving up curated tastings, fine dining, and classes on all things malt.
Things kick off on Friday, April 29 at 6 pm with a four-course dinner in partnership with sustainability-focused food group The Butcher’s Ball. The ticketed event is limited to 100 guests and will feature three talented Houston Top Chef contestants: current competitor Evelyn Garcia, and past participants Dawn Burrell and Sasha Grumman. The trio are working in collaboration with Daniel Chang of recently debuted City Place eatery Sushi Rebel and the popular Uptown Sushi.
MKT Distillery will pair a whiskey sampling or cocktail with each course; entertainment comes via Austin-based guitarist, singer and songwriter Sophia Johnson. Fun continues after dinner with DJ Redd spinning, cigar rolling, and, naturally, more whiskey samplings. Tickets for this affair are $150.
The next day, Saturday, April 30, starts with a pair of free fitness classes on The Plaza, beginning with HIIT at 8:30 am and followed by yoga/meditation at 10 am. The first 50 participants will receive a voucher for a free smoothie at neighboring Island Grill.
Following the fitness activities, City Place Marriott will host a series of free seminars including Collecting Whiskey 101 with Carl Norris at 10 am, The Business of Whiskey at 12:30 pm, and A Perfect Pour: Whiskey Cocktail Class with acclaimed mixologist Patrick Abalos of Not Too Sweet Ventures at 2 pm. (Note: Tickets for the cocktail class have already been claimed.)
Next up is the weekend’s signature happening, A Taste of City Place, which takes place from 3 pm to 8 pm. This event features separate, ticketed whiskey and food sampling areas, a complimentary main stage plus a cash beer, wine, and cocktail garden.
More than a dozen distillers will be presenting, including MKT Distillery, Devil’s River Whiskey, Gentle Ben, Frontier Spirits, Hill Country Distillers, Still Austin, Old Humble Distilling Company, and Rebecca Creek.
For the “taste” side of the festival, food-focused nonprofit Urban Harvest will showcase bites from award-winning pitmaster Ara Malekian of Harlem Road Texas BBQ in Richmond, and acclaimed Greater Houston-area chefs including Austin Simmons of Tris, Drake Leonards of Eunice, Jason Kerr of Little Kitchen HTX, Bryan Caswell, and more.
Onstage entertainment performances include Rapture at 3 pm, Jake Bush at 4:30 pm, Tony and Liz at 5:30 pm, and a surprise headliner from 6 until 8 pm.
Sampling tickets for A Taste of City Place are $45 per person for whiskey and $35 per person for food. A discounted combo package is $65 per person.
Sunday Funday comes on May 1 with Waffles & Wheels from 9 am to noon. This outdoor brunch will feature a host of Art Cars, music from DJ Redd, family friendly activities, and bites, syrups, and condiments derived from whiskey. Unlike other events, Waffles & Wheels is non-ticketed and free to attend. (Brunch items will be available for individual purchase.)
Given the distance from central Houston and the spirited fun, attendees are encouraged to spend a night or the entire weekend at one of City Place’s three onsite hotels.
To sweeten the deal, the AAA Four Diamond Houston City Place Marriott is offering its TX Whiskey Weekend package, which includes two complimentary welcome drinks and parking for a special rate at $209 per night. The nearby Residence Inn Houston Springwoods Village has the Snacks On Us package offers overnight rates starting at $149 with a $10 snacks credit. The Courtyard Houston Springwoods Village boasts standard rates beginning at $104 a night.
HTX Whiskey Weekend runs April 29-May 1 at City Place Plaza (1250 Lake Plaza Dr.) in Spring. Tickets and a fill schedule are available online.