Little Woodrow's owner Danny Evans opened Kirby Ice House this weekend, but you probably already know that. Lured by the combination of a new destination and good weather, hundreds of people showed up opening weekend.
"We had a line to get in (Friday) from about 9 to 10:30 pm," Evans tells CultureMap. "Then we had another short line to get in Saturday about 5 pm. It was packed."
The crowd found an expansive space that, as Evans promised when he spoke to CultureMap about the concept in February, has a more upscale feel than what's typically associated with Little Woodrow's. Images of vintage movie stars adorn the walls, and a lounge area features leather couches. The tap wall offers over 50 beers, mostly Texas craft, as well as eight draft cocktails.
Of course, the space's highlight is its one-acre backyard. Featuring four oak trees, vintage-looking furniture, games like cornhole, and the El Camino that used to reside above the El Cantina in the Heights, Kirby Ice House's backyard is an adult playground that recalls the sprawling beer garden at recently opened Axelrad in Midtown.
"Axelrad is very similar, a beer-only concept, not as big, but they’re killing it," Evans says. "The biggest problem is they can’t get the beer out fast enough."
Speedy service is one of Evans's highest priorities. On Saturday, 10 bartenders worked to keep up with the demand, but even that might not be enough, given the number of requests his staff is fielding to host happy hours and charity events. Evans plans to add a third bar in the backyard for those busy nights that are coming his way for as long as the city's recent run of pleasant weather lasts. He'll also add shade sails to the backyard to mitigate some of the summer's heat.
So far, the only complaint has been that the bar isn't following Cottonwood's lead by allowing parents to bring children during the day, but Evans says he's heard from other customers who prefer that Kirby Ice House be adults-only.
"I had a lot of people say thank you. I love Cottonwood personally, but people who want to go and drink don’t want a bunch of kids running around," he says.
Kirby Ice House is open Monday through Friday from 2 pm until 2 am, Saturday from 10 am until 2 am, and Sunday from 12 pm until 2 am.