Houston's newest poolside bar and restaurant has quietly opened to the public. Space Cowboy is now open at the Heights House Hotel (100 W. Cavalcade St.) and will celebrate its grand opening this Friday, April 23.
The first project from the recently formed Night Moves Hospitality, Space Cowboy offers a lineup of tropical-inspired drinks from bar managers Samantha Ruiz and Karen Cervantes (both formerly of Monkey's Tail) alongside a menu of island-inspired food from chef Lyle Bento (Southern Goods, Underbelly).
Inside, the bar seats 35, but Space Cowboy's real draw is its 2,000-square-foot patio and adjacent, 4.000-square-foot green space next to the hotel's pool. Both diners and hotel guests have access to Space Cowboy and amenities such as poolside cabanas.
"I really like hotel bars. When you go to New York or Chicago, they're really great, and I wish Houston had that," Night Moves partner Greg Perez said during a recent episode of CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" podcast. "Space Cowboy is kind of a play off that. It's a fun spot, it's vibrant, colorful, quirky. You don't really know what to expect, based off the name."
Bento's menu draws upon his Hawaiian roots in dishes such as the Huli Huli chicken, a variation of barbecue chicken that's marinated in a teriyaki-style sauce. Similarly, lechon kawali is a Filipino-style pork belly dish that's become popular in Hawaii. Other dishes include a gem lettuce salad topped with ahi tuna, coconut shrimp bao, and a double patty cheeseburger topped with "boom boom sauce."
Drinks run the gamut from boozy concoctions to lighter sips designed to be enjoyed during a lazy poolside afternoon. Choices include the Comin’ 2gether (house banana rum, Screwball whiskey, and a papaya popsicle), the El Pajaro (Campari, white rum, Apaluz mezcal, and pineapple juice), and the Cream Fortress (aguardiente, mango, kiwi, coconut, and boba). To fit the setting, drinks are served in biodegradable plastic containers, drink pouches, and large format, shareable containers.
"We're a step under [a traditional tiki bar]," Perez says. "Maybe a little easier, softer. Probably just as boozy, but Lei Low is the standard."
Space Cowboy is one of four new projects Night Moves plans to open in 2021. Next up will be Trash Panda Drinking Club, a Southern-inspired reworking of the former Edison & Patton space. Look for it to open in the next month or two.