Downtown Houston’s new charity bar is almost ready to make its debut. Angel Share HTX, the new occupant of the former OKRA Charity Saloon (924 Congress Ave.), will open June 11, owner Mary Ellen Angel tells CultureMap.
Angel, the charity saloon’s longtime general manager, purchased the bar for $10 back in March. Since then, she’s been working to update the space and getting it ready to serve food and drinks to customers.
The bar's new name is a nod to the term for the whiskey that evaporates from barrels while it ages. It’s said to be the "angel's share" of the barrel.
“It’s kind of the same concept with the bar,” Angel tells CultureMap. “We make money. We donate a portion of the profits to charity every month. It goes into the air, to the community.”
As with OKRA, Angel Share’s charitable contributions will vary from month to month based on the profit it generates. Non-profits will be able to apply to receive that month’s donation, with a winner selected by the bar’s patrons. First up will be the charities that would have received funds prior to last year's shutdown.
All of the proceeds from drinks on a special charity menu will be included in each month’s donation. At opening, the selections include classics such as the Old Fashioned, Southside, and frozen bellini, but Angel says she’ll rotate the drinks quarterly.
In addition to the charity menu, the bar will make patrons all of their favorite classic cocktails as well as serve locally brewed craft beer and a small selections of wines. During happy hour from 4-6:30 pm, patrons will receive half-off beers, wines by-the-glass, and well drinks.
Angel collaborated with chef Dax McAnear (Shoot the Moon) to create a brief menu of dishes that are easy to eat by hand. Offerings include chicken tenders with green curry ranch, tempura-fried okra, and a Monte Cristo wrap that comes complete with raspberry jam and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies use a recipe Angel inherited from her great grandmother. Naturally, they’re served with a glass of milk.
Local artists Kati Ozanic and Yolle Lemberger contributed to a redesign of the space’s second floor loft. Changes include new flooring, new booths, and lighting with a celestial theme. The most noticeable changes have been to the stairs, which have been painted blue and light up when people walk up and down them.
“We did the mural on the stairs, which is kind of the story of how the bar came to be. It’s got little nods to the bars that helped us become the bar we are now,” Angel says.
After being shut down for over a year, Angel says she’s excited to get back behind the bar along with some of OKRA’s former bartenders. The area around Market Square has been on an upswing as establishments such as Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge, High & Dry, and the Pastry War have all reopened recently, and new nightclub Cherry has been drawing crowds.
“It’s banging downtown,” she says. “There are lots of people are out and about. I think it’s going to be busy.”