EZ like Sunday morning

Coltivare owners' new Heights 'liquor lounge' chills out with vintage vibe and ice-cold cocktails

Coltivare owners plan vintage-vibed 'liquor lounge' for The Heights

EZ’s Liquor Lounge Matt Tanner
Bartender Matt Tanner will lead the team at EZ's Liquor Lounge. Photo by Mikah Danae

Agricole Hospitality is finally ready to reveal the details on its new bar that’s opening next to Coltivare. The time has come to share news about EZ’s Liquor Lounge.

Located next to Coltivare in the former Blue Line Bike Lounge space on White Oak Dr., EZ’s will be a partnership between Agricole — the company behind Coltivare, Eight Row Flint, and three establishments in EaDo — and Matt Tanner, an Anvil veteran who spent several years working as the concept beverage manager for Pappas Restaurants.

“The bike shop was always a dope building in a dope location,” Agricole partner Morgan Weber tells CultureMap. “Even before EZ’s came along, we thought if we could ever get the bike shop there would be a lot of good synergy with Coltivare.”

The company originally leased the space in early 2019, but the pandemic pushed back the original timeline for opening. With the plans having received the necessary approvals from the city of Houston, EZ’s should open in August or September.

While Tanner enjoyed his time at Pappas — and customers at their restaurants locations should quietly thank him for all those refreshing frozen cocktails — he couldn’t pass on the opportunity to open his own bar.

“I’ve always wanted this,” Tanner explains. “This is the only thing I’ve really wanted for 15 years. Now I have it.”

As its name implies, EZ’s will have a vintage feel with straightforward cocktails and an accessible food menu. Weber recalls the conversations he and Tanner had with Agricole partners Ryan Pera and Vincent Huynh about the concept that would become EZ’s. They realized they all enjoyed drinking at casual neighborhood hangouts more than, in his words, “super fussy cocktail bars.”

“What if we explored our interpretation of some of our favorite divey bars we’ve gone to around the country over the last 10 years,” he explains. “Really comfortable, neighborhood bars that don’t take themselves too seriously on the surface but are really fun to hang out and drink in. EZ’s came out of that.”

The group understands that dive bars aren’t created from scratch. They evolve over time. Still, their goal is to create a bar that feels like it’s been there forever.

The result is a bar filled with vintage furniture — think vinyl chairs with chrome bases, pool tables, and neon signs from the era when people could still smoke in bars — along with nods to Tanner and Weber’s shared interest in hunting. Taking so long to open the bar has allowed Tanner to scour antique shops in Texas and beyond for choice finds. He estimates 90-percent of the furniture and decor is vintage.

“The goal with the aesthetic was to have it filled with so much interesting stuff that your eyeballs don’t get a chance to rest,” Weber says.

Where EZ’s will distinguish itself from the bars that inspired it is the quality of its execution. Cocktails will be served with the same standards the group is known for: fresh juices, quality spirits, precise measurements, etc. In addition, they’ve invested in extra freezer capacity so that drinks can be served in ice-cold mugs or with a heaping mound of crushed ice. That sounds pretty good during the heat of a Houston summer.

“When you get in from being outside, you get an ice cold drink,” Tanner says. “You’re instantly refreshed.”

Similarly, the food offerings will be well executed takes on the sort of retro-inspired fare that bars used to serve in crock pots: queso, hot dogs, chili, etc. Customers will also be able to order pizza from Coltivare.

“The food menu, we’re still exploring a lot of what that’s going to be,” Weber says. “It’s not going to be a departure from what would be appropriate for a bar like this. It’s just executed well.”

“It’s going to be a really fun place,” Tanner concludes. “We’ll have pool tables, dart boards. It’s going to be a good time. There’s no other way to say it.”