return of the mac

Downtown's largest covered patio bar welcomes hot Houston crowd for massive opening bash

Downtown's largest covered patio bar opens with hot Houston crowd

McIntyre's downtown opening
Hundreds packed the bar opening.  Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
Young professionals popped in to see the space. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
Taking in the scene. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
Chillin' on the patio. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
Neon signs made for perfect selfies. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
McInttyre's team members greeted the throngs. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
Fun and games. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
The colorful interior. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
Patio partying. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
First-floor fun. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
The bar spans multiple levels. Photo by Trust in Visionaries
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening
McIntyre's downtown opening

If the completely ridic recent opening is any indicator, the future of downtown nightlife may well be in one of its oldest buildings. Downtown’s largest covered patio bar, McIntyre’s, recently opened with a jam-packed event that looked positively pre-COVID.

Young professionals, downtown regulars and residents, and even some veteran politicos popped into the sprawling, multi-level space that was once the beloved Spaghetti Warehouse building, which dates back to the early 1900s.

What they found was nothing short of a dramatic transformation; the new space in Market Square boasts a sparkling new facade, more than 7,500 square feet of second-level space, sweeping downtown and Buffalo Bayou views, a vibrantly decorated main space, lounge seating in front of a stage, an upstairs L-shaped patio (plus dog-friendly patios), and the bar’s signature swings (an Instagram favorite, to be sure).

The transformation has been in the making since early July 2018. Plans were made to completely gut the old building (60 percent of load-bearing walls were removed) and actually add food trucks inside the venue (the city quickly nixed that idea), co-owner Kyle Berg tells CultureMap.

Given the previous devastation of the familiar (and rumored to be haunted) building due to flooding, new designs means the entire downstairs can take on potential flood waters — a total gamechanger, should the bayou rise.

By the numbers, the new downtown McIntyre’s boasts 65 TVs, two giant screens, 24 beers on tap and 30 bottled and canned, two cocktails on tap, and the “only highball Ranch Water machine in the world, to my knowledge,” Berg notes.

(Fun fact for Ranch Water fans: Berg notes that the machine makes the cocktail with a club soda that’s 40 percent more carbonated than a Topo Chico.)

Food offerings —via food trucks— include hamburgers, hot dogs, quesadillas, pizzas, popcorn,  peanuts, nachos, and more pub-style fare.

As for the scene, Berg says the crowd is a mix of those who understand the brand (followers flock to the Heights bar regularly and now, downtown) and those looking for a laid-back, downtown hang. Between live music — country nights and more — and pre-and-post Astros gaming, the massive bar promises to be a favorite.

Berg and his partners — Chase McIntyre, Brian McIntyre, Michael Paolucci, James Crable, and Trey Helle — may have just accomplished a downright historic feat (seriously, how often are beloved Houston buildings adaptively reused) here, but they’re far from done. He teases two new McIntyre’s locations in San Antonio.