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Down House owner ready to throw a new party on Washington Avenue

Down House owner ready to throw a new party on Washington Avenue

Liberty Station, exterior
Chris Cuscak is bringing a fresh perspective to Liberty Station. Photo by Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Just like restaurants occasionally need some tweaking, even popular bars may occasionally benefit from a fresh perspective. New management brings new ideas that lure patrons to revisit an old favorite they might have otherwise forgotten about.

With that in mind, the owners of Liberty Station have tapped Chris Cusack to serve as the bar’s new operating partner. In his new role, Cusack, the co-owner of Heights restaurant Down House and bar Johnny’s Gold Brick, will be updating the cocktail menu, working to improve service, and making other tweaks to the space.

“We’ve known Chris for years and have always been fans of his restaurants and bars,” Liberty Station co-owner Harres Exezidi tells CultureMap in an email. “As Liberty Station’s eighth birthday looms, it’s appropriate to think about what the next chapter should include, and we're excited about Chris's approach to cocktails, beer and hospitality.”

Speaking to CultureMap, Cusack echoes Exezidi’s sentiments. A self-described Liberty Station regular, Cusack sees Liberty’s potential to remain a vibrant part of Washington Avenue’s mix.

“I love the feel of it, and it really is one of the most logistically well set up bars,” Cusack says. “It has things I always wished we had at Johnny’s. There’s a covered patio. There’s places for games.”

For now, Cusack is focused on rolling out a new cocktail menu. Within the next couple of weeks, the bar will close for a few days for a thorough cleaning and some stuff training. The Lady Liberty food truck will be taking a break in the short term, but the bar’s popular taco Tuesday promotion will remain.

After a rough 2017 that saw him close three restaurants, sell the craft beer bar D&T Drive Inn, declare bankruptcy for Down House, and be sued by some of his former investors, coming on board at Liberty represents something of a fresh start for Cusack. Is this a comeback?

“I’m excited for the opportunity and that’s how I’m choosing to see it,” Cusack says. “Whatever people’s perception was and the challenges and awfulness of closing restaurants, I have always felt confident with my ability to create a great environment for people and show them a good time.

“I was there the last couple of nights focusing on the space from this perspective. I’m throwing a new party now. I like that.”