Anyone who follows enough Houston bartenders on Instagram already knows that Night Shift has opened. They've been posting pictures from the eagerly anticipated new cocktail bar that recently debuted at 3501 Harrisburg Blvd.
Night Shift unites two veteran bartenders. Justin Ware brings experience from Johnny's Gold Brick, where he worked as the general manager for five years. His business partner Patrick Abalos has both worked and consulted for a number of places around town. Together, they teamed up with local design and construction firm Rootlab (Giant Leap Coffee, Cafe Louie, Penny Quarter) to transform a warehouse into a stylish, modern cocktail bar.
Three years in the making, Night Shift took longer to open than anyone would have anticipated, but it's already drawing crowds. So far, Ware is pleased with the response he's received.
"We’d been dreaming about what this place would be and we think it’s better than we could have imagined," Ware said in a statement. "The last year and a half has had many ups and downs. Navigating a pandemic while trying to build a bar is not something we ever thought we’d live through, but here we are. We can’t wait to see what the next chapter has in store."
Inside, patrons will find a walnut-topped bar with seating for 18, part of a 60-seat downstairs. A 55-seat rooftop deck with a view of the downtown skyline will open soon.
Ware and Abalos have stocked the back bar with 200 spirits, but the focus is on the extensive selection of cocktails. Night Shift offers a wide range of classics — everything from an Old Fashioned and a Moscow Mule to a Cosmopolitan — along with three draft cocktails, two frozen cocktails, two non-alcoholic cocktails, and seven originals that form a rotating, seasonal menu. Fitting for bartenders who have placed in international competitions, presentation plays almost as big a role as flavor, which ensures each cocktail looks as good as it tastes.
"We want all to feel welcome, whether you’re ordering a beer and watching the sunset on the roof deck or enjoying a solid cocktail in the space,” Abalos said. “In addition to our cocktails, we will have an accessible and delicious rotating wine list and 4-6 local craft beers on draft (and 2-4 draft cocktails) as well as many local bottled and canned options.”
Chef Danny Leal leads the kitchen. Known for his A Comer taco pop-up that served at Johnny's Gold Brick throughout the last year, Leal draws upon his Mexican heritage to create dishes such as chicharrones, enchiladas, and a vegetarian take on a "Gas Station Burrito." The kitchen is open until 1:45 am, making it an appealing destination for service industry workers after their shifts. Weekend brunch will be added in the coming weeks.
Night Shift is open daily from 4 pm-2 am.