With patio weather in full effect, Houstonians are looking for outdoor spacing where they can gather while following social distancing protocols. A new bar in the East End that officially opens Friday, October 9 not only fulfills the requirements for outdoor recreation — it’s dog friendly, too.
East End Backyard is the latest project from soccer star Brian Ching. Beyond his reputation as the Houston Dynamo’s all-time greatest player, Ching is also responsible for Pitch 25, the soccer-themed patio bar and beer garden he opened in partnership with The Kirby Group in 2018. Now, he’s following up that smash hit with a new, neighborhood-friendly concept that occupies most of an entire block at the corner of Sampson and Lamar Streets.
The result is a 1930s-era bungalow that’s been converted into a bar with a massive, 16,000-square-foot patio that includes a 3,500-square-foot dog park. Seating options include outdoor couches, Adirondack chairs, and picnic tables. The dog park, which is fully fenced, has picnic tables of its own and can be reserved for private parties. Inside, patrons will find TVs for watching games and high-top tables made from vintage bicycles.
“We wanted to create a laid back outdoor space where people could socialize with friends,” Ching said in a statement. “Right now, our top priority is to provide a safe, comfortable environment with lots of room for social distancing, and we think it will be the perfect place for that.”
East End Backyard offers 25 beers and ciders on tap, including local favorites from Saint Arnold, 8th Wonder, and Eureka Heights, as well as all the usual canned seltzers. Original cocktails include the Tequila Cucumber Cooler, Rum Refresher, and Bourbon Smash. Food trucks have a designated parking area and will supply the necessary bites to comply with TABC requirements.
Opening the bar is just the first phase of Ching and his partners’ vision for the block. Another bungalow on the property will be converted into a taco shop that will open next year; a third house sells merchandise from local artists Donkeeboy and Donkemom. Additional properties could house other food concepts, ultimately creating an indoor-outdoor food hall linked by a common backyard. While East End Backyard is 21-plus after 8 pm, he envisions the final product as a family-friendly destination that could eventually be replicated elsewhere.
“If we slowly build [the block] out, I think it has legs,” Ching says. “A lot of people really love it and enjoy it. If we can grow that, we might have something we could take out to the 'burbs. I think it will appeal to everyone.”
East End Backyard; 1105 Sampson St.; Opens 3 pm Monday - Friday, 11 am Saturday and Sunday; (713) 505-1820.