Montrose's new rooftop bar

Austin-based bar serves up tropical vibes to prime Montrose rooftop

Austin-based bar serves up tropical vibes to prime Montrose rooftop

Idle Hands bar interior
Courtesy of Idle Hands

An Austin bar favorite will makes its Houston debut tomorrow. Idle Hands opens Wednesday, November 10 at the Montrose Collective mixed-use development (910 Westheimer Rd.)

Located next to Uchi in the former Rosemont space, Idle Hands offers two floor of eating and drinking that’s highlighted by an expansive rooftop patio. The bar features live music daily, along with Caribbean-inspired food and drinks

Owned by Austin’s Midas Willum Hospitality, the original Idle Hands is part of that city’s bustling Rainey Street nightlife district. Its sister concepts include Austin establishments Found Texas, Taster’s Table Club, and Eat. Drink. Texas.

Owners Matt Wolski and Andrew Hunter based Idle Hands on trips they took to Colombia and Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The Austin location opened in early 2020; when it reopened after the pandemic shut down, Wolski says the tropical decor led to it becoming “the vacation everyone wanted but couldn’t take.”

“The Idle Hands experience is curated but relaxed,” Wolski says. “They can expect to feel comfortable there no matter what you’re wearing, whether you’re heading to a fancy dinner or coming from a workout.”

Overall, the goal is to create a space that’s equally appealing as a before or after dinner spot for people coming from any of the neighborhood’s upscale restaurants as well as groups of friends who want to enjoy the rooftop vibes. To create the proper environment, the space received a comprehensive set of renovations that brightened the environment.

Designed by the partners in collaboration with Nisha Ackerman of Austin-based Atlas Architecture and built by Houston’s Construction Concepts, details include: a white tile floor with brass inlay on the first floor; honey brown wood floors on the second level and a 13-foot LED wall that can be used for sports or by a DJ to display videos. Up on the roof, groups will find plush couches, while date nights can linger at cocktail tables.

Cocktails are designed with craft standards (proper glassware, good ice, fresh juices) but with an eye towards being executed quickly to keep wait times briefs. Highlights from the cocktail menu include the French 85, a riff on the classic French 75 that uses guava-infused gin, and the Rosa Mexicano made with mezcal, lime juice and raspberry sorbet.

Among the food options, Wolski cites a few favorites such as the plantain chips with guacamole, the Lover Boy burger made with a beef-and-chorizo patio, and a take on birria tacos made with pulled pork.

“We spent a good amount of time developing the menu,” Wolski says. “It’s 10 to 12 items. We think everything is going to be surprisingly delicious.”

The bar will remain in soft opening mode throughout November while it tweaks procedures and ramps up staffing. Around the time of the grand opening in December, Idle Hands will add weekend brunch and happy hour menus.

“Montrose has always been an interesting part of the town, but it’s having a moment,” Wolski says. “We thought everyone would embrace what Idle Hands is about.”