ride the lightning
Rockin' new bar charges up EaDo with live music, cool cocktails, and plenty of pool tables
Agricole Hospitality is ready to unveil its new bar in EaDo. Lightnin’s Good Times opens this Wednesday, October 11.
Located in the former Miss Carousel space, Lightnin’s Good Times builds on Agricole’s success operating bars that utilize the standards of craft cocktails — quality spirits, fresh juices, eye-catching garnishes — in a casual, welcoming environment. Originally displayed at the first location of Eight Row Flint in the Heights, that perspective has grown recently with the addition of EZ’s Liquor Lounge in the Heights and Eight Row Flint’s second location in the East End.
Unlike those sister concepts, Lightnin’s Good Times feature a stage that will host live music during the week and DJs on the weekends. Inside, customers will find pinball machines, dart boards, and pool tables. The decor takes a page from EZ’s with vintage advertisements, neon signs, and plenty of TVs for following along with the night’s games.
Agricole Hospitality co-owner Morgan Weber tells CultureMap that the decision to shift from Miss Carousel to Lightnin’s reflects the way EaDo has changed over the past few years. Instead of the area’s bars and restaurants being destinations themselves, they operate in a larger context of people coming there before and after Astros, Rockets, and Dynamo games.
“If that’s the direction the neighborhood is going, I want to create something for the people who want to pre-game or post-game it,” Weber says. “If people are going to see a show at Toyota Center, they can come before or after to keep the party going.”
In that context, a more casual bar with an affordable menu of well executed classic cocktails should be a welcome addition to the area. The Lightnin’s menu includes staples such as the margarita, ranch water, Old Fashioned, vodka and gin martinis, and a gin and tonic. Of course, the bar serves a nitro espresso martini made local favorite Katz Coffee. Food will be provided by Vinny's, Agricole's pizzeria that's next to Lightnin's.
“I could never say we haven’t learned a ton from EZ’s over the last year. To me it seems like people are less about getting their skirt blown up with your ability to throw something in a centrifuge and clarify it and more about having a place they can go have good quality drinks at a good price,” Weber says. “When we designed the drink menu, I don’t want to sell people $14, $16 cocktails. I want people to come out and get $9 or $10 drinks that are high quality and work for us financially and give people a high quality experience.”
Weber says the live music component takes inspiration from staples like Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar and Shoeshine Charley’s Big Lounge. The new stage has been designed to make it easy for local acts to showcase their talent.
“It’s a nice vibe on a random weeknight to go somewhere and see a band that just crushes. [We want] To support that side of the artist with a space they can play in easily without having to schlep all their gear, just plug in and play,” he says.
Of course, Lightnin’s Good Times isn’t Agricole’s only new concept for 1201 St Emanuel. The company is also working on a new Tex-Mex restaurant that will open in the former Indianola space. Weber shares that he expects the new eatery to open in mid-to-late November and that the biggest change to the space is the installation of a new bar. More details, including the restaurant’s name, will be shared closer to when it opens.
“Lightnin’s was just easier. It was a lighter life, and we could get things done quicker,” he says. “I’m super excited about that, too. I always wanted to do a Tex-Mex place.”