Photo by Becca Wright

One of Houston’s favorite ways to beat the summer heat returns for 2023 with an enhanced offering to keep the party going.

Second Ward pool bar El Segundo Swim Club opens for the season on Saturday, April 29. Located in the Second Ward at 5180 Avenue L, El Segundo is owner Matthew Healey’s option for adults who lack regular access to a pool (21-plus only). The 15,000-square-foot venue features a 1,400-square-foot pool as well as hammocks, lounge chairs, and a changing area.

To access the facility, customers simply purchase a day pass via the Tock reservation platform. Priced at $35 on Saturday and $20 on Sunday, admission includes towels and sunscreen.

On eight Sundays throughout the summer, the bar will host Sound Waves. The 90-120 minute DJ sets will feature top talent such as members of The Faint, Disko Cowboy, and Fat Tony (see full lineup below).

Those who want a to entertain a group of friends can rent one of the property’s six cabanas. Sized for groups of 10-15 people, prices range from $100-300 plus day passes. They rise to $300 each on Sound Waves Sundays.

While there, people can snack on food from food trucks and sip a selection of wine, grower champagne, beer, and cocktails created by Chris Frankel, an Anvil alum who’s consulted for resulting including the Heights location of Mala Sichuan.

Both Mala and El Segundo also feature design by local firm Gin Design Group. The pool bar takes some of its inspiration from artist Roberto Burle Marx and features a retro, Brazilian-inspired design that includes lots of plants “and a bit of kitsch,” according to the firm’s website.

“El Segundo Swim Club has become the premier destination for those seeking a fun and unpretentious, yet sophisticated pool club in Houston,” Healey said in a statement. “We’re very excited to introduce our new Sound Waves event series this season, where we’ve lined up a mix of sought-after indie DJs from around the country to play sets at our pool club in the Second Ward.”

Sound Waves Dates:

May 7 — The Faint
May 28 — Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear)
Jun. 4 — Disko Cowboy
Jun. 25 — Neon Indian
Jul. 23 — Washed Out
Aug. 27 — Fat Tony
Sept. 17 — Twin Shadow
Sept. 24 — Them Jeans

El Segundo Swim Club

Photo by Becca Wright

El Segundo returns April 29.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston pizza maestro retools his wildly successful new Heights restaurant after overwhelming response

that's a lot of pizza

Pizza-loving Houstonians have accomplished something that once seemed impossible. They’ve left chef Anthony Calleo speechless — sort of.

The first week of service at Gold Tooth Tony’s, Calleo’s new Detroit-style pizzeria in the Heights, has so vastly exceeded his expectations that he’s had to rethink his plans for operating the restaurant. Even with limited hours of 4-10 pm, it’s been selling out of pizza. As a reminder, Calleo has sold Houstonians a lot of pizza between the Pi Pizza food truck, the Pi Pizza restaurant, and in his current role as executive chef and co-owner of Montrose favorite Rudyard’s.

“I’ve done this before. I’ve sold a bunch of pizza. We know how to do that. The fact that we’re running out of food, we didn't really expect,” Calleo tells CultureMap. “What we thought we’d do in a 14-hour day after a couple months of practice is what we’re doing in a three-and-a-half hour day.”

He adds that on Sunday Gold Tooth Tony’s sold more pizza in a single hour than in any hour he can remember from the Pi days. That’s a lot of pizza for a restaurant that occupies a 1,000-square-foot former doughnut shop.

Having survived a hectic weekend, Calleo closed on Monday and Tuesday to give its cooks a well-deserved break. The restaurant reopened for dinner today (Wednesday, September 20) with dough that he and chef Adam Bitner made for the restaurant.

In the meantime, he’s ordered more pizza pans and is looking into adding a larger walk-in cooler to deal with the unexpected demand. Whatever he decides, it will be done with his staff in mind.

“I’m not going to grind those dudes into dust. They deserve a break. They busted their ass for us at a brand new job,” he says. “They did great, period.”

Part of meeting the demand for pizza means temporarily slimming down the menu by cutting dishes such as queso and mac and cheese. Although Calleo had planned to roll out lunch as soon as this week, the restaurant will remain dinner only for now.

“I didn’t get into this business to tell people no, but it’s mathematics and physics. If I could argue with those, I wouldn’t be a chef — I’d be a super villain,” he says.

Meanwhile, the search has already begun for a second location. Calleo aims to strike while the iron is hot — and Houstonians are eating him out of pizza.

Dim sum destination Kim Son — Stafford and Houston pho favorite announce surprising shutters

2 vietnamese restaurants shutter

Two prominent Vietnamese restaurants announced they will close by the end of the month. Both Kim Son’s Stafford location and Pho Binh by Night will soon serve their final meals.

Kim Son revealed in a social media post that its location in The Fountains shopping center will close this Sunday, September 24. Open since 1999, the restaurant is Kim Son’s third location, joining its original location in EaDo and a restaurant in Chinatown.

“This decision was not made lightly, and it comes with mixed emotions,” the statement reads in part. “We have cherished every moment of serving you, creating memorable dining experiences, and being part of your celebrations and gatherings.”

Kim Son COO Tao La told the Houston Chronicle that the company chose to close the Stafford location due to a proposed rent increase from the landlord. Known for its lively dim sum service, the restaurant has been a staple for diners through Stafford, Sugar Land, and Missouri City.

To partially compensate for the closure, Kim Son’s Chinatown location (10603 Bellaire Blvd) will begin serving dim sum for lunch on October 2.

Pho Binh by Night will close Sunday, October 1, one week after Kim Son, according to a social media post announcing the closure.

“This decision was extremely hard for us to make as we have fed off of this foundation for so long,” the post reads in part. “The challenges we’ve faced in recent times have made it increasingly difficult to continue our journey. It is heart-wrenching to bid farewell to a place that has been our passion and purpose for so long.”

Open since 2010, Pho Binh by Night continued the legacy of the original Pho Binh Trailer that recently closed after 40 years in business. The restaurant’s well-seasoned broth — which could be upgraded with an optional side of bone marrow — and late night hours made it popular with members of Houston’s restaurant community.

James Beard Award winner Justin Yu visited the restaurant for an episode of the Youtube series “Worth It” that’s garnered more than 11 million views since it debuted in 2018. He explained why he drove from his downtown restaurant Theodore Rex to the western edge of Chinatown to visit Pho Binh Night.

“It’s such a clean broth. They’ve obviously taken the time to blanch the bones or skim the bones,” he says. Later, he adds, “This broth is perfect.”

Although both Pho Binh’s original location recently closed and Pho Binh by Night is closing soon, Houstonians still have four other locations at which to dine. They’re all run by different members of the same extended family.

Country star Kane Brown and his biceps set to land in Houston as part of new 'In the Air' tour

big daddy kane

Country singer Kane Brown will return to the road in 2024 with the 29-city In the Air tour, which will culminate with a stop at Toyota Center on April 28.

Starting on March 28 in Charlottesville, Virginia, the tour will play 2-3 shows a week through the beginning of June at arenas, including in Houston on April 28 and Austin on April 29. He'll end his tour in Arlington, Texas on September 14.

For the final five shows on the tour, Brown will switch to stadiums, including the last show at Globe Life Field. Brown will be joined by Tyler Hubbard and Parmalee in both Houston and Austin.

Just like his previous Drunk or Dreaming Tour, which he just finished in early September, Brown will be touring in support of his 2022 album, Different Man. Although it was the first of his three albums not to go to No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts (it charted at No. 2), it still notched four top 10 songs.

The new tour's title, In the Air, is a reference to Brown's new single, “I Can Feel It,” which samples Phil Collins’ legendary drum solo and single from “In the Air Tonight.”

Fans can register now at kanebrownmusic.com for the artist pre-sale starting on Tuesday, September 26 at 10 am ET time. Tickets forthe tourwill go on-sale to the general public onThursday, September 28 at 10 am local time.


  • Thursday, March 28, 2024: Charlottesville, VA, John Paul Jones Arena
  • Friday, March 29, 2024: Pittsburgh, PA, PPG Paints Arena
  • Saturday, March 30, 2024: Newark, NJ, Prudential Center
  • Thursday, April 4, 2024, Detroit, MI, Little Caesars Arena
  • Friday, April 5, 2024: Toronto, ON, Scotiabank Arena
  • Saturday, April 6, 2024: Buffalo, NY, KeyBank Center
  • Thursday, April 11, 2024: Kansas City, MO, T-Mobile Center
  • Friday, April 12, 2024: Rosemont, IL, Allstate Arena
  • Thursday, April 18, 2024: Des Moines, IA, Wells Fargo Arena
  • Friday, April 19, 2024: Minneapolis, MN, Target Center
  • Saturday, April 20, 2024: Grand Forks, ND, Alerus Center
  • Friday, April 26, 2024: Lubbock, TX, United Supermarkets Arena
  • Saturday, April 27, 2024: Houston, Toyota Center
  • Sunday, April 28, 2024: Austin, TX, Moody Center
  • Thursday, May 9, 2024: Eugene, OR, Matthew Knight Arena
  • Friday, May 10, 2024: Sacramento, CA, Golden 1 Center
  • Saturday, May 11, 2024: Sacramento, CA, Golden 1 Center
  • Friday, May 17, 2024: Salt Lake City, UT, Delta Center
  • Saturday, May 18, 2024: Las Vegas, NV, T-Mobile Arena
  • Sunday, May 19, 2024: Tempe, AZ, Boots In The Park
  • Thursday, May 30, 2024: Orlando, FL, Amway Center
  • Friday, May 31, 2024: Tampa, FL, Amalie Arena
  • Saturday, June 1, 2024: Tampa, FL, Amalie Arena
  • Friday, June 7, 2024: Raleigh, NC, PNC Arena
  • Saturday, June 8, 2024: Atlanta, GA, State Farm Arena
  • Thursday, June 20, 2024: Milwaukee, WI, Summerfest
  • Saturday, July 20, 2024: Boston, MA, Fenway Park
  • Friday, August 16, 2024: Seattle, WA, T-Mobile Park
  • Saturday, August 24, 2024: Los Angeles, CA, BMO Stadium
  • Friday, September 6, 2024: Denver, CO, Coors Field
  • Saturday, September 14, 2024: Arlington, TX, Globe LIfe Field