Photo courtesy of June's All Day

Editor's note: Long before Chris Shepherd became a James Beard Award-winning chef, he developed enough of a passion for wine to work at Brennan's of Houston as a sommelier. He maintains that interest to this day. When Chris expressed interest in writing about wine-related topics for CultureMap, we said yes.

In this week's column, he shares a few of his favorite places to drink wine in Austin. Take it away, Chris.

I spent this past weekend cooking at Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck festival, which benefits my foundation Southern Smoke. This weekend, I tried a few new spots with great wine programs and visited a few old favorites.

I know a lot of you visit Austin frequently, so here’s my list.

Let’s start with the OG, June’s All Day. We visit June’s almost every time we’re in Austin for a bottle of wine, some shaved ham, fried chicken sandwich, and happy smiles. Word on the street (also known as their website and wine list) is that all sparkling wines are 50-percent off on Monday nights after 5 pm. Who says Mondays aren’t a good day to start drinking?

Underdog is a new spot in town that's only been open for a few weeks. It’s a bottle shop and wine bar with an eclectic list focused on small producers — some classic and some new winemakers. I’m a big fan of their selection of Veyder Malberg, which is a really amazing Austrian producer of Riesling and Gruner. They also have a fantastic selection of red Burdgundys and Rhone. Their food is Korean-inspired and delicious. The bites we had were outstanding. I look forward to going back to Underdog over and over again.

For a tried-and-true wine spot, go get in line at Birdie’s(Editor’s note: It just won Restaurant of the Year in the 2023 CultureMap Austin Tastemaker Awards). Don’t worry, it moves fast. Husband/wife team Tracy Malechek and Arjav Ezekiel run one of my favorite restaurants in Austin. Both the menu and the wine list are always. I asked Arjav to share a little insight into his wine program:

“The list changes all the time, and we’re really thoughtful about the wines we serve. We put the same effort into sourcing our wines as Tracy does with her ingredients in the kitchen, and we take a lot of cues from the weather. In the summer, we have more rosé, white, sparkling, and orange wines. In the winter, the whites become more full-bodied with more reds on the list,” he says.

“It’s a thoughtful blend of classic producers and new, fun, young guard. Too many wine lists pick a side, and it was important to us to build a list of things we’re excited about — whether it’s a cool new natty producer or a Burgundy that’s farmed correctly and been around for 100 years. We want our program to be a bridge for drinkers, introducing something new no matter what styles they typically drink.”

If you’re looking for a place you can hang out and drink wine all day or if a magnum is your speed at 12:30 pm, Lolo is your spot. It’s a killer wine shop and bar on the East side of Austin with all natural wines. The staff is very knowledgeable and can recommend anything from Pet Nats to orange wines to your large formats of happiness. Pro tip: if you have afternoon meetings, schedule them here! If you’re trying to avoid meetings, this is also the place to be.

Enough about wine! Here are two other spots that you should definitely check out.

Uptown Sports Clubis Aaron Franklin and James Moody’s new restaurant, and it’s essentially always open. Walk-ins only, 8am-2am. Here you’ll find great po-boys and gumbo, a strong cold seafood selection, and the cocktails are fantastic. Don’t come here to watch sports. The only TV in the building is an 8-inch tube TV showing black and white baseball reruns from the ‘70s.

Este is the new Mexican seafood spot from the Suerte team. Chef Fermin Nuñez has this place humming. The menu has delightful treats like seafood towers and tostadas, grilled seafood (whole turbo is a must!), and don’t sleep on the Camarones “El Ricas.” It’s the messiest dish on the menu, and it’s Chef Fermin’s favorite. It’s mine as well. The wine list rocks, too!

Enjoy Austin! Keep it weird.


Contact our Wine Guy via email at chris@chrisshepherdconcepts.com.

Chris Shepherd won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2014. Last year, he parted ways with Underbelly Hospitality, a restaurant group that currently operates four Houston restaurants: Wild Oats, GJ Tavern, Underbelly Burger, and Georgia James. The Southern Smoke Foundation, a non-profit he co-founded with his wife Lindsey Brown, has distributed more than $10 million to hospitality workers in crisis through its Emergency Relief Fund.

June's All Day
Photo courtesy of June's All Day

June's All Day is one of Chris's favorite spots in Austin.

Brash Brewing Company/Facebook

Where to drink in Houston right now: New breweries and local pours for crushable craft beer

where to drink craft beer now

As we start rounding out the first quarter of 2023, Houston’s craft beer scene shows no signs of slowing down. New breweries continue to pop up all around the greater Houston area while familiar names are rebranding their concepts completely.

No matter the case, Houston proudly boasts a maturing mix of craft beer breweries with exceptional offerings and excellent taproom digs to boot. Here are some new (and new-ish) spots to visit, along with some old storied favorites that have made enough changes to merit a fresh look.

Three New Breweries

Turkey Forrest Brewing
Situated inside Big Owl Craft Beer House, Turkey Forrest is the beer love child of Louie Espinoza and Oscar Gonzalez. While technically considered a “nano brewery,” there’s nothing small about the team’s stellar beer program. The small production facility does not distribute, but they do offer crowlers to-go of their current offerings.

A rotating tap list that’s influenced by the team’s Mexican-American roots sets Turkey Forrest apart from other breweries. Beers like Chasing Marranitos (as in marranitos pan dulce!!) Russian Imperial Stout and Aguas Frescas-Tamarindo Sour are call-backs to the neighborhood that surrounds them. The team also holds their own when brewing traditional styles such as the Coastal DIPA and The Chase American Stout. Don’t miss this “never miss” brewery.

Bad Astronaut Brewing Co.
Opened few months ago in a 36,000-square-foot abandoned screw factory, the massive brewery, which touts a cyberpunk neon aesthetic, has been quick to ramp up production and distribution. Founders Chris Fall and Craig “Rocky” Keener, both hailing from Karbach Brewing, aim to produce mostly crushable, low ABV beers in their initial offerings.

Beers like Cloud Punch German Pilsner and Cruis’n Through Helles Lager are fresh yet delightful retellings of classic German styles. Expect to see their beers popping up on tap handles at local bars and in cans at local supermarkets.

Black Page Brewing Co.
Named after a historically complicated Frank Zappa song, Black Page’s brewpub is situated on the White Oak Bayou in the Near Northside neighborhood across from White Oak Music Hall. It specializes in naturally carbonated German-style lagers and adventurous American-style ales. The brewery itself is quite stunning – the interior consists of a beautiful minimalist design surrounded by an elevated outdoor patio amongst the trees.

Brash Brewing the Mystik IPA
Brash Brewing Company/Facebook

Brash is back.

Their beers are the product of head German master brewer Henryk Orlik, a recent transplant from Louisiana favorite Abita Brewing with a resume that includes brewing everywhere from Canada to Cleveland. Known as the ‘beerfather’ to famous Abita brands like Purple Haze and Andygator, he’s a prized asset to the Houston craft scene.

Amongst their current tap lineup, their Houston Hades Lager truly stands out. Refreshing and naturally carbonated, the bready, lightly bittered lager is a can’t miss amongst Houston’s current offerings.

Two Favorite Breweries Reimagined

Brash Brewing
Brash is back baby! After a recent acquisition by Equal Parts owners Matt Peterson and Nick Sorenson, Houston’s no apologies, heavy metal brewery has staged a resurgence for the ages. Principal in these efforts is the return of former head brewer Vince Mandeville who split ways with Brash’s original ownership a few years ago. With the addition of Mandeville, the beers are as strong as ever.

In particular, The Mystik West Coast IPA (formally branded Pussywagon) is a vibrant piny double West Coast IPA with nuanced sweet undertones. At 7.6 percent ABV, this beer is the highlight of the mainstay lineup. For now, the brewery is only selling cans to go but plans are in the works to reopen the vast taproom.

Whole Foods Brewing
Located in the Amazon-owned grocer’s Galleria store, Houston’s Whole Foods Brewery is one of two facilities in the store’s North American portfolio. The Houston location in recent years has served as a type of proving ground to jump start successful brewing careers — see Dave Ohmer of Seek Beer Company and James Carlyle of Ingenious Brewing.

At the beginning of 2020, Chris Shelton took the reins and hasn’t looked back. Chris, whose global experience includes brewing stints at world renowned Toppling Goliath along with stops in Copenhagen and Korea, brings a fresh prospective to the revamped program.

Focusing heavily on Hazy New England IPAs and experimental collaborations, the breadth of the new program has produced a distinct style. Ya Sabes Dark Lager (a collaboration with Feathered Serpent Meads) is a beer/mead hybrid sourced with organic local wildflower honey. Its roasty, bold, and ‘forward’ drinking with just the right punch of sweetness. The Star Sailor SMaSH and Wholelistic Hazy IPA are also worth checking out.

6 Quick Hits

On the prowl for some beers to pick up for your next imbibing session? Here’s a list of other outstanding new brews from around the city:

Eureka Heights
Somethin’ Light, Light Beer, 4 percent ABV, 10 IBU: Hands down the best light beer on the market — crisp, refreshing, and extremely easy drinking. Beers like this one are made for patios.

Local Lager, Light American Lager, 4 percent ABV, 10 IBU: Another great, light drinking beer with a dash of hop flavor from three varietals — Chinook, Strata, and Simcoe — this beer has the best of both worlds.

Walking Stick
Pikes Peak Pilsner, 5.2 percent ABV, 30 IBU: This classic pilsner with a touch maltiness is a wonderful interpretation of the historic style.

Great Heights
Donny Who Loved Bowling, American IPA, 6.9-percent ABV: Clear, golden, dank and dry, it’s everything an IPA should be — even Jeffery Lebowski wouldn’t pass it up.

Equal Parts Brewing
MKII, Hellas, 5.1 percent ABV: Clean, crisp, and spicy with a hint of sweetness, this beer is slightly on the thick side for a traditional Hellas, but the proof is in the final product. You wont regret buying a case.

True Anomaly
Super Heavy, Barleywine, 15.7 percent ABV, 68 IBU: This collaboration brewing project with The Brew Bros and The Pint Exchange is HEAVY! Dangerously rich, complex, and delicious, drink with extreme caution as the enormous ABV could prove...bothersome.


Ralph Palmer is a local beer blogger, co-host of the Beer, Blood and the Bayou podcast, and a partner in the barbecue pop-up Deckle and Hide. Follow him on Instagram at eyefearnobeer.

Photo via Agricole Hospitality

Where to drink in Houston right now: 17 top-shelf spots to toast National Margarita Day

Where to drink on national margarita day

Not to get too meta, but food holidays are silly. No one should need a PR-driven fake food holiday as the excuse to eat a cheeseburger or oysters or anything else.

And yet, this article is about National Margarita Day, which takes place this Wednesday, February 22. Are we hypocrites? Maybe a little, but we have a good excuse. Promise.

Houstonians love margaritas. On-the-rocks, straight up, or frozen, we consume them at bars and restaurants all over the city — not just Mexican and Tex-Mex. Restaurateurs know this, obviously, and they go all out on margarita day with specials designed to lure all but the most abstemious teetotaler to indulge in a drink or two.

So, yes food holidays are silly, but we love a good deal on delicious drinks. Forgive our hypocrisy. Enjoy a margarita (responsibly) on Wednesday.

The sprawling patio bar will offer both frozen and on-the-rocks margaritas for $5 all day. Wednesday is also steak night.

Blanco Cocina + Cantina
This Mexican restaurant is taking 50-percent off pitchers of its house margarita that serves five people.

The Montrose Tex-Mex favorite will offer all day happy hour pricing on margaritas, which is $3 off per drink.

Chapman & Kirby
The EaDo bar and restaurant will feature $15 Patrón margarita flights that consist of a Classic Margarita, Blood Orange Margarita, and Jalapeño Pineapple Margarita.

The breakfast and lunch sister concept of Montrose Mexican staple Cuchara will sell its house margaritas for $5. In addition, it will feature a special margarita cake.

Eight Row Flint
Get all day happy hour pricing of $7 per drink on the bar’s margaritas, including its Eight Row rocks margarita and frozen margarita.

El Big Bad
Known for its infused tequilas, the downtown bar and restaurant will feature drink specials, tequila tastings, live music, and more. House margaritas are $1 at 1 pm, $2 at 2 pm, $3 at 3 pm, $4 at 4 pm, and $5 the rest of the night. In addition, DJ Richard Floor + Friends will spin on the rooftop patio all day and night.

Jax Grill
All three locations will feature $4 margaritas all day. Pair it with one of the restaurant's signature cheeseburgers.

The Margarita Social at Common Desk - East End
Presented by Not Too Sweet Ventures, attendees will sample different types of margaritas made with spirits from sponsored brands such as El Tesoro, Herradura, and Mezcal Union. The event will also feature music, a margarita demonstration, and tacos for sale by Caluma Tacos. Proceeds from the $25 tickets benefit Latinos for Education, 7-10 pm.

Molina’s Cantina
Get happy hour pricing of $6.50 on house margaritas all day long at all three locations of the Houston Tex-Mex staple.

Monkey's Tail
The former CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Bar of the Year winner will celebrate margarita day with $6 rocks margaritas, $9 mezcal margaritas, $13 Cadillac margaritas, and discounts on frozens ($9 for small and $13 for large).

Southside Sporting Club
The massive sports bar in Stafford will offer frozen margaritas for $2.50 from 4-8 pm.

Swallow's Nest
This cocktail bar inside downtown’s Finn Hall is offering $5 margaritas. Options include traditional, blood orange, and mango. Spice it up with jalapeño-infused tequila

Tacos A Go Go
All four locations will feature $2 house margaritas for both dine-in and to-go. In addition, get a half-gallon of chilled margaritas for $10.

The Taco Stand
Get both canned and frozen margaritas for $5 all day at this Heights-area taco spot. Use code 5MARG for online orders.

Tulum HTX
Newly opened in EaDo, the tropical-inspired bar and restaurant will feature a number of specials, including Mayan Margaritas (small, $5/large, $8) $7 frozens, $5 tequila shots, and buckets of Cerveza Sol or Tecate for $15.

Hugo Ortega’s street food restaurant in Uptown Park will off happy hour pricing on margaritas all day. In addition, the restaurant’s signature “Greatest Margarita Ever Sold” — made with Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila and 25-year-aged Grand Marnier — is discounted from $29 to $18. The restaurant will also feature a flight of margaritas from its sister concepts Hugo's, Caracol, Backstreet Cafe, and Xochi.

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Here are the top 15 things to do in Houston this weekend

weekend event planner

What’s that smell? It’s Meg, the tropical plant causing quite the stink at the Museum of Natural Science. Fans are awaiting the plant to bloom and, when it does, unleash a powerful odor akin to rotting flesh.

Aside from wicked stinks, Broadway smash Wicked begins a bewitching run. Rocker Olivia Jean ghosts Houston — in a good way. A tattoo fest draws up fun for inked-up locals, while the Arboretum goes bananas celebrating the world’s favorite fruit.

Wicked \u200bCelia Hottenstein (Glinda) and Olivia Valli (Elphaba)

Photo by Joan Marcus

Celia Hottenstein (Glinda) and Olivia Valli (Elphaba) get Wicked.

Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, June 1

“Meg” the corpse flower at Houston Museum of Natural Science

“Meg” the corpse flower is bringing the funk – literally — at the Museum of Natural Science. Not only is this flower quite the sight, it’s also quite the smell. The flower known officially as Amorphophallus titanum recently started to sprout her spadix, a sign of imminent bloom. (Corpse flowers literally smell like rotting flesh upon blooming.) In 2010, “Lois” the corpse flower caused quite the stink. “Meg” — named for the 50-foot shark at the museum — is smaller than Lois, but promises a bigger odor. Lucky us.

CITYCENTRE presents Summer Socials

CITYCENTRE is getting ready to have memorable evenings all season with the launch of a series of lively, happy hour events in the plaza catered to young professionals. These events will feature Sound Cream Airstream, that all-in-one, mobile discotheque. Visitors will also enjoy cold beverages, music, giveaways, and mingling al fresco every other Thursday night. Plus, participating stores and restaurants will be offering exclusive specials on food, drinks, and services. Come join the fun. 5 pm.

Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center: Wicked

Before the two-part (!), big-screen adaptation drops, check out the Broadway sensation that looks at what happened in the Land of Oz, but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships, until the world decides to call one “good” and the other one “wicked.” Through Sunday, July 2. 1 and 7:30 pm (8 pm Friday; 2 pm and 8 pm Saturday; 2 pm and 7:30 pm Sunday).

Lawndale Art Center presents The Big Show opening reception

Lawndale Art Center will once again have its ambitious annual exhibition of new work by artists practicing within a 100-mile radius of Lawndale. This year, juror Dr. Kanitra Fletcher has selected 113 works by 112 artists from over 400 entries. Raised in Houston, Fletcher worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston prior to her current role as Associate Curator of African American and Afro-Diasporic Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Through Sunday, August 12. 7 pm.

Friday, June 2

Houston Tattoo Arts Festival

The Houston Tattoo Arts Festival will feature dozens of tattoo artists and tattoo contests. There will be entertainment from Olde City Sideshow’s Reggie Bügmüncher, Cenobyte Suspension, Verona Fink, James Maltman, and Captain & Maybelle. There will also be special guests, including Trocon Talhouk and Charles Whitfield from VH1, Holli Marie, Fon, Anwon Boneface, John Paul Roldan, Sirvone Smith, E MAC from Ink Master, and Al Fliction & Team Fliction. 2 pm (11 am Saturday and Sunday).

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents Houston Palestine Film Festival

The 16th Annual Houston Palestine Film Festival will go down at MFAH this weekend and Rice Cinema next weekend. First up is A Gaza Weekend, a dark comedy that highlights the bitter reality of life in Gaza between blockade and war. Then, there’s Mediterranean Fever, which tackles the meaning of country and home through two characters. Also, there’s Alam, about a Palestinian-Israeli high schooler who undergoes a political awakening when he falls for the outspoken new girl in his class. 7 pm (3 pm and 7 pm Saturday).

Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. presents August: Osage County

When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after patriarch Dad up and disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for best play that same year, Tracy Letts’s acclaimed play examines how people function within dysfunction. Through Saturday, June 10. 8 pm (2 pm Sunday).

House of Blues presents Olivia Jean

Garage rocker Olivia Jean will be rocking out at House of Blues’s Bronze Peacock this weekend. Raving Ghost, her new album, arrived via Third Man Records last month. Produced by Jean at Los Angeles’ famed Valentine Recording Studios and Third Man Recording Studio in her home base of Nashville, Ghost has been met with early excitement from fans and media alike, with the likes of Pitchfork, SPIN, BrooklynVegan, and more chiming in at the outset. 9 pm.

Saturday, June 3

Houston Botanic Garden presents Go Bananas!

Guests can discover all there is to love about the banana during a day-long festival celebrating the tropical fruit, and one of the can’t-miss plants in the Garden’s tropical collection. There will be educational offerings on banana-related topics, cooking demonstrations and tastings of banana and plantain-inspired dishes, a kid’s zone, a farmer’s market, and more. 10 am.

KimoKawaii Anime Experience & Convention

The KimoKawaii Anime Experience & Convention returns for another adventure into the world of anime. The two-day, family-friendly event offers anime fans of all ages and degrees a variety of fun, anime activities. Events and activities include a cosplay contest, voice-over sessions, an anime-themed fashion show, panels, artists, exhibitors, celebrity voice-over actors, local cosplayers, pictures with Totoro, and more. 10 am.

Vino Vinyasa at Hilton Americas-Houston

This weekend, yogis and wine lovers can unite at the Hilton Americas-Houston on the Skyline Terrace for an exclusive yoga class. Vino Vinyasa classes bring together vinyasa-based yoga and fun wine facts through creative yoga poses. The hour-long educational class ends with a comparative wine tasting, inviting you to mindfully taste what's in your glass while applying what you learned through the poses. 11 am.

Fantastic Voyage Pays Tribute to Flash Gordon Parks at Boondocks

The two-man DJ crew known as Soul Control will have a special edition of their monthly Boondocks party this weekend. They’ll be paying tribute to DJ/ethnomusicologist Flash Gordon Parks. Back when he was doing his Easin’ In (Doing Our Thang) residency at Boondocks, he ushered in Soul Control and other DJs to continue the legacy of holding a space for soulful experiences. Cover is $5. 10 pm.

Sunday, June 4

Cigna Sunday in the Park Series

The last Cigna Sunday in the Park for the spring will happen at Mason Park this weekend. We all know this event gives Houstonians a chance to reconnect with their own neighborhoods, explore other new areas in the city and enjoy local entertainment, all while creating meaningful engagements and memories. But this event will have something special: the Astros World Series trophy, which will be on display for a couple hours. There will also be bounce houses, live music, dancing, free food and games. Noon.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents "Woven Wonders: Indian Textiles from the Parpia Collection" opening day

The Parpia Collection — one of the most significant private collections of Indian textiles outside of India — is also one of the most important in the United States. Seldom are collections of Indian textiles as comprehensive, or collected with such expertise. With this exhibition, the MFAH furthers its goal of representing the rich cultural heritage of Houston’s South Asian community. Through Saturday, August 27. 12:30 pm.

Houston Ballet presents Divergence

This will be the last chance to check out this ballet showcase. It includes Aszure Barton’s Angular Momentum, which pays homage to Space City with influences ranging from the city’s architecture depicted in the set design, to the moon landing in the third movement of Mason Bates’ hybrid orchestral-electronic score. The program will also feature a new work by world-renowned choreographer Justin Peck, And with Stanton Welch’s Divergence, this mixed repertoire program is sure to be a showstopper. 2 pm.

Latin lords Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Pitbull team up for Trilogy tour headed to Houston

the big 3

Three of pop music's biggest powerhouses are headed to Houston for star-studded fall tour. Latin superstars Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Pitbull will share the stage together for the first time ever as part of The Trilogy Tour, which will hit arenas across America this fall.

This new 19-city tour produced by Live Nation kicks off in Washington, D.C., on October 14. The tour hits Houston on Saturday, November 18 at Toyota Center as part of three-city Texas stop. Other shows include a stop at American Airlines Center in Dallas, on Friday, November 17 and AT&T Center in San Antonio on Sunday, November 19.

As one would expect, the megastars promise to deliver an electrifying mix of their biggest, career-spanning hits with tastes of reggaeton, salsa pop, dance, and electronic all thrown in for good measure. Each showman will backed by world-class production and state-of-the-art visuals, per an announcement.

Live Nation recommends that fans register now through Sunday, June 4 at 11:59 pm ET for the Verified Fan presale here. Those who are selected to receive an access code will be able to participate in the Verified Fan presale starting on Wednesday, June 7. (More information on Verified Fan can be found here).

A limited number of tickets will be sold during a general on sale starting at 10 am Friday, June 9 at Ticketmaster.com — while supplies last.

Expect a slew of VIP packages and experiences, which include perks like an invitation to the pre-show VIP lounge, exclusive VIP tour poster, specially designed VIP gift item and more. More VIP information can be found at vipnation.com.

From prince to King Enrique

The son of Latin king Julio Iglesias, Enrique Iglesias has evolved from promising pop prince to arguably the biggest Latin recording artist in music history, with a wow-worthy 154 No. 1 single’s across Billboard charts and 27 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs Chart. Iglesias currently holds the record for most number ones in the chart’s history.

At once a sultry crooner and poppy persona, he fluidly moves between English and Spanish and genres to the tune of more than 180 million albums sold worldwide, released 11 studio albums, and three greatest hits compilations. To date, Iglesias has headlined 10 sold-out world tours and performed in front of more than 10 million fans.

Known for big collabs with Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Pitbull, and more, he boasts multiple Grammy, Billboard, ASCAP, and more major awards. His 14 billion views on YouTube/VEVO and 14 billion in streams make him one the most streamed and viewed artists on the planet.

"I am incredibly excited to be going on tour with my friends Pitbull and Ricky," Iglesias said in a tour announcement. "The Trilogy Tour will be an amazing experience for ALL of our fans. It’s going to be a once in a lifetime tour."

La Vida Ricky

A fresh-faced poser boy for '80s pop group Menudo, Ricky Martin grew up before fans eyes into a hunky, bellowing singer known for leaving it all out onstage. Often dubbed the "King of Latin Pop," Martin has scored more than 180 awards and multiple Grammy Awards, most recently for the EP Pausaa nd the album PLAY, which features collaborations with Bad Bunny, Residente, and Sting.

The Puerto Rico native is also an accomplished actor, flexing his chops and earning an Emmy nomination in FX's The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. He's next set to star in the highly anticipated Apple TV series Palm Royale, alongside Laura Dern, Kristen Wiig, Allison Janney, and Carol Burnett.

Martin has championed HIV and AIDS causes and founded the Ricky Martin Foundation, which actively fights against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. He is a Global Ambassador for UNICEF, has received the Hispanic Federation's "Humanitarian Award" and the Human Rights Campaign's "National Visibility Award." The City of New York declared "Ricky Martin Day" to honor his musical legacy and charitable work.

"Going back on the road with not only Enrique, but now with Pitbull it’s very exciting," Martin notes in a statement. "This tour will be a wild party from beginning to end so get ready, it's going to be epic!"

Mr. Worldwide

Grammy-winning showman Pitbull — aka Mr. Worldwide — has a golden touch when it comes to singalong party anthems and killer shows. As an artist, the Miami performer boasts billions of audio streams and video views plus hundreds of gold and platinum certifications. As an entrepreneur, he co-owns the NASCAR racing team Trackhouse and tours with life strategy guru Tony Robbins on motivational speaking engagements.

Famed for his fiesta vibe, Armando Christian "Pitbull" Perez is dead serious about education as he helped establish the nationwide Sports Leadership Arts and Management (SLAM!), tuition-free public charter schools.

“It’s a true honor to tour with Enrique and Ricky, 2 music icons, who broke global music barriers for our culture and open doors for someone like myself,” said Pitbull. “We’re excited to take The Trilogy tour around the world and give our fans the time of their Trilogy lives, Dale!"

Here are the official dates for The Trilogy Tour:

Sat Oct 14 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena

Tue Oct 17 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena

Fri Oct 20 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre

Sat Oct 21– Boston, MA – TD Garden

Thu Oct 26 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden

Sat Oct 28 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center

Wed Nov 01 – Chicago, IL – United Center

Fri Nov 03 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena

Thu Nov 09 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center

Fri Nov 10 – Miami, FL – Kaseya Center

Fri Nov 17 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center

Sat Nov 18 – Houston – Toyota Center

Sun Nov 19 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center

Fri Nov 24 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena

Sat Nov 25 – Phoenix, AZ – Footprint Center

Thu Nov 30 – Los Angeles, CA – Crypto.com Arena

Wed Dec 06 – San Jose, CA – SAP Center

Fri Dec 08 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena

Sun Dec 10 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena

Enrique Iglesias

Enrique Iglesias/Facebook

Music royal Enrique Iglesias joins Ricky Martin and Pitbull.

Stylish new restaurant mixes European flair with American fare in Montrose's hottest destination

Montrose's stylish new bistro

The Montrose Collective mixed-use development continues to cement its status as Houston’s newest dining destination. Fresh off openings such as Oheya by Uchi and Picnik comes a new bistro from a veteran team of restaurateurs.

Meet The Chelsea. Now open across from Marmo, the upscale Italian steakhouse, The Chelsea serves a diverse menu of New American fare in a stylish environment that’s inspired by classic European restaurants.

Restaurateurs Shawn Rao and Jonathan Serrano teamed up with Houston operator Roveen Abante, a partner in concepts such as Be More Pacific, Sushi Rebel, and the upcoming Conservatory Galleria food hall, to open The Chelsea. Rao and Serrano are native Houstonians who found success in Dallas with the Syn Group, a hospitality company that operates a number of concepts in the Metroplex, including Don Chingon, The Social House, and America Gardens.

While those concepts are bar forward and casual, The Chelsea aspires to offer a more elevated experience, which suits its owners state in life.

The Chelsea restaurant interior

Photo by Abante Photography

The Chelsea opened this week.

“I think you create the best products when you’re at the stage of your life to relate to the product,” Rao tells CultureMap. “If you create something you won’t enjoy, you may miss the mark. The Chelsea is exactly a place I’d go to. It’s like places I eat in Dallas. That’s why we decided to go this route. We really latched on to it.”

To create the proper atmosphere, Rao and his partners took inspiration from their travels across Europe. They created a space that features marble-patterned floors, shades of teal and burgundy, and lots of art on the walls.

“Our initial design was way over the top. We had to dial it back,” Rao says. Later, he adds, “We wanted to get the design right. We know Houston has a discerning eye when it comes to new restaurants. We felt we had to get it as perfect as possible.”

Chef Andre Garza contributes to those goals with his eclectic menu. Meals at The Chelsea start with raw items such as oysters, tuna tartare, shrimp and scallop verde that’s made with a Peruvian-style leche de tigre and a spicy chili crisp. Three salads round out the starters.

From there, diners may choose from a selection of shareable small plates. Highlights include shrimp scampi, miso-marinated chicken lollipops, charred Spanish octopus, and a tempura fried lobster tail. Parker House Pigs — a riff on the classic rolls that are stuffed with spicy Japanese Kurobuta sausage — emerged as an early fan favorite during last weekend’s invite-only soft opening. Those looking for a more traditional entree have a range of choices, including seafood pot pie, roast chicken, and a classic cheeseburger.

Beverage options start with a cocktail list that offers eight martinis. Look for variations such as the espresso martini, Gibson, Vesper, and a Martinez made with Maraschino and Angostura. The wine list includes about 15 by-the-glass options with most bottles priced between $30 and $180, Rao says.

“We want to be that sort of neighborhood, three-to-five mile radius, go-to for meals, go-to for drinks,” he adds. “I know everyone says that, but we want to cater to that element.”

The Chelsea opens for dinner beginning at 4 pm daily. Brunch will follow in the coming weeks.