Bourbon Bars Replacing Cars on Houston’s Main Street

HOUSTON — (Realty News Report) –  Downtown’s Little Dipper bar has expanded its outdoor patio into Main Street, giving Houston the beginnings of a micro version of Bourbon Street where no cars are allowed.

City officials have closed down several blocks of Main Street in the oldest part of Houston to vehicular traffic in order to allow restaurants and bars to set up tables and chairs in the roadway.

This Main Street transformation will help “Houston’s food and beverage industry recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the city’s Downtown District explained in a press release.

The Little Dipper, 304 Main, is the first establishment  to spread out into the street where cars, buses and motorcycles once ruled.

Cheap Bourbon

The Little Dipper is described as a “cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a badass jukebox.”

Several more business have applied to be approved to operate in Main Street as part of the “More Space: Main Street” program.

Circa 1880

The first to open was The Little Dipper, which initiated Main Street patio service last weekend, while continuing in its indoor facility in its ornate historic building. Its 3-story property, called the Stuart Building, was built in 1880 following a  fire in July 1879 that destroyed half of the 300 block of Main Street.

The roadway patios are semi-permanent and will stay in the street during the day for at least the next year, maybe longer.

“This is one of those rare projects that solves several different problems at once,” said Scott Repass, owner of Little Dipper and a Downtown District board member. “It is a healthier option for people wanting to go out and for restaurants and bars wanting to serve them. It is an attraction that will bring people Downtown. And it makes use of an underutilized but beautiful part of Main Street.”

It includes the north and southbound lanes of Main Street between Commerce and Rusk. The METRO rail line runs down the middle of Main.

A partnership between the City of Houston, Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District) and Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) created the  More Space: Main Street program.

Masks On Main?

It is viewed as “a solution for Downtown restaurants eager to maximize guest capacity while protecting the health and safety of staff and patrons,” the Downtown District said.

In November 2020, Houston City Council approved the program.

“This is the perfect time of year to enjoy Houston’s patio weather, and I know Houstonians will enjoy the peace of mind of having extra space to dine while social distancing,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Programs like More Space: Main Street show that we can support our local businesses while continuing to observe pandemic protocols.”

After their street patios are installed, Main Street businesses can apply for a $2,500 grant.

March 16, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

Photo credit: Daniel Ortiz Photography.  Caption: METRO train runs beside Little Dipper outdoor patio on Main Street.

File: Bourbon Bars Replacing Cars on Houston’s Main Street

For more about downtown Houston, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon

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