If the completely ridiculous recent opening is any indicator, the future of downtown nightlife may well be in one of its oldest buildings. The largest covered terrace bar in the city center, Mcintyre, recently opened with a busy event that looked positively pre-COVID.
Young professionals, regulars and downtown residents, and even veteran politicians have appeared in the sprawling, multi-level space that was once the beloved Spaghetti Warehouse building, dating back to the early days. 1900s.
What they found was nothing less than a dramatic transformation; the new Market Square space has a sparkling new facade, over 7,500 square feet of second level space, panoramic views of downtown and Buffalo Bayou, a vibrantly decorated main space, a stage lounge , an L-shaped patio upstairs (plus dog-friendly patios), and the bar’s iconic swings (an Instagram favorite, of course).
The transformation has been underway since early July 2018. Plans have been made to completely empty the old building (60 percent of the load-bearing walls have been removed) and actually add food trucks inside the venue (the city quickly dismissed the idea), co-owner Kyle Berg told CultureMap.
Given the familiar building’s previous devastation (and said to be haunted) from flooding, new designs mean the entire ground floor can soak up potential flood water – a complete change if the bayou rises.
By the numbers, the new downtown McIntyre’s has 65 televisions, two giant screens, 24 draft beers and 30 bottled and canned beers, two draft cocktails and the “world’s only highball ranch water machine, to my knowledge”, Berg notes.
(Fun fact for Ranch Water fans: Berg notes that the machine brews the cocktail with club soda that’s 40% more carbonated than a Topo Chico.)
The food offerings – via food trucks – include burgers, hot dogs, quesadillas, pizza, popcorn, peanuts, nachos, and more pub-style fare.
As for the scene, Berg says the crowd is a mix of those who understand the brand (followers regularly flock to Bar Heights and now, downtown) and those looking for a laid-back downtown vibe. Between live music – country nights and more – and before and after Astros games, the huge bar promises to be a favorite.
Berg and his partners – Chase McIntyre, Brian McIntyre, Michael Paolucci, James Crable, and Trey Helle – may have just accomplished a historic feat (seriously, how often are Houston’s beloved buildings adaptively reused? ) here, but they are far from over. He’s teasing two new McIntyre locations in San Antonio.