The Mixmaster behind Houston’s hottest cocktail bar plus a brand new BBQ

In this week’s episode of What’s Eric Eating, Justin Ware and Patrick Abalos talk to CultureMap’s Food Editor Eric Sandler about their East End cocktail bar Night shift. The recently opened place has quickly become a destination for cocktail fans thanks to its varied menu, retro design, and delicious food.

The conversation begins with both bartenders discussing the career paths that led them to collaborate, as well as the two-year process of bringing Night Shift to fruition. They talk about working with local design and construction company Rootlab to create the space to work with their team to test hundreds of recipes for the cocktail menu, and about hiring Chef Daniel Leal, whose engaging menu is Mexican-inspired Dishes that have made Night Shift popular are unparalleled in the hospitality industry as an after-work destination.

Abalos and goods also give Sandler an outlook on their future plans. Night Shift will soon be adding brunch to its offering; in December, it will be participating in the nationwide pop-up Sippin ‘Santa, which will turn the bar into a tiki-inspired Christmas wonderland.

Sandler asks Ware what it was like to switch from manager to owner. “I’ll be the first person to say that running a bar and working on that site to get everything working was a much bigger endeavor than I could have imagined,” he says.

“I think I told you the other day that I have positive and negative feelings about what to expect. That is ten times that. My heights were super high. My lows were super low. It went up and down, but the bar is doing great and we’re making progress. “

Before the interview, Sandler and co-moderator Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. Her topics include: Chris Shepherd’s plans to relocate Georgia James and Shutter Hay Merchant; Baso, a Basque restaurant due to open in the Heights next spring; and Chivos, the new Mexican-American restaurant in the Heights under the direction of Chef Thomas Bille (Belly of the Beast) and Night Moves Hospitality (Space Cowboy, Trash Panda Drinking Club).

In the Restaurants of the Week, Fulmer shares what’s new in the world of Houston barbecue, including homemade sausages at Roegels and a whog-hog pop-up he recently attended. Sandler shares some of his favorite dishes from a recent visit to The Union Kitchen.

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