If the completely ridiculous new opening is an indicator, the future of downtown nightlife could be in one of the oldest buildings. The largest covered terrace bar in the city center, McIntyres, recently opened with a jam-packed event that looked positive before COVID.
Young professionals, regulars and residents of downtown, and even some veteran politicians came to the sprawling, multi-story space that was once the popular Spaghetti Warehouse building, which dates back to the early 1900s.
What they found was nothing short of a dramatic transformation; The new space on the market square offers a sparkling new facade, more than 7,500 square meters of space on the second level, a breathtaking view of the city center and the Buffalo Bayou, a lively decorated main room, lounge seats in front of a stage, an L-shaped inner courtyard Upper floor (plus dog-friendly patios) and the bar’s signature swings (an Instagram favorite to be safe).
The renovation has been in progress since the beginning of July 2018. The plan was to completely remove the core from the old building (60 percent of the load-bearing walls were removed) and actually to build food trucks into the venue (the idea was quickly rejected by the city), co-owner Kyle Berg tells CultureMap.
Given the previous devastation of the familiar (and allegedly haunted) building from flooding, new designs mean the entire first floor can accommodate potential flooding – a total game changer should the bayou rise.
According to the numbers, the new downtown McIntyre’s has 65 televisions, two giant screens, 24 beers on tap and 30 bottled and canned beers, two cocktails on tap, and “the world’s most treasured highball ranch water machine,” notes Berg.
(Fun fact for Ranch Water fans: Berg notes that the machine makes the cocktail with a club soda that is 40 percent more carbonated than a Topo Chico.)
The food on offer – via food trucks – includes hamburgers, hot dogs, quesadillas, pizzas, popcorn, peanuts, nachos and other pub-style dishes.
As for the scene, Berg says the audience is a mix of people who understand the brand (followers flock to the Heights Bar and now downtown) and those looking for a laid-back downtown hillside. Between live music – country nights and more – and Astros games before and after the game, 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 made a downright historic feat here (seriously, how often are beloved buildings adaptively reused in Houston), but they are far from being finished . He teases two new McIntyre locations in San Antonio.