Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable openings and closings of the week.
To the surprise of few, Clutch City Squire announced on Facebook early yesterday morning that it will be closing its doors as of tomorrow, February 7. The downtown bar was part of the initial wave of Main St. growth, opening in March 2013 around the same time as Goro & Gun—itself now closed, and transformed into cocktail bar Moving Sidewalk—and a few months after OKRA Charity Saloon kicked things off in December 2012.
Unlike the rest of the Main St. bar and restaurant scene, however, Clutch City Squire was just off the beaten path, holding things down on the adjacent 400 block of Main St. and never quite drawing the same crowds as Bad News Bar, The Pastry War, or older haunts such as Warren's and Notsuoh. A year after opening, Clutch City Squire leased its second floor space to Barringer Bar, a "speakeasy" under separate the ownership of husband-and-wife team Roby and Chieko Cook that began to pull in the crowds Clutch City had been missing; six months later, however, Clutch City owner Steven Hannigan abruptly terminated the Cooks' lease and Barringer Bar closed.
While the Cooks have successfully raised the funds necessary to open a new Barringer Bar a few blocks away, Clutch City looks like it's gone for good. In its place, Eater Houston reports that "Carson Hager of Viking Ventures LLC is planning to take over the 410 Main space as the new leasee," opening a new bar called The Commoner in the coming months.
Meanwhile, months of rumors surrounding the fate of Arturo's Uptown Italiano have been put to rest by an announcement yesterday that Lasco Enterprises—they of The Tasting Room and Max's Wine Dive—have purchased the Galleria-area property and intend to open an upscale Tex-Mex concept in the space. This is surely music to the ears of chef Arturo Boada, who left Arturo's in 2011 to open his own restaurant yet was unable to remove his name from the restaurant that no longer served his food.
This new concept, called Añejo (as in aged, refined tequila), is set to open on March 1, with a menu developed by executive chef Michael Pellegrino. In addition to what a press release calls "deluxe parrillada platters, select items prepared tableside, and unexpected ingredients incorporated into classic dishes," Añejo guests can also expect a selection of over 100 tequilas and mezcals. Añejo plans to be open seven days a week for dinner, six for lunch, and—in true Lasco Enterprises form—expect a lavish brunch on Sundays.