The key to finding Spare Key is, well, a giant blue key on the side of the building.

Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable opening and closing of the week.

In lieu of our traditional round-up, this Friday we're looking forward to the weekend and to trying two of the city's newest bars, both of which have opened quietly and without much fanfare. The first is Spare Key, which could be the much-needed antidote to the Red Bull-powered insanity of the Midtown nightlife scene—or perhaps it could add fuel to the fire. After all, owner/head bartender Chris Frankel is known for bombing nearly anything with the energy drink.

Spare Key
2416 Brazos St., Ste. C, Floor 2
832-701-1973
facebook.com/SpareKeyHouston

Located above Cook & Collins with only a pale blue neon sign in the shape of the key to guide patrons up the back stairs, Spare Key offers a wine, cockails and considerably calmer respite in an area saturated with decidedly high-energy bars—and it's offering happy hour prices, too. In a post on Facebook, Frankel wrote: "Our bartender, Chelsy, has put together her first house cocktail creation at Spare Key, and we are featuring it as a $6 happy hour special tonight and Saturday!" That cocktail comes with bourbon, fresh blueberries, fresh lemon, honey and Byrrh, but if mixed drinks aren't your bag, consider a glass of Stolpman Vineyards rosé 2013. The Sangiovese is $5 a glass during Spare Key's daily happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. And on Sundays, look for $5 Brambles and glasses of white or rosé, $6 Sazeracs til 7 p.m., and $3 Lone Star beers all night.

Vinyl tracks at Houston Watch Co.

Downtown's nightlife scene continues to grow and evolve as well, with new additions popping up every week (or at least that's the way it feels). Witness the entry of Houston Watch Co., just off the lobby inside what was once the Southern Pacific Railroad Building, and which now houses the Bayou Lofts. With Public Services just around the corner and the bustling Market Square a few more yards away, it's easy to see many a bar crawl beginning or ending here at Houston Watch Co.

Houston Watch Co.
913 Franklin St.
713-485-0006
houstonwatchcompany.com

Bar owner Ryan Clark has been hosting a series of guest bartenders (in addition to the regular staff) since opening on April 12, including Double Trouble owner Robin Whelan. During the week, you'll find happy hour prices from 4 to 7 p.m. that include draft pints of beer for $4, Old Fashioneds for $6 and a duo of interest-piquing drinks for $8 each: a strawberry shrub cocktail and something called the "Stout & Stiff," a glass of Left Handed Nitro Milk Stout and a shot of Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey. On second thought, maybe this should be your final stop of the night after all; a Stout & Stiff seems like something you're not walking away from.

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