One of Houston’s beloved and long-standing watering holes, the Harp, closed operations last November. There were rumblings that the popular Montrose bar space would open, retooled with a fresh coat of paint and new management, and that’s where Ted Baker, of Revelry and Bobcat Teddy’s, came in.
Calling his new bar Penny Whistle, Baker made improvements with a streamlined and revamped cocktail menu, but the Irish spirit remained. Penny Whistle opened its doors on St. Patrick's Day, with green beer and Jameson flowing.
“We want to stay true to the Irish pub/neighborhood bar that the Harp had developed for the past two decades," said Matt Dulaney, bar director at Penny Whistle. But the Penny Whistle team has goals to expand on that: "One of our goals is to slowly build our Irish whiskey selection because we really want to have a large and diverse collection," Dulaney continued. "The biggest thing we wanted to focus on was to bring cocktails into the mix, so coming out of the gate we wanted to go classy and simple."
The initial cocktail menu has 10 items, of which nine are classics. They land between $7-$10 each. Elsewhere, specials include a $2.75 tallboy Tuesday and the return of steak night.
In renovating the property, the team extended the bar out, bringing down some walls to open the space. The old-school patrons seem to be cool with the changes.
“Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to has enjoyed what we have done with the place," said Dulaney. "We wanted to make sure to keep the feel of the Harp. We wanted to keep that comfiness with that living room kind of vibe, which should be the mark of any good Irish pub—it should feel like home when you are there.”