If you've ever wanted to witness the birth of a dive bar, now's your chance. The two-week-old Satellite Bar in Magnolia Park is still squeaky clean for now, having received a near-total renovation that took it from its former incarnation as La Tortuga Sports Bar to what co-owner Scott Doyle calls "just a cool little dive bar hangout." It's already attracting local luminaries like Slim Thug with its low-key vibe and before too long, the bar will be brimming with patrons slugging back $2 Colt .45s and the backyard crowded with concert-goers.
In the five months it took Doyle's partners to give a facelift to the newly christened Satellite Bar on Harrisburg Blvd., they "redid the whole backyard, the bathrooms, painted everything and built a new stage." There, Doyle says, he plans to host the same types of live acts that he's been booking for years at DIY music venue Houston House of Creeps in downtown's Warehouse District, which Vice recently profiled as one of the city's best underground spots to catch a concert.
"January and February, we have a lot of awesome shows coming up," says Doyle, who brought in Asli Omar, lead singer of popular local act The Tontons, to deejay for Satellite's jam-packed grand opening two weekends ago. "Deep Cuts is having a tape release, Ringo Deathstarr is coming in February."
And even on nights when bands aren't on the main stage, the music will play on. "We're going to do a monthly tropical stew night," says Doyle, "With three to four hours of tropical dance beats and crazy music."
Behind the bar, Satellite stocks a straightforward lineup of wine and 30 craft beers. There's no booze here, and no food either, but Doyle laughs: "Whataburger is right next door, and there's 24-hour Mexican food across the street. Support the neighborhood." Also in close proximity: the light rail's nearly opened Green Line extension, which serves the Second Ward and East End. "We're the last stop on the rail," says Doyle, who plans to offer discounts for those who ride the rail when it opens in March.
As for the name of the bar itself, there's no fancy story here, as befitting a true dive bar—just an up front explanation: "There's a satellite dish in the backyard," says Doyle, who pauses for a second before laughing, "Maybe we'll do a space theme."
Satellite Bar, 6922 Harrisburg Blvd., satellitehtx.com