In August 2017, Hughie’s Heights and One Armed Scissor opened in the same space on North Main Street. Patrons of One Armed Scissor were fascinated with the ambiance and considered it a one-of-a-kind bar. So it came as a shock in March when the bar left a cryptic video of TV static on its Instagram, thanking Houston and announcing its last night of service. Suddenly, like Twin Peaks, OAS left us with dangling plot threads and unanswered questions. What had happened to the bar? Who killed Laura Palmer?
“I think that our concept and their concept did not mesh well,” says Michael Molina, owner of One Armed Scissor. “They were looking to expand and open more restaurants, and I did not see One Armed Scissor moving in that same direction. For fast-casual Vietnamese food you can’t beat it, but I don’t think that’s what we wanted to hitch our wagon to, and it was better for us to branch out and do our own thing. The story is it’s not much of a story; it was friends shaking hands and going on to do their own thing.”
One Armed Scissor has reborn at 208 Travis Street, the former residence of Chupacabra and Iron & Oak, and its grand opening was Monday. On a cold, dreary evening, the staff was rocking out to ’80s music and slinging libations, and there’s no doubt the vibe will continue.
The cocktail menu is a string of favorites, like the Trinidad James (Rittenhouse Rye, lemon juice, angostura bitters, and toasted black sesame orgeat). Here, the scent of citrus and the taste have equal amounts of sweet and sour rations without being overpowering. And how about the Working Title, full of Plantation Original Dark Pineapple Rum, lime juice, piloncillo, and angostura bitters? You’d think switching over from rye to rum would be jarring, but not the case here, as Working Title has a tropical, citrusy balance. And balance is something that carries over to all the cocktails.
The space is intimate with three high tops and some low tops, with comic strips and vintage ads covering surfaces. Edison lights seductively hang above the bar. And there are TVs opposite the bar with sports and gnarly skateboard videos going at all times.
Now, why move all the way to Travis Street? Molina says he wanted a location where he could serve the community as a neighborhood bar.
“I like to think of us as a cocktail dive: You can get a quality product but it’s fun and comfortable,” he says.
One Armed Scissor definitely brings the fun, and it certainly knows a thing or two about good cocktails.