The Houston cocktail scene has been white hot with new establishments cropping up all year, both in well-traveled neighborhoods and in under-the-radar locales. One of those locales, Northside, has a new place called Rabbit’s Got the Gun.
The bar at 708 Hogan St. from brothers Ian Ramirez and Nathan Aguirre is all about family.
“We grew up in this neighborhood; my dad’s home is across the street from Shipley’s, and three blocks from here is my dad’s brickyard where he takes these old houses and demolishes them and saves the brick,” says Ramirez, formerly of Daiquiri Time Out. “All of the brick in this building is reclaimed brick from his brickyard, and there’s a lot of history in the building and neighborhood. We just wanted to bring something back to the ‘hood.”
Sandwiched between Houston Fire Station 9 and Rodriguez Tire Shop, Rabbit’s Got the Gun blends in with its surroundings. Outside, it looks like an extension of the tire shop; inside, it’s warm with a long, C-shaped, white quartz bar and 16 vinyl bar seats, plus three booths that look out to Hogan Street.
Spray-painted on a beam hanging above the booths it the well-known Southern phrase, “It ain’t no fun when the rabbit got the gun,” which inspired the name of the bar. The phrase is typically used to describe a situation in which the hunted becomes the victor.
"It's turning the tables around, the idea that sometimes things aren't what they appear to be; it's really about championing the underdog," says Ramirez. "That's what it's all about. We moved out of the neighborhood, we survived, we did our thing and came back ready to give back to our neighborhood and settle down while sharing what we do with our people."
Those touches, coupled with that historic brick, give the bar an industrial feel that fits with the community.
The team at Rabbit’s Got the Gun is currently working on an original cocktail menu, though bartenders, like Crisia Araujo (Lotti Dotti), are able to make up to 150 classics. Also look for an espresso machine and soft-serve ice cream. Maybe some affogatos and barraquitos are in order.
Ramirez and Aguirre also own the Lobos Tacos food truck, so that’ll be posted up alongside the bar, while the team is also thinking about adding a barbecue truck and offering cheese and charcuterie boards.
There’s plenty to get excited about (not to mention a potential partnership with soon-to-open Local Group Brewing), but Ramirez and Aguirre don’t want to get too ahead of themselves.
“We know that once word-of-mouth spreads, this bar will be a destination bar,” says Aguirre. “But first and foremost, our concern lies on our neighborhood, because that’s who’s going to support us night in and night out.”