Brian Ching has had a few successful careers in Houston.
Of course, as part of his eight-year run playing soccer for the Dynamo, he helped the club win back-to-back MLS Cup championships in 2006 and 2007 and won MVP of the ’06 Cup. He was also the first Hawaiian ever named to a U.S. World Cup roster, reaching the club in 2006 as well.
His second career came as the face of Houston’s most dynamic soccer bar, the chic Pitch 25 Beer Park, which he opened with the Kirby Group in June 2018. Today he’s adding to that résumé with East End Backyard at 1105 Sampson St in EaDo. The bar is all about giving urbanites a relaxing reprieve with some greenery and spirits—and room for their dogs.
“We know a lot of people in the neighborhood that don’t have a lot of space for back yards, and we’re hoping that they see East End Backyard as a place they can come to and enjoy as their own,” says Ching. “Everyone has enjoyed the look and feel that we have created.”
Liz Ching designed the bar, largely defined by its massive 16,000-square-foot outdoor patio with plenty of seating at a safe social distance and a walking path with gravel, guaranteeing that even on rainy days neither you nor your fur baby will get all muddy. Smack dab in the middle of the space is a refurbished bungalow-turned-full-service-bar offering 25 taps with Houston favorites from Eureka Heights, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., and more.
You’ll also find a few TVs and high tops built onto antique Schwinn bicycles. The playful color palette on the bungalow is inviting and sure to be abuzz as cooler temperatures become the norm. Adjacent to the main building is a small container-like bar, with a smaller collection of spirits and brews, in case there’s a wait at the main bar.
Tucked away at the end of the patio is a 3,500-square-foot, fenced-in dog park covered in soft mulch to make walking easy on the paws. A few tables rest inside the dog park for folks to keep an eye on their pooches, while a water spigot keeps the good girls and boys hydrated. Opposite of that is a Donkeeboy mural on houses that, down the line, will host a taco shop and a shop for Donkeeboy and Donkeemom to sell merchandise.
“Eventually, we have plans to build out to the other side of the block with little houses,” adds Ching. “We want to bring in a coffee shop and different food concepts from around Houston to give people different options. All these will feed into a central backyard. This will be a process of a few years before we finally build everything out, but it will be a very unique concept.”
But Ching has plenty of time; after all, this second career is just getting started.