Looking for a spot to do a little work, sip a local craft beer, eat a light lunch, and buy some handmade products on the way out? Star Sailor HTX, an all-in-one casual food-and-drink concept, is open and ready for you.
Star Sailor, located at 1710 W 18th St on the edge of Lazybrook and Greater Heights, opened more than a week ago and is hosting its grand opening December 19. It's the brainchild of Marin Slanina, who has spent her career in the hospitality industry, most recently at local brewery taprooms like Urban South HTX and B-52 Brewery.
Her last gig was running the floor at Urban South, where her husband, Justin, works as head brewer, but Covid-19 changed her direction. Without a taproom to manage, Slanina decided it was time to set out with her own concept. Star Sailor, she says, is the combination of all of her passions, perfectly aligned for a time when she feels people are craving a small and safe space to see people and hang out.
"I really feel that it's something that we can provide to our neighborhood, to have an escape space, a safe space," she says. "Any way that you can deem fit for your now new comfort level, we would like to offer it to you."
So, Slanina hopes people visit Star Sailor as a party space, or just a home away from home. Star Sailor has 50 or so seats inside (at 75-percent capacity, per Covid-19 regulations). Plus, there will be a small patio out front and a narrow area on the side of the building that'll allow smoking.
The bar includes multiple outlets and USB ports for plugging in devices. A casual menu helmed by David Flores (who recently worked in sales at Southern Star) has charcuterie boards, hummus and veggies, and queso and chips, all designed to refuel customers. Salads and sandwiches are likely to come next, along with tacos and slightly bigger plates.
When the work day ends, Star Sailor takes on more of that party/bar scene with TVs and a digital TouchTunes jukebox. The menu will change, too, and for that Slanina hopes to bring in up-and-coming chefs. Pop-ups will also take place (like a visit from Caluma Tacos on Sunday), and brunch will be rolled out soon. She has party plans, as well, like a New Year's Eve bash and a Super Bowl celebration.
Naturally, craft beer takes a center stage with offerings from local breweries like Eureka Heights, Equal Parts, Holler, and others. House wine is also available.
Along with all that, Star Sailor is the home for a collection of Houston-made gifts and apothecary-style items like soaps and candles. The store also can deliver goods (anything from beer to food to merch), with one option being a self-care gift basket (essentially beer, soap, candles, popcorn, and wine in one).
In short, Star Sailor is the kind of place that could only open now, where flexibility in curation meets unbridled optimism, even when facing constant obstacles.
Or, says Slanina: "We're going to take everything we learned in 2020 to provide a wonderful, excellent safe space for any creature for 2021 and beyond."