New Montrose Bar in Houston is as Suitable for Solitude as Socializing

An assortment of cocktails at Jethro's Cocktail Lounge

Montrose’s latest bar offering, Jethro’s Cocktail Lounge, opened at 95 Tuam on April 30. It’s part of the portfolio held by L.A. restaurateurs Wade McElroy and Russell Malixi. Houston Food Finder previously reported on the new spot’s opening, and we were recently invited to see the place in person and sample some of the “retro” drinks. 

Jethro’s commitment to throwbacks is immediately apparent in its décor, a midcentury-modern confection full of dark woods, low lights, geometric shapes and sleek black booths. Instead of going full Don Draper, though, they’ve added some contemporary, casual flair with pink wallpaper splashed with houseplant leaves. The resulting design is a thoughtful, complementary synthesis of old and new ways.

Notably, the music here blends in as background noise. It’s actually possible to talk with your drinking companions, or snuggle into a booth and read a book. This facilitates a much more companionable and relaxing environment than many similar spots, making it an ideal place for lounging instead of popping in for a quick drink during a bar crawl.

Jethro’s interior. Photo by Robert Campbell.

Luckily, Jethro’s boasts a lineup of classic and modern specialty cocktails to fill several hours of socializing (or reading — I have my habits, OK?), as well as beer and wine options. The bar emphasizes Texas brews and spirits, including a rotating selection of local beers, Tito’s Vodka and Green House Artisan Gin. 

Negroni at Jethro’s. Photo by Meredith Nudo.

The latter makes a stellar appearance in the Negroni, a standard, deceptively simple cocktail that traditionally has only three ingredients. If these are of poor quality or clash against one another, it can result in a bitter, astringent concoction better suited as bathtub cleaner than beverage. Fortunately, Jethro’s Negroni is made with the good stuff, showing that the owners know just as much about the classics behind the bar as the timeless decor in front of it.

It’s this strong grounding in traditional mixology that allows Jethro’s to get innovative with its specialty menu. With summer approaching, the Cheers To Papa — made with Zephyr gin, cantaloupe, lemon and simple syrup — makes for a mildly sweet and majorly refreshing way to cool off when the heat hits its peak. 

For beer cocktail fans, try the Mezcalada. Put bluntly, it’s liquid bacon in the best possible sense of the phrase. Blending lager with mezcal, michelada mix, tamarindo and cilantro, it has a smooth, smoky feel perfect for lazy brunches when a mimosa sounds too sweet and fizzy. 

Mezcalada at Jethro’s. Photo by Meredith Nudo.

Originally, we were visiting with the intent of telling our readers about Jethro’s food program. Unfortunately, the recent storms delayed the menu’s debut. However, we can tell you what’s coming. There are plans to serve up classic bar fare such as smashburgers, plant-based burgers, fries and grilled cheese, each meant to pair well with the cocktails. The Mezcalada should pair especially well with the grilled cheese, like a boozy alternative to tomato soup. We hope to try the food in the future and will update this article with our impressions if we’re able to do so.

If the food ultimately proves as delicious as the drinks, then Jethro’s stands poised to become a long-time Montrose staple, not unlike Boheme a few streets over. It’s already a welcome addition to the neighborhood. 

Jethro’s opens at noon on Sundays and at 4 p.m. the rest of the week.

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