New Houston Bar Slated to Debut This Summer in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest Area
A couple who relocated to Houston from southern California are opening a bar in the former Tres Amigos Cafe y Cantina space at 3402 North Shepherd. The Upside Pub will bring a new, casual hangout to the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest (sometimes awkwardly called “The GOOF”) and Independence Heights area.
The 1,500-square-foot space also sports a 300-square-foot covered patio, which will be outfitted with fans for the summer and heaters for the winter. Because the building and patio are undergoing extensive remodeling, there aren’t any photos to share yet. Matrix Contractors LLC is doing the buildout.
While in southern California, Paige Lujan established a career as a serious craft beer professional and helped open Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank and Mohawk Bend in Los Angeles. She was additionally a founding partner of the Artisanal Brewers Collective — a coalition of southern California bars and restaurants committed to serving true craft beer — as well as Los Angeles Beer Week and LA Vegan Beer & Food Fest. While she is The Upside Pub’s managing partner, husband Andy will focus on back-office responsibilities and, according to his bio, “as an always on-call busser/runner.” The couple decided to raise a family in Houston.
The Upside Pub will serve 15 different “approachable” beers on tap, as well as some more esoteric canned and bottled selections. That said, the drink list also includes wine and spirits. Food will include pub favorites, such as queso and chicken wings, and creative offerings like spiced boiled peanuts, Jersey diner fries with a Texas twist and Northeast shrimp rolls. Texans who moved from California and moan that they can’t find a decent burrito may be thrilled to hear that the Lujans are planning to serve an authentic one. The Upside Pub will serve lunch, dinner and brunch, as well as late-night fare.
“Every neighborhood deserves a neighborhood pub, and The Upside Pub is excited to welcome the residents of the GOOF greater neighborhood through our doors,” said Paige via press release. “What sets a pub apart is its ability to encourage a sense of ownership from the community. We want Upside Pub to serve a purpose for our neighborhood — from post-PTA meeting drinks, to weekday lunch for local businesses, to being the perfect third date spot where someone will always know your name.”
While the pub is not a sports bar, it will be outfitted with televisions tuned to the prevailing public interest, whether it be an Astros game or the Kentucky Derby (the Lujans are bringing their own tradition of watching football games or car races on Sunday mornings). Those looking for more interactive entertainment can enjoy darts or “large format group games” (likely activities such as cornhole and giant Jenga).
While the specific opening date isn’t set, interested parties can follow The Upside Pub on Instagram for updates.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.