Some Houston Restaurants & Bars Temporarily Closed due to Omicron Spread — Updated

temporarily closed sign

This article is now outdated, and most of the places noted have since reopened. For the current list of temporary closings, visit this link

It seems like the Grinch is trying to steal Christmas — and New Year’s — but hopefully, thanks to prompt, preventative action by several restaurant and bar owners, he won’t drag our holiday cheer up Mount Crumpit. Due to the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 — in the general population and in some cases among staff — multiple Houston restaurant and bar owners made the tough decision to temporarily close. Some places that closed over the weekend are already reopening, while others are remaining closed through the Christmas weekend.

Here are the places we know about so far. This list will be updated as more information comes in. To let us know about restaurants and bars that are temporarily closed, please email us.

Temporarily Closed

13 celsius, 3000 Caroline: There won’t be a New Year’s Eve celebration at this acclaimed midtown wine bar. It has temporarily closed until January 2 to keep employees and the public safe due to the spread of omicron. That sadly also means the staff won’t be able to celebrate the bar’s 15th anniversary, which falls on New Year’s Eve. Added 12/30/21, 9:12 a.m.


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’93 til, 1601 West Main: The casual Museum District-area restaurant and bar, which we just named one of the Best New Restaurants of 2021, has temporarily shut its doors. It’s not yet announced a reopening date, and owners are set to reevaluate when that might happen on Tuesday, December 28.  Added 12/27/21, 8:18 a.m.


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Dandelion Cafe, 5405 Bellaire: This spot for coffee, breakfast and lunch and late-afternoon fare was among the first to announce that it was temporarily closing. An email to its customer mailing list reported several staff members had tested positive for COVID. Dandelion Cafe will remain closed through Christmas weekend, and the current plan is to reopen on Monday, December 27.

Davis St. at Hermann Park, 5925 Almeda: The restaurant featuring longtime Houston chef Mark Holley temporarily closed on December 23 but it is reopening on on Wednesday, December 29 at 4 p.m. — just in time for happy hour. Before the closing, a statement emailed by the restaurant said, “In response to the rapid rise of COVID-19 positive cases due to the omicron variant, Davis Street will be temporarily closed until further notice to ensure we have taken the necessary safety precautions to protect our staff and customers. We will provide an update on reopening as soon as we have more information. Thank you for your understanding and stay safe.” Updated 12/28/2021, 2:26 p.m.

H Town Restaurant Group: Nearly all of Tracy Vaught and chef Hugo Ortega’s restaurants are temporarily closing, with the goal of reopening in time for New Year’s Eve. So far, the announcement below has appeared on Xochi, Hugo’s and Caracol’s social media accounts. A representative says that Backstreet Cafe remains open.

J-Bar-M Barbecue, 2201 Leeland: Well, this is a bummer. Just a week after being named to our Best New Restaurants of 2021 list, this top-notch barbecue restaurant with pitmaster Willow Villareal has to take a break. It will be closed until Tuesday, December 28, due to several team members testing positive for COVID-19. If you pre-ordered barbecue for Christmas, don’t worry. A minimal staff will still be on-hand to ensure you get your order, and customers with pending orders will be contacted to make arrangements. You can also call (713) 534-1024 with questions. Added 12/21/2021, 10:21 a.m.

Lei Low, 6412 North Main: The acclaimed Heights tiki bar temporarily closed just before Christmas, but there’s hope that it may be able to reopen in time for service on Tuesday, December 28. Added 12/27/21, 8:15 a.m.


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Nobie’s, 2048 Colquitt: On Sunday, December 19, this Montrose eatery announced on Instagram that it was closing for the holiday week earlier than planned. Originally, Nobie’s planned to close December 24 through 28 for the Christmas holidays. It’s regularly closed on Mondays and Tuesdays anyway, so it only lost a day of business. Watch for a reopening on Wednesday, December 29.


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Pearl Bar, 4216 Washington: No one wants to bring home an illness for the holidays, so the bar is doing its part by staying closed for now. The hope is that it will reopen soon after Christmas Day. Update, 12/24/21, 8:48 a.m.: Pearl Bar announced on Instagram that it is reopening even earlier than hoped — on Christmas Day.


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Red Dessert Dive, 1045 Studewood: The Heights pastry café is closing on Tuesday, December 28 due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19. Customers who expected to pick up an order that day will be contacted to make arrangements. Added 12/27/21, 5:13 p.m. 


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Roots Wine Bar, 3107 Leeland: The east-of-downtown establishment closed indoor dining and pivoted to offering retail wine sales only. It then closed for a Christmas break. The plan is to reopen the kitchen on Wednesday, December 28. Added 12/27/21, 8:32 a.m.

Stanton’s City Bites, 1420 Edwards: The well-regarded, classic Houston burger joint is closed until January 13 for its winter break. However, when it reopens, it is likely to only offer takeout and delivery. A note on the homepage reads, “We continue to offer TAKEOUT AND DELIVERY SERVICES ONLY. The safety of our community is of the utmost importance, and we REQUIRE that all patrons wear a mask when coming to see us regardless of vaccination status.” Added 12/27/21, 8:43 a.m.

Underbelly Hospitality: All of chef Chris Shepherd’s restaurants closed over the past weekend and remained so through Tuesday. Some have reopened (see the beginning of this article under Reopened), but Georgia James Tavern and One Fifth remain closed for now. All Underbelly Hospitality restaurants will also be closed from December 25 through 27 for the Christmas holiday weekend. Update, 12/27/21, 9:14 a.m.: The plan right now is that Georgia James Tavern is reopening on Tuesday, December 28.


Angel Share, 924 Congress: The downtown bar that donates a portion of proceeds to charity closed briefly — just over the weekend — in order for employees to get tested. Fortunately, all tests came back negative so Angel Share is reopening for regular hours as of Monday, December 20. It’s closed on Christmas Eve, but reopens on Christmas Day from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. — just in case anyone needs to get out of the house. Updated 12/24/21, 8:30 a.m.

Better Luck Tomorrow, 544 Yale: The popular bar in the Heights closed temporarily after Christmas, but it’s reopening in time for New Year’s. Updated 12/29/21, 12:54 p.m.

Boomtown Coffee, 242 West 19th in the Heights and 800 Capitol at the Understory food hall: This local craft coffee shop is closed temporarily on Monday, December 20 due to some employees being exposed to COVID-19. The temporary closing was to allow time for the staff to get tested. It’s reopened, with the Heights location offering patio service only. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day and reopens for regular hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 26. Updated 12/24/21, 8:41 a.m.

Brasil, 2604 Dunlavy: The Montrose mainstay closed on Sunday, December 19 so staff could get tested. There must have been a lot of good news, because it’s already back to regular hours as of Monday, December 20. It closes for the holiday at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve and reopens on December 26.

Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails, 3622 Main: The midtown coffee shop and bar closed last weekend so that its team could get tested. It’s now reopened in time for Christmas Eve. The hours are from 4 to 11 p.m. Double Trouble is closed on Christmas Day. Updated 12/24/21, 8:46 a.m.


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Relish, 2810 Westheimer: The River Oaks restaurant closed from December 21 through the 26 due to the rapid spread of omicron among staff. The plan is to reopen on Monday, December 27. That’s not been happened officially yet, so call (713) 599-1960 to make sure that is indeed the case.

Riel, 1927 Fairview: After closing for Christmas Eve due to omicron, the restaurant is to open again on Monday, December 27. Because the situation can change on a dime for any establishment right now, it’s prudent to call (832) 831-9109 or check social media before heading that way. Added 12/27/21, 9:12 a.m. 

Squable, 632 West 19th: The acclaimed restaurant founded by Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel, and featuring the talents of chef Mark Clayton, suffered some breakthrough cases among vaccinated staff. The good news is that it reopened on December 28. Updated, 12/29/21, 12:55 p.m.

Tiny Champions, 2617 McKinney: The sister restaurant of Nancy’s Hustle closed this past weekend due to staff members testing positive, but it was offering a limited to-go menu. Co-owner Sean Jensen is planning on reopening on Tuesday, December 21. “We have not had any mores cases and are getting everyone to test before they return,” he said via email. He also said that Nancy’s Hustle was not affected and did not close. Update, 12/24/21, 8:55 a.m.: Tiny Champions — a Best New Restaurant pick for 2021, by the way — is open again regular hours daily except for Christmas Day.

Underbelly Hospitality: Chef Chris Shepherd’s restaurant group closed all of its places over the past weekend, but some are reopening on Wednesday, December 22. These are Georgia James, UB Preserv (set to close permanently after December 23) and The Hay Merchant — which has gotten a bit of a reprieve and is now not closing until Georgia James temporarily relocates to One Fifth in mid-January. All Underbelly Hospitality restaurants will also be closed from December 25 through 27 for the Christmas holiday weekend. Update, 12/23/2021, 8:35 a.m.: UB Preserv did not actually reopen. See below for an update.

Permanently Closed

Update, 12/23/21, 8:37 a.m.: In a sad development, UB Preserv didn’t get the final send-off it deserved thanks to the continuing Omicron situation. It was set to close permanently after service on December 23, but never was able to reopen for it. The following is Underbelly Hospitality’s statement on Instagram:

“Hey there, UB Preserv friends and family. We deeply regret to inform you that thanks to Omicron, we will be closed today, December 22, and tomorrow, December 23. This is not the end we wanted or hoped for, but after monitoring the situation today, we have had to make this incredibly difficult decision to close for our last two services.

We made this decision for the safety of our staff and guests, and for the fact that we would not be able to execute the way we would want to honor the legacy of this restaurant.

We cannot thank you enough for your support of UB Preserv over the years—we have made friends that have turned into family that we will never forget. Thank you for everything.”

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