26th August
2009
written by Jeff

Well, it was bound to happen. UPDATE

According to the Press, Walter’s is moving, NOT closing. Good news for live music fans. It doesn’t save Washington Avenue, but it’s something. Thank you for all the comments here and on Broken Record. Keep the faith.

Craig Hlavaty from the Houston Press reported on Twitter that Walter’s on Washington will close down after Halloween and has promised more details tomorrow.

This should really come as no shock to anyone who has been watching the slow, painful demise of the Washington Avenue corridor. What was once a promising hot bed of live music venues has turned into a long stretch of douchtastic venues for Hummer-driving popped collar assholes.

Everyone needs a place to drink and act like a moron. It’s just a shame that this stretch of road has to suffer the fate once relegated to Richmond Avenue between 610 and Chimney Rock.

For those who are unaware, Washington Avenue has, over the years, been home to some of the city’s most important music venues. Here’s a partial list. Feel free to comment with others.

Rockefeller’s

One of the all-time great music venues in our city’s history, Rockefeller’s hosted a wealth of artists from Garth Brooks (early days) and Suzanne Vega to BB King, Tower of Power and Chick Corea. Built out of an old bank building, the unique two-story interior was often packed for multiple shows. When acts started looking for larger venues where they only needed to do one show (crowd size issues were sometimes a problem for the venue that would be an IDEAL size today), Rockefeller’s died.

What is there now? A wedding and corporate events venue

The Fabulous Satellite Lounge

One of my favorite all-time places to see bands in Houston, “the Satellite” as everyone referred to it was a big, open, loud room with a great sound system and plenty of killer bands to pack the place. In some ways, Satellite was the precursor to the Houston version of the Continental Club and hosted a lot of the same acts. I played MANY shows there in the mid-90’s and always had a good time.

What is there now? A salon

Club Hey Hey

Directly across the street from Rockefeller’s, Club Hey Hey was one of Houston’s preeminent blues bars for a number of years. On one particular night, BB King playing Rockefeller’s and Albert Collins (a native Houstonian) playing Hey Hey met in the middle of Washington for a jam session with the doors to both clubs wide open. Now, all we can expect is two drunk jerkoffs standing in the middle of the street having a text-off. Brilliant.

What is there now? Apartment complex

Rhythm Room

One of the more recent venues to die off (just a few years back), the Rhythm Room was one of those places that seemed like a perfect music venue. It was essentially a long hallway with a stage at the far end, pool tables and bar in the back. It had a great sound system, was built for easy load-in/out and had a backstage set up. It never seemed to gain ground on venues like the Engine Room (now dead as well) and the taxes on the property were probably too high, so they folded.

What is there now? An empty building still for lease.

Tones

A tiny blues club next to Walter’s, Tones worked under several names when Walter’s was still an ice house, but it was a great week night hang where you could hear some killer blues music.

What is there now? A small non-live music bar.

Cosmo’s

Cool little converted diner. I remember doing a bunch of gigs there and seeing some really cool musicians play there. The bar staff was always friendly and there was always good live music on the weekends and a jam night on Wednesday’s. Thanks for the help with remembering the name!

What is there now? The Porch Swing

The Vatican

In the mid-90’s, the Vatican was THE place to go see live alt bands. Such notables as Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails came through the venue that was once a pretty majestic church. It was a HUGE venue and a competitor for Numbers that just didn’t survive, most likely because the bills on a venue that size must have been brutal. It was at the far west end of Washington and I remember it fondly because their phone number was only 1 off from mine in those days and I regularly got wrong numbers meant for them. When someone wanted to know who was playing and didn’t listen when I told them it was a wrong number, I usually made up band names like the Cheesy Weasels and the Stinky Monkeys. You’re welcome.

What is there now? Office space

The Bon Ton Room/Fat Cats/Mary Jane’s

Last year, I was dating someone who said that her friends wanted to meet her at a new bar called the Pearl Bar, so we went. What I found made me ill (both of us, actually). What was once the Bon Ton Room, home to the earliest incarnations of the Arc Angels among others, and, ultimately, Mary Jane’s, was now a packed, hot bar filled with yuppies – and that was before the velvet rope went up. Since it’s opening, I’ve often hoped the hipsters at Walter’s across the street and the yuppies at Pearl Bar would meet in the middle of the street like some sort of modern day West Side Story and fight it out.

What is there now? Pearl Bar

Walter’s on Washington

Finally to Walter’s, a place I played both in its current form and when it was an ice house. Over the past few years it’s been a source of controversy with over zealous cops and annoying NIMBY neighbors and let’s be honest, it was never exactly an ideal music venue given its size and dimensions. But, it was pretty much the only live music venue in town that still had that ratty, run down, indie music vibe outside of Rudyard’s and maybe Numbers on a non-goth night. It was also the only venue that bid on cool indie shows here in Houston and losing it most definitely hurts.

What is there now? Who knows

Anyone old enough knows this process is sadly common in Houston. Even before my time, Market Square, a once thriving live music spot, turned into a bunch of bars for people who worked downtown. Party on the Plaza became country and cover band-centric. Richmond Avenue started out with live original music, but eventually de-evolved into Sam’s Boat and whatever remnants of the slimy coke-fest are still there.

Some of us even had high hopes for Main Street, but clearly we were mistaken.

Houston is simply not original music friendly. As a city, we don’t support live original music or demand that venues remain open. Washington Avenue, a quirky, ethnic street filled with tiny taco joints, funky warehouse lofts and pawn shops is slowly gentrifying into a plastic, vacant hell hole.

What’s worse is that, like all the other places before it, it will eventually be abandoned too. It’s not like Reign or Pearl Bar are going to be here in 20 years. When people find a cooler place to hang or when there are one too many drunken shootings along the gaudy, townhome-laden side streets, everyone will move on to some other area and infest it with the same crap that is now invading Washington Avenue.

RIP, Walter’s. You made it longer than the rest. Kudos.

Photo via Katharine Shilcutt

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56 Comments

  1. sozavac
    26/08/2009

    Don’t forget that Pearl Bar was once also the Shimmy Shack. Saw Green Day there way back in the day.

    R.I.P. Pamland

  2. 26/08/2009

    This kills me to see Washington Avenue go to ruins! Pre-Porch Swing used to be Cosmo’s Cafe… it was one of the few places I could get my Austin Blues fix! Porch Swings sucks! :(

  3. 26/08/2009

    Aw… What a great ode to the demise of old Washington Avenue. Bring on the douchebaggery. :(

  4. Jay
    26/08/2009

    Where was Deep Phat? Wasn’t that around there somewhere?

    I didn’t know The Vatican, but I remember The Abyss well. RIP, Washington St.

  5. Jay
    26/08/2009

    Does anyone remember where Goat’s Head Soup was?

  6. Rebecca
    27/08/2009

    The Vatican. Heehee.

  7. 27/08/2009

    Weasel Toast/Toes! :P

    How awful! Being still relatively new to the scene, I did not ever get to experience most of these places – how awesome it must have been! :(
    Grrrr…..

  8. Eric
    27/08/2009

    Who was that guy that had a stronghold on the bars on the Richmond strip (among other places) in the late 90’s that required all of the bands to play cover songs? (Sam’s Boat, Sherlock’s, etc.)

  9. 27/08/2009

    Although, I miss the venues mentioned above, the re-development of Washington has been much appreciated by those of us who have worked here since there were grain elevators at Studemont. Back in my day, there weren’t many options for food or shopping. Now we have a COMIC BOOK SHOP.

    So despite the perpetual sucking sound of Washington Ave culture being hauled away by a BMW 3 Series (worst metaphor, ever), I choose to see the silver lining. Besides, I get off work before those folks show up.

    Thanks for this post, it brought back good memories.

  10. Jeff
    27/08/2009

    Thanks for the comments, all.

    @sozavac – Good call on the Shimmy Shack.
    @Monica S – Thanks for the recall on Cosmo’s. I edited my post accordingly.
    @Jay – I vaguely recall Deep Phat, but not where it was. The Abyss was the Vatican after it changed names. Goat’s Head Soup is a name I haven’t heard in a LONG time.
    @Jamie – Unfortunately, most of these places did not overlap time periods. If they were all functional at one time, maybe they would’ve survived.
    @Eric – You’re thinking of Dennis Lang. He still has s stronghold on a lot of places featuring cover bands.
    @Jerome Murphy – I understand how you feel having to work in the area, but there is a better alternative to shitty clubs.

  11. Fulmer
    27/08/2009

    Ahhh nostalgia versus “progress” aka economically fueled change. Why can’t Houston support and or maintain live music venues? Changing real estate values and lack of zoning surely is a contributory factor, but WTF! One of my favorite memories is seeing Albert Collins walk out into the middle of Wash. Ave with a radio mic’ed guitar and play in the middle of the street (from Rockefellers). “The times. They are a-chang’n”

  12. Hans
    27/08/2009

    The band I used to be in played a few shows at Fat Cats and Walters on Washington. Good times…

  13. 27/08/2009

    :sigh:

  14. Tracey
    27/08/2009

    Goat’s Head Soup was at 128 Westheimer.
    Deep Phat at 302 Tuam.

  15. 27/08/2009

    It turns my stomach driving down Washington. I avoid that place like the plague.

    I am sad to wee Walter’s close but as this was the last reason for me to visit this wasteland of DBs I say ‘Good Riddance’

  16. Mike Wright
    27/08/2009

    Best bar fight I ever saw was during a Robert Earl Keen concert at the Satellite. Two big dudes whaling on each other like it was a Rocky movie, blood and beer flying through the air and Keen never missed a note.

  17. 27/08/2009

    It turns my stomach driving down Washington. I avoid that place like the plague.

    I am sad to see Walter’s close but as this was the last reason for me to visit this wasteland of DBs I say ‘Good Riddance’

  18. Eric
    27/08/2009

    My favorite memory: Watching Bob Schneider at Satellite Lounge the night TS Allison started flooding Houston. Even though the water from the street was coming into the bar, the show kept on going.

  19. 27/08/2009

    Great retrospective Jeff! Your King/Collins story reminds me of Peter Himmelman’s show at the Satellite. The guys at the bar (who probably live on Washington Ave. now) continued to talk loudly during the entire performance. Peter got fed up with the situation and took the concert outside along with the majority of the audience. He performed the rest of his set underneath the big tree in the parking lot.

  20. Randy Smith
    27/08/2009

    Thanks for the memories, Jeff. Those were good times…

  21. 27/08/2009

    My favorite Washington Avenue memory is seeing Jackopierce’s last concert before they parted ways, at Rockefeller’s when I was only 16 years old. My best friend and I snuck out of our houses (and stole a pack of cigarettes on our way out) to go see the show and nearly got in a wreck on the way home. Good times… :D

  22. Mk
    27/08/2009

    Great post, RIP WashingtonAve

  23. 27/08/2009

    Mary Janes did a very nice job, The Drop Kick Chihuahua shows there were great. Or the funcky old Roznofsky’s “schoolhouse” burgers that was in the neighborhood just south of Rockefellers.

    Great shows seen at the “Rockadeath” include: Stevie Ray walking on in the middle of a John Lee Hooker/Robert Cray show, KD Lang hitting high notes with Roy Orbison, David Crosby dropping in on Graham Nash on his first night out of prison, the RH Chili Peppers wearing nuthing butt jockstraps, Bonnie Raitt opening for the Neville Bros, with a Dance floor. But the scene has moved on.

  24. Jordan
    27/08/2009

    I remember the Abyss – my first live music experience in high school was there, and the band was Flaming Lips. Sigh. But who is to blame? Should these dying venues be supported by its fans? I’m tired of things like this happening, good stuff in Houston just shutting down.

  25. Jennifer
    27/08/2009

    I greatly appreciate this article. I live near Washington in a restored home with my husband and son. We loved the neighborhood and now we drive down Washington and shake our heads in disgust.

  26. 27/08/2009

    I live in one of those neighborhoods along Washington, and while I don’t partake in the wanton douchery that is on the rise, I have no problems with the change. Much like midtown, the hype of Washnington is nearing fever pitch. Soon, some of the bars (Bars thankfully … lets be appreciative they’re not Techno Clubs, ala Main Street ca. 2000-2001) will fail, and the stalwarts will come to the forefront. Within 3 years, Washington will settle to a nice development of commercial properties, office buildings, restaurants, bars (with some live music nights here and there) and pedestrian areas. I’m certain we’ll even be able to get a good barfight or two going (the Washington Ave. Honkey Tonk is opening across the street from the big Pawn Shop).

    Sounds like a terrible idea if you ask me.

    Of course, the club goers of Walters, which I can appreciate for their maintained support of live music, will be upset, as they will no longer be able to find a like minded facility to compare tones of black painted fingernails and lipsticks, and bemoan how no one understands them or their fascination with vampires, anarchy, and rebellion in general. I’m sure we will miss the storied live musical appearance of such great acts as ‘Vadimvon’, and the ‘VomitFest’ here along the Washington Corridor.

    Point being folks is that for everyone’s crying about closing here and there, this is a resilient city. What goes away in one locale, opens in another. True, Houston is not Austin … and while we may not have a storied live music reputation, this is still an epic city defined by multiculturalism and artistry, industry and progress. Anyone has an opportunity to come to Houston and be successful … even the everyday, common douchebag.

  27. Jonathan
    27/08/2009

    Yes but much more. We have lost our view of downtown to towering obnoxious 3-4 story town homes. Now on Ovid, our place is surrounded by them and very soon we won’t even have a skyline or anything to look at except an abundance of hardy plank boards. My wife and I pass by that pre-puberty animal house wannabe makes me f’n sick of a poor excuse for a bar on the corner of Washington and Sawyer all the time. I’m in such disbelief that I can’t even name the thing. Just went up a couple months ago. I’m disappointed and very saddened fore this was the place for us, away from downtown trust-fund babies. This area was the next best thing to moving to Austin. Oh wait, this sort of refuse is happening there as well isn’t it?

  28. […] In the wake of today’s announcement that underground rock haven Walter’s on Washington will soon close its doors, local musician/photographer/writer Jeff Balke (of Orange Is In) has penned “The Doucheification of Washington Avenue Soon Complete,” which you can read here. […]

  29. Frank
    27/08/2009

    As a native Houstonian, lifelong inner-looper and and 8-year resident of The Heights, what’s happening on Washington Avenue sickens me almost beyond description. Although this post is music-related, let’s not forget about shiny shirt sh**-holes like and benjy’s (with a lowercase “b”) that are certain to choke off what remains of authentic food in the area. My short morning commute takes me from near Studewood and White Oak, west on Washington to Detering and back the in the evening. I suppose I could avoid the area all together, but I’m partially looking forward to the day when someone in a Hummer cuts me off in traffic, or yells at me in a parking lot b/c I am delaying his or her procession to the Max’s Wine Dive valet station. I welcome the confrontation. Bring it!

  30. 27/08/2009

    I don’t understand. I never hear of anyone praising this doucheification (well, they wouldn’t call it that, but you get my drift). So who’s going to these clubs? Who ARE these douchebags hanging out on Washington? I WANT AN EXPOSE.

  31. 27/08/2009

    Ah, the days.

    “Houston is simply not original music friendly. As a city, we don’t support live original music or demand that venues remain open.”

    So true Jeff.

  32. Vonroach
    27/08/2009

    The people who own Star Pizza shut down the Fabulous Satellite Lounge when they moved next door. They didn’t want competition for the parking.

    I have not been back since.

    I have another “Blues in the Street” story on Wash. The first time Tinsley Ellis played in Houston it was in Club Hey Hey. at one point in the show he walked outside and laid on his back on Washington Ave. The crowd when nuts.

    Hey Hey was my favorite of all the clubs. I was there when Roy Rogers play the last show. Roy played the last show at Pat and Pete’s as well.

    Sad to see it go.

  33. Chris
    27/08/2009

    This is absolutely horrible! First rockafellers, then the satellite
    lounge (saw Cory and Pat here in HS) and now Walter’s? I cannot
    fucking believe that Houston has allowed the 281 club culture of the
    MTV loving suburbs to run off establishments that were once the
    cornerstone of Houston live music scene. One thing Houston has always
    had that other cities did not was the fact that this is not
    Austin,this is not New York, this is not vegas or LA! We have our own
    fucking identity and whether that is positive or negative to the rest
    of the world it was still OURs! While some call places like Pearl Bar,
    Bronx Bar and other doucebag establishments progress, I feel like it
    is an insult to our own cities heritage. What happened to the days
    when Houston used to have beer joint honky tonks and blues bars in
    every little corner of the city. Yeah we have the Gallant Knight once
    again but it is not the same because when you use the bathroom your
    not peeing in a bathtub!! This really strikes a nerve with me and I am
    officially boycotting establishments on Washington Ave.
    I hope our generation as Houstonians can do a lot better than inviting
    in franchise clubs/bars and allowing places as unoriginal as the pearl
    bar to set up shop in our city and I proudly can admit that i have
    never spent a single $ or set foot in the Pearl bar. We still have
    fitzgerald’s and places like the Firehouse, but before you know we are
    all going to be shelling out $20 a head and $8 a beer to see our
    favorite artists at places like the House of Blue’s, Whiskey Creek and
    my personal favorite PUB fiction. This is just my 2 cents on this
    issue.

    -Chris

  34. leslie
    27/08/2009

    We spent so many fabulous times pre-kids at the Satellite Lounge.

    And although this is a post about music, I should say that I mourn the passing of George’s Diner, which just stood for Washington Ave. to me. I was never a big pig stand person, but I loved to drive by it and I cant believe it’s now going to be one of those clubs.

  35. 27/08/2009

    This story does bring to a close a rather tragic story. And it seems quite the coincidence that I was only just yesterday talking to my fiance about places like The Vatican and The Unicorn. Whatever happened to the Unicorn? I never got to go to that one, I think I was a bit too young before it closed it’s doors, but I did go to the Vatican and there just isn’t a place like that in Houston these days. It’s one thing to lose these places, but it’s a completely different tragedy when there seems to be no replacement. Sure, we have Numbers still, and Warehouse Live, and is the Engine Room still open? But there doesn’t seem to be anything like The Vatican was. We’ve still got Fitzgerlad’s, thank God. If Fitz ever closes, I might have to finally move to Austin.

  36. Jeff
    27/08/2009

    Thanks again for all the comments everyone.

    @Vonroach – That is not completely accurate. I used to think that as well. In fact, I refused to eat at Star for a long time. But, I talked to a few people involved in that demise and the owner of Satellite apparently spun the story so that Star would take most of the blame when, in reality, Satellite was closing already. Sucks nevertheless.

  37. Greg
    27/08/2009

    Great write up on the Washington Ave. scene. Walters will be sorely missed. I can only imagine what awful establishment is going to crop up in its place. I went to Pearl Bar a few times when it first opened (went with people, not my own choice, well, maybe the first time) and the drinks are overpriced, and the atmosphere is just shit, and this was also before the velvet rope and valet parking.
    Oh, and to answer whoever asked about where these douchebags are, just go to yelp or city search, they are the ones who gice Pearl Bar 4 or 5 stars, raving about how cool it is to hang out with the brohams. My feelings are whetever floats your boat, as long as it doesn’t sink mine, but really, who needs a hummer, a fake tan, popped coller, and the sort? They have to realize that they are forcing music out of Washington, and I think they are proud of it, because now all the weird alternative kids are gone, replaced by fake tits and biceps in small shirts.

  38. me benefiel
    28/08/2009

    yeah…Rockerfeller days…close-up experiences with SRV, warren zevon, david crosby,michael hedges,cassandra wilson, richard thompson,johnny clegg, primus,shelia-e,steven stills,loudon wainwright,bruce cockburn,randy newman,billy bragg,the roches,john hammond,marianne faithful,tuck&patti,adrian belew(king crimson),john haitt etc…musical memories of a lifetime…dbags rule this planet now—nevertheless, the music Will find a way…

  39. m
    28/08/2009

    There was also a place in the early 90s opposite side of the street from Mary Janes called….can’t recall. The Rhythm Pigs played there a number of times.

  40. 28/08/2009

    The Scabs at the Satellite Lounge has to be one of my favorite experiences. There were too many memorable shows at Fat Cat’s/Mary Jane’s to name. Calexico, Cat Power, Mates of State…those venues were the soundtrack to my grad school years. It’s sad to see it go.

  41. Angie
    29/08/2009

    @Fayza: I’m pretty sure none of them are from around the area. I’ve heard my co-workers talking about going there, and they’re the same ones that used to hit the Richmond Strip back in those horrible days, and they’re just grown up with more expensive lease cars now. Some come in from Katy, too.

    I used to live at 1518 Washington back in the early 90s and it was great. Did y’all know that GM is trying to close Knapp Chevy? Just imagine what great Shrine to the Drunken Douches they could build there if they got the dealership out of the way…

  42. 29/08/2009

    More great rockafellers shows; Bill Hicks, The Beat Farmers w Country Dick Montana, Robert Fripp w League of crafty guitars.

  43. […] Remembering Washington Avenue as it used to be. […]

  44. CaptMarvel1966
    30/08/2009

    Goat’s Head Soup – wow now that’s a memory! Actually Goat’s Head Soup was on lower Westheimer and is now a vacant lot, a victim of lower Westheimer convenient fires when business went bad.

    The owner was seen loading $10,000 about an hour before the place caught fire & burned to the ground.

  45. 31/08/2009

    … And, as I foretold …

    http://swamplot.com/guess-where-walters-on-washington-is-moving/2009-08-28/

    … Walter’s on Washington will move to new venue, and continue to entertain. Beyond this, I’m really curious to know how many of the respondees are huge fans of ‘Homopolice’, ‘Suckerfish’, or ‘Death Vessel’. I know, I know … its live music, its art man! Right?

    I’ve never encountered so many people crying about progress. Sorry if popped collar guy, moon boot girl, or affliction t-shirt guy is not for you, but again … things change, and no one has patience. The explosion of establishments on Washington, while inconvenient for daily life at times (I avoid it anytime after 5pm Thursday, through 9pm Sunday, even though I live a stones through from Washington) will temper back on its own based upon quality, both of the establishment, and people attending. All that will remain will be locals that help the neighborhood and community move forward even more. But, if you prefer to cry about how progress is such a disgrace to the city, then perhaps you need to re-assess your living situation, and find something that has ‘commune’ in the name somewhere far away from any internet connections. Reality is, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not as independently leaning as you might believe you are. Be realistic folks, otherwise you’ll find yourself playing catch up and blaming everyone else for it for the rest of your lives. If you need somewhere to go and cry further, then I can recommend a few different wine bars along Washington for you …

  46. Jamie
    31/08/2009

    I read someone wanting the people who go to these bars to expose themselves. It’s people in their late 20’s. Of course there are idiots there, but before Washington Avenue there was not an area to go out if you weren’t in college or just out of college. Apologies for ruining your music scene but as the people going out on Washington Avenue are only late 20’s, early 30’s, we unfortunately don’t know the history of the area. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about going out in Houston loves Washington Avenue. There are different bars for different groups- I hate the Nox bar type and avoid Reign, but there are other bars that I love, and I think the development has been a positive to Houston, despite what has been lost.

  47. Terry
    31/08/2009

    Well, one thing I don’t understand is why does it seem impossible for another live music venue to open up on Washington? Most of the places are bars anyway, doesn’t the Drinkery even have a stage indoors?

    All the aforementioned places were closed or already closing when the new establishments moved in, so wouldn’t that mean the owner of such places made a decision to move on? Maybe I’m ignorant, but never heard of anyone being forced out?

    The Walter’s closing really surprised me, as I remember reading quotes from the Owner that she was “ready to keep the music pumping louder” due to the noise complaints she was getting. You go girl! I find it odd that she decided to close it all of a sudden.

    To a certain extent, it seems like a lot of people are bitter that Washington has become too “mainstream” and lost it’s “edge” that is needed for indie rock.

  48. Professor Laser
    31/08/2009

    Nick, I hope you live in Houston, asshole. It’s the perfect place for someone such as yourself. People who act like you are only part of the reason I moved outta that little slice of heaven, but reason enough. I appreciate the reminder.

    But living there wasn’t all bad. I remember the Vatican fondly. First local show I attended was at the Vatican on Christmas night ’90 or ’91. The bill was Spunk with Carzykilledmingus opening. My first show ever was about two months previous at the Unicorn (Tidwell @ 59): Young Black Teenagers, Primus, Anthrax and Public Enemy. Sound Exchange was still on Westheimer. Dream Merchant and Infinite Records hadn’t closed yet and I was a sophomore at Westbury.

  49. senorwario
    31/08/2009

    Ahhhhhhhaaaaa….
    Love the memories of lower westheimer area of 70’s. I used to work close to Goat’s Head Soup at Alexander’s Restaurant in 1972. Used to hang around at the topless bar after work. It burned out and now it’s #s. Club Bucaccio was located at the
    Lovett St. right accross KPFT radio station. Used to go to Sluggs sometimes and dance Rock n Roll on 14th floor club
    (Sky Jazz Club) and eat at Prince’s at the corner of WestheimerxMontrose. We thought that was the place in Houston
    to hang around and eat at fancy restaurants like Michaelangelo’s, Goodfather, Ruggles and others.
    It is said the areas change with the growth. When the gas prices will go up and match with European prices, all these
    yuppies driving Hummers will be driving smart cars and living in one of the Wards in their pigonholes. Just wait
    few more years and this city will miss people like Ms. Robinson of Walters.

  50. Mark M. Sarmiento
    21/09/2009

    I am one of these people that go to these “bars” on Washington Ave. I don’t understand why people feel so much negativity to growth that has happened.

    I, like many of you, am disappointed that Walter’s is closing, but if you think about it, who is to blame for that one? Get mad at all the owners who let their venues go to such a dicrepit statea and then eventually sell. A prime example is Walter’s. There is nothing new at that place, except probably the front door. How are the bathrooms in Walter’s? Probably would not want to use them.

    Remodeling would be so much easier and cheaper to do than move Walter’s. Here’s what I would have done:

    1. Add a patio to the front. People are seen drinking in the parking lot already, why not add something a place for people to sit down on.

    2. Revamp the inside. Bar and restrooms need to be changed.

    3. Market Walter’s to attract new customers, not just old ones. It is such a place with history, but you are still having the same people that come and no new ones. And obviously there are plenty of new people going to the Washington Corridor.

    4. Open more days for business and ake advantage of your bar and stage. No one on Washington Ave. has a stage like Walter’s. People look for places with live bands. Walter’s is pretty much open just when there is a band. Why is that?

    Ask yourself, when was the last time you went to Walter’s? There are so many advantages to keeping Walter’s open. Everyone would be happy if it remained opened.

    How I wish I could have talked to the owner (don’t know who that is) before it was sold. But the easiest thing to do, is to take the money and run. So I really don’t expect Walter’s to move to a different location.

  51. Mark M. Sarmiento
    21/09/2009

    And @ Chris, what’s wrong with Pearl Bar?

  52. Willy Barnabus
    29/09/2009

    Left Houston for a year and get back to this???? Experienced it first hand and just thought “Wow, how many losers can really fit onto one avenue?”……a lot I guess. Go back to Midtown you freaks….you can go back and join the other twenty thousand dollar millionairs there.

  53. Pedro Muerte
    06/11/2009

    Damn. Its sad to hear that Walter’s is closing down. I was there to see Roots of Exile and Youth Brigade on Oct 30th but before the second band started setting up I was arrested outside. Fucking neighborhood gets run in by HPD and I get picked up for no real reason at all.

    Shame to lose this location but at least they’re trying to relocate. I’ll remember all the fun times I’ve had there dancing and jumpin around to the Business, Bark Hard, Phenomenauts and man other great bands that come through. It will be missed.

    Hopefully the next live music club strip will will have less yuppies and no HPD driving kids out. It sucks to drive from Galveston only to get arrested just to meet the quotas for Harris county. Why dont they haul off those yuppy pieces of shit and let the people that actually have passion for the area’s music scene enjoy what they love.

  54. […] August of ‘09, Jeff Balke wrote a great blog post about Washington Avenue in the Houston Heights, which coined and immortalized the term […]

  55. […] August, I wrote a blog post about what I termed the “doucheification” of Washinton Avenue. This lead to a story in […]

  56. The Ron
    19/10/2012

    I say bitch to the city about all the drunk drivers on Washington on the weekends. I mean RAISE HELL about it. Get a majorly increased blue light presence there, start arresting these Jersey Shore Wannabes left and right and they will go somewhere else. Once we run theses jerks and jerkettes off perhaps we will see a resurgence of Live Music on Washington.
    We can all hope can’t we. Oh and for the jerk that make the comment about comparing love of vampires and shades of black nail polish, you are a douche. You obviously never were a regular at any bar on Washington during the heyday. Vampire/Black Fingernail people go to Numbers. Why don’t you just go back and work on your spray tan and abs somemore. I’m sure there’s a gold digging fake boobed slut waiting for you on Washington somewhere…

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