Stacy is The Mighty Rib’s new Houston restaurant critic!
When I stepped into Hughes Hangar, a new speakeasy-style gastro lounge on Washington, it was as if time slowed down. With Frank Sinatra playing in the background and elegant dark furniture surrounding two center bars, I felt just like Ava Gardner in 1940’s Hollywood, only not as beautiful or well-dressed. Despite what my mother says.
The place is named for Howard Hughes (i.e. The Aviator), who’s actually buried in Glenwood Cemetery, conveniently located just outside, behind the bar. Which, I should also mention has a 3,000 square foot patio with couches, canopies, and a giant film screen – a very open area they haven’t quite decided what they’ll do with yet. Movie nights, weddings, private events, even putting in a pool have all been discussed. I’m eager to see how the place will shape up. The only thing on the spacious, 3,500 square foot interior to drag you out of your Rat Pack fantasy daze are the large flat-screen TV’s that adorn the walls. But hey, you’ve got to have some modern touches somewhere if you want to attract people in this day and age. A problem Hughes does not seem to have as it was packed.
There are some negatives of course – you’re pretty much forced to valet (for $7, mind you), and there’s a dress code which is strictly enforced. Although I did see some women in shorts. Plus, they were out of a few things on the menu (like dessert) and the waitresses were hardly knowledgeable about the drinks. But with good food, a decent happy hour, and a fantastic list of libations, this upscale establishment shows a great deal of promise and makes for an alluring and glamorous evening. Oh, and I can’t not mention the bathroom! Be sure to bring a dollar or two with you to tip the attendant who’s there to kindly offer you a hand towel, as well as a variety of toiletries – even cigarettes!
As for the food, my companion and I decided to order a few of their happy hour options – $5 each. We ordered the shrimp cocktail, kobe sliders, and mushroom flatbread. The menu advertises that the sliders come in threes; however, we only got two – though they were larger than your typical slider. And quite tasty. The bread was soft and fluffy, the meat juicy and flavorful, and the portion itself quite generous, even coming with a handful of shoestring fries. The fries were a little soggy but the taste was still outstanding. As for the mushroom flatbread which had mozzarella, onion confit, and truffle oil, it was completely delectable. The bread was very thin and crisp, almost like a cracker. And though the menu claims it’s topped with mozzarella, I tasted some parmesan in there too. The shrimp cocktail was average; the shrimp were a good size and the sauce was spicy so if that’s your thing, then go for it. And you’ll have to forgive me on these food pictures. I didn’t bring my good Nikon with me and it was dark in there!
I did also order one of their signature libations, The Constellation – Tru Organic Lemon Vodka, sweetened by a FruitLab of Hibiscus & air mailed with fresh squeezed lemon juice. It was a sweet, girly drink and I liked it, but it wasn’t very strong and it came in a teeny tiny glass. And you know how that irks me as I like my drinks like I like my men – tall and strong!
The crowd at Hughes Hangar was mixed, although I would say the majority of folks there were in their late 20’s/early 30’s. Which was kind of nice to see – the old world feel of this swanky lounge isn’t lost on a younger audience. Music became a bit more contemporary as the night went on but it never lost its 1940’s charm.
If you want a nice evening and are looking for an escape from the typical “party corridor” bars of Washington, check out Hughes. Hours are Wed-Fri 4:00PM-2:00AM and Saturday 8:00PM-2:00AM. They also serve brunch Saturday and Sunday mornings from 11:30AM – 4:00PM.
2811 Washington Ave
Houston Texas 77007
Ph : (281) 501-2028
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org