New Downtown lounge taps into history to provide luxurious edge
At 909 Texas there sits a beautifully designed space with exposed brick walls, arched doorways and an expansive patio perched above the hustle and bustle of busy Downtown streets. Located right above the Downtown staple Sambuca is the new upscale bar Lawless Spirits and Kitchen. Except there’s a catch, this space is anything but new.
The building that houses Lawless opened in 1913 and has been home to such notable establishments as the historic Rice Hotel, The Capitol Club, The Flag Room and State Bar. Lawless, which sits in the former State Bar space, was opened earlier this year to ”Bring back the heart and soul of the original Capitol Club,” says Assistant General Manager, Josh Jennings.
In its heyday, the Capitol Club was frequented by politicians, energy executives, lawyers and others of the like. Today, while Lawless hosts a large number of corporate happy hours for those same high-level executives, the inviting atmosphere attracts everyone from theater-goers looking for a late-night drink, to residents who are looking to get dressed up for a night out, and even the casual sports fan who is celebrating the hometown team’s big win. Lawless is a luxurious venue minus the pomp and circumstance.
Lawless is the third concept by the Sambuca Restaurant Group. Their other two establishments, the Crystal Ballroom event space inside The Rice, and Sambuca, the local jazz café with live music seven nights a- week, have both proven to be very lucrative for the block. When asked what the secret is to their success and how they’ve managed to weather the ups and downs of the economy over the last 17 years, Jayme Spurgeon, an assistant general manager for Sambuca and Lawless, says, “It’s about knowing the market, our niche and our guests. We’ve had to adapt with the times and provide an experience that we know our guests are seeking.” In a vibrant Historic District, which has experienced the opening of over 25 other businesses within the last five years, Lawless brings a chic element to the bar scene that hadn’t existed previously.
While they identify more as an executive-type lounge rather than a full-service restaurant, Lawless does have a small chef-driven bar menu with exquisitely executed dishes. Highlights include their signature burger made with Texas wagyu beef and shredded brisket tossed in chili, their brisket pot stickers and the Korean chicken tacos. And while their signature drink has unanimously become the Punch Me in the Moonshine made with fruit-punch flavored moonshine, agave nectar, fresh lime juice, basil and fresh strawberries, there’s definitely something here for everyone!