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Former Barringer Bar Co-Owners Confirms Plans to Open a Speakeasy Downtown

A new bar is on the way to Downtown Houston from two longtime bartenders.

Chieko Cook (l) and Robby Cook (r)
Chieko Cook (l) and Robby Cook (r)
Quy Tran Photography

Last week, Houston Press' Phaedra Cook posed the question, "how many bars can one little area support?" The query was asked in regards to The Nightingale Room, one of the newest bars to open along a crowded field of watering holes on Main and in the Market Square vicinity of Downtown. The answer: one more, if longtime bartenders Robby Cook and wife, Cheiko have anything to say about it. Earlier this month, Robby Cook shared a blueprint of what appeared to be a bar he and his wife is indeed in the making.

The Cook's previous downtown bar, Barringer Bar & Lounge,  shut down after owner Steve Hannigan (who also owns Clutch City Squire, the bar located beneath Barringer) allegedly locked the two bartenders out of the bar they subleased. The matter hasn't been resolved but Cheiko are moving forward with another bar to call their very own.

"We are looking forward to designing another Barringer with the same look, feel and homage to Houston history," wrote Cheiko. Having a bar in a building that has a rich history is an important component and why the Cooks chose to open their second bar in Downtown again. "Luckily, we are extremely close to where the original once stood and the space was a bar previously, so the turn-around time should be relatively quick," Cheiko said of the new space which could open as soon as next month or in early January.

A lease has been signed and the Cooks will announce the new location in the coming weeks.  Cheiko and Robby are excited about what the future holds for them, "hopefully this move will be nothing but bigger and better for us and those that have been patiently waiting with us." There's still one last hurdle to overcome: funding.

After using their entire life savings and legal fees,  the couple are going the crowdsourcing route and turning to friends and supporters for their donations. "We have been depleted as far as funds that aren't tied up in either the legal aspect or the old property itself. We are asking for anyone interested to please help with us getting the new bar off the ground," explained Cheiko.

Anyone who's interested in donating can do so at Barringer's GoFundMe page.