After eight years as one of Upper Kirby’s most popular bars, The Queen Vic will serve its final pint later this month.
Citing an irreconcilable differences with its landlord as the primary reason for the closure, owner Rick Di Virgilio, who opened The Queen Vic with his wife Shiva Patel, said that the ending is bittersweet. “It’s like our love child,” Di Virgilio told Eater. “We have a lot of good memories in that place, a lot of emotional attachment to it. My dad built the space before he passed. The concept is great and people still love it.”
Bursting onto the Houston food scene in 2010, The Queen Vic brought creative Indo-British gastropub fare to Houston with dishes like short rib samosas and Goan Fisherman’s Curry. The menu represented the collaborative efforts the then-newlyweds team, who had met in the early days of Di Virgilio’s first restaurant, Oporto Cafe. The two worked together until 2014, when Di Virgilio left the kitchen to focus on Oporto Fooding Houston in Midtown, and Patel took time off to take care of their first child.
Di Virgilio broke the news to the bar’s staff on Thursday, and he says they’re being positive about it. “We picked the last day to coincide with the last day of the World Cup,” he says, saying that he wants to go out on a celebratory note. “We’ll have some happy hour specials to thank our regulars later next week.” It’s possible that the Queen Vic could re-open in a new location, possibly closer to the Heights, where Patel and Di Virgilio live. He also has ideas for a new restaurant that “takes the Euro-Portuguese spice to route to India.”
The Queen Vic will bow out on July 15, which means that drinkers have a little over a week left to pay their respects to one of the pioneers of Houston’s craft beer scene.