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New Second Ward Bar Serves Tulum Vibes and Drinking Water Made With Houston Humidity

At the ridiculously eco-friendly White Rhino, find tiki cocktails and a machine that grinds empty booze bottles into sand for the expansive patio

the exterior of a bar with a logo that reads “white rhino” and with a massive, stately agave plant partially obscuring the view
White Rhino is opening soon on Milby Street
White Rhino/Facebook

A new patio bar with Tulum-esque vibes and an eye towards sustainability is now open in the Second Ward.

White Rhino, which opened on February 5 at 319 Milby Street, serves up mezcal, craft beer, tropical drinks alongside an array of food trucks in a plant-drenched atmosphere. True to its name, the bar plans to donate a portion of its sales to conservation efforts, specifically organizations working with endangered species like white rhinoceroses.

The bar takes its inspiration in part from Tulum, the ultra-hip but laid-back Mexican beach town where a lack of infrastructure has led restaurants and hotels to turn to solar electricity, sustainable cooking and composting, water collection and other eco-friendly measures. At White Rhino, that translates into touches like lots of air-purifying greenery inside, special paint on the walls that helps reduce carbon dioxide in the air, a glass-crushing machine that will turn liquor bottles into sand for the bar’s patio, and a reverse osmosis water generator that pulls humidity from the Houston air and converts it to drinking water. The building is also home to a majestic old agave plant that White Rhino’s owners have taken care to preserve. A massive patio, complete with heaters, makes socially distancing and al fresco dining easy.

Co-owners Bobby De La Rosa and Rodrigo Salinas have tapped general manager John Stewart, previously of Wooster’s Garden, to create a menu of cocktails that include tiki classics like the Sufferin’ Bastard, made with bourbon and ginger beer, and the Jungle Bird, with pineapple, dark rum and Campari, alongside riffs on other classics, like a mezcal margarita. Grant Keaton of Cambio Culinary Concepts, who has worked at other Houston-area bars like Lazy Oaks and Buffalo Bayou Brewery, helped round out the project

White Rhino plans to host a diverse rotation of food trucks. White Rhino is open daily, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.. The bar eventually plans to expands its hours. When it does, it’ll also serve coffee and light bites.

Update, 2/8: This story has been updated to reflect that White Rhino is in the Second Ward, not EaDo. We regret the error.