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Wacky Pop-Up Bars With Lego and SpongeBob SquarePants Themes Head to Houston

Plus, a Chicago Caribbean eatery sets its sights on Space City and more dining intel

a cheeseburger and a hand holding a neon green drink
a Krabby Patty at Spongebob-themed The Rusty Krab
Rusty Krab/Facebook

Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.

A slew of themed, experiential bars will open in Houston

A whole bunch of quirky theme bars are set to pop-up in the Bayou City over the next several months. One of those pop-ups, a SpongeBob SquarePants-themed bar and restaurant, is already open at 711 North Main Street in Downtown, according to the Houston Chronicle. That location has previously hosted a Harry Potter pop-up and an bar inspired by popular sitcom The Office. The Rusty Krab, as the SpongeBob experience is called, serves up Krabby Patty burgers and chicken “chum” nuggets in a Insta-friendly atmosphere, and has already proven popular enough that its run has been extended through August 1.

At least two more themed pop-up bars are headed to Houston later this year. The first, a LEGO-inspired drinkery called The Brick Bar, will open at a yet-to-be-named location in September, and will be open for one weekend only. The bar promises an “ultimate nostalgia trip” with more than one million bricks, some in the form of sculptures like a playable ping pong table.

The second, an Alice in Wonderland-inspired event, will include a 90-minute reservation that includes two cocktails, tea cakes, riddles and more. A location and date for this pop-up has yet to be announced, but storybook fans can sign up now to be notified when tickets go on sale.

Chicago-born Caribbean restaurant sets its sights on Houston

Caribbean Jerk Palace, a small Chicago-born chain known for its Jamaican cuisine, is set to open its first restaurant outside of Illinois when it lands in Houston later this year. The restaurant announced its expansion on Instagram in February, and will be located in the Third Ward, at at 3801 Emancipation Avenue. When it does, diners can expect dishes like curry chicken, jerk catfish, turkey tips, jerk chicken wings, and sides like rice and peas and plantains. No word yet on a opening timeline for Caribbean Jerk Palace.

Julep opens a ready-to-drink pop-up cocktail shop

Julep, the Washington Avenue bar that just reopened to the public after selling to go cocktails for the last year, has also recently opened a pop-up retail shop selling 100 different types of ready-to-drink cocktails, including classics like negronis and martinis. Ready to Drink Market, which is set up in a private back room of the bar, also sells items like specialty cocktail ice, bar tools, prosecco cocktails, and snacks. All the drinks are made in-house at Julep and have a shelf life of three weeks. Ready to Drink is open at 1919 Washington (off the Julep patio) 4-9pm daily. The shop will be open through at least July, and may eventually become permanent.