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Night Shift Is Now Slinging Classic Cocktails in Houston’s East End

The kitchen at this newcomer stays open until nearly 2 a.m. every single night

a bartender pouring gin from a green bottle of tanqueray into a small martini glass
The “freezer martini” at Night Shift
Night Shift

The Greater East End’s newest neighborhood bar has officially arrived, serving up classic cocktails and late-night eats in an effortlessly cool industrial space in the Second Ward.

Night Shift opened quietly earlier this month at 3501 Harrisburg, just off the Great East End’s light rail line. The bar is a project from Justin Ware, former bar manager at Johnny’s Gold Brick, and Patrick Abalos, of Not Too Sweet Ventures.

Night Shift is just the latest bar to open in the East End, joining newcomers Fitzcarraldo and White Rhino, both of which opened earlier this year. The bar, which sits in the shadow of the old Maxwell House Coffee Plant, is one of several drinking destinations in the neighborhood to cater to shift workers. Before the plant closed in the summer of 2018, nearby dive D&W Lounge was known for opening at 7 a.m., specifically to serve third-shifters seeking a post-work beer.

Thought the coffee plant is now closed, Night Shift continues that ethos, declaring itself “an homage to those who work hard day and night— the early shift, the late shift, those who burn the midnight oil and those who wake before the dawn.” The bar’s interior, a converted warehouse accented with a few touches of neon and several live plants, creates a relaxed, unfussy vibe, perfect for winding down after a long day at work.

The drink menu is where Night Shift really shines. Drinkers can expect all manner of classic cocktails, including a Manhattan, Trinidad sour, whiskey smash, Queens Park swizzle, a cosmo, and ice cold martinis — and whatever’s not listed, the bartenders can make it. There are a some originals too, like the Green Line, a rum and green apple drink named after the nearby light rail, and the carpe noctum (a.k.a. “seize the night”), a bourbon-chocolate-cherry drink accented with a pinch of salt.

The bar also serves nostalgic, late night eats inspired by chef Danny Leal’s Mexican heritage, including dishes like the “gas station burrito” made with vegan chorizo, cheese, and black beans, yuca fries with sweet chili sauce, crispy friend enchiladas potosinas, and even churros. The kitchen stays open until last call — 1:45 a.m.

Night Shift plans to start offering brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays in the near future. The bar is also working on a spacious, 55-seat rooftop deck that will offer views of both Downtown and the historic coffee plant. The rooftop will also have its own service bar, and is expected to open in the coming months.

In the meantime, Night Shift’s main bar is every seven days a week, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.