Just months after debuting EZ’s Liquor Lounge in the Heights, Agricole Hospitality is gearing up to open a second Houston location of its popular patio bar, Eight Row Flint, on Monday, February 20 in the East End.
Co-owners Morgan Weber, Ryan Pera, and Vincent Huyhn announced the news of Eight Row’s expansion last year, noting that they would be taking over the Second Ward space that previously housed Night Shift Bar on Harrisburg. After undergoing a full transformation, the new Eight Row is finally ready to open its doors over the long weekend. “It looks about as different as Night Shift could possible look,” says Weber. “The bones of what those guys built was incredible, but it was too nightclubby.”
Weber says that it was this location in particular that ignited a flame to duplicate Eight Row, instead of coming up with something new entirely. “By and large, when a space comes available to us, we let the space dictate what it wants to be,” Weber explains. “Here, we noticed the kitchen was way better than the food truck kitchen we use in the Heights, but it wasn’t big enough to do a full-blown restaurant.” Thus, the plan for a second Eight Row Flint was born.
The revamped space boasts rustic elements, using salvaged wood and duck canvas, and resembles its Heights counterpart so much so that Weber says it can play mind tricks on you. “There are some angles, where when you’re standing in the bar, you can’t tell if you’re in the Heights or in the East End location.”
A custom rick house anchors the main dining room and pieces of eclectic art decorate the walls, including a colorful stairway mural created by general manager Christian Garza and his young daughter. The bar can accommodate 200 guests inside, and the addition of an open-air rooftop patio with downtown views, offers additional seating for 80 — a feature Houstonians will no doubt take advantage of on those just right weather days.
Conveniently perched along the METRORail’s Green Line, giving guests easy access to and from downtown, the bar is likely to become a watering hole for Astros fans before and after games at Minute Maid Park.
From the beverage menu, guests can expect all of the favorites that have become synonymous with Eight Row, including its selection of ranch waters, Old Fashioneds, and seasonal margaritas, but also a tightly focused cocktail list, which will be unique to the Second Ward location. “We are staying in our lane of American whiskeys and Mexican spirits, but we really wanted to deviate in a different way for some of the more reinvented takes on classic cocktails,” says Weber.
Like the Heights, the new Eight Row will serve up tacos built on tortillas made from the bar’s own nixtamalized corn masa, and Weber hints that masa will find its way into both the food and drinks. Guests can look forward to interesting bar snacks like shrimp tacos, an octopus taco topped with pork belly, campechana, ceviche, and inventive takes on empanadas. “We’re still a bar,” Weber promises. “Just because we have a bigger kitchen, I don’t want people to think, all of a sudden, we’re a restaurant.”
While the neighborhood isn’t unchartered territory for the hospitality group — they have been operating Miss Carousel, Vinny’s, and Indianola in EaDo for years — this is the first time they are expanding the footprint of a singular brand. In doing so, they are leaning on trusted team members to lead the expansion. Christina Ramey, who has been a part of Eight Row’s team from its inception eight years ago, will oversee both locations as the brand’s new concept manager; Christian Garza, a former assistant general manager at Eight Row in the Heights will step into the general manager role at the new location; and Marcelo Garcia, a decade-long Agricole team member will serve as executive chef of the brand, managing food operations at both locations.
For those Houstonians who are off on President’s Day and can’t wait to explore the new hangout, Eight Row will be open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, beginning Monday.