South Beach nightclub reopens after four-year hiatus

When LGBTQ+ nightclub reigns in Houston South Beach closed in 2018, it was supposed to stay closed for just two years for a much-needed renovation. When the pandemic hit, however, owner Charles Armstrong – affectionately referred to by many as “the mayor of Montrose” – decided to postpone the reopening of the club due to security concerns. This Friday, after a break of more than four years, the famous club finally reopens.

“The remodel was already 80% complete in the spring of 2020 when COVID hit,” Armstrong, who is also the steward of nearby JR’s Bar & Grill, the oldest continually operating LGBTQ+ bar in Houston, said in a statement. communicated. “We have remained closed waiting for the majority of the population to be vaccinated to protect against COVID. Two years ago, we were in uncharted territory and I had a moral problem filling a dance floor full of people in the midst of a health crisis.

Crisis aside, the new South Beach was worth the wait. When the club first opened in 2001, the section of Montrose it calls home was decidedly less posh than it is today. Its new design, which can be described as catering equipment meets miami vice, reflects the neighborhood’s changing demographics and is inspired by the proliferation of upscale accommodations that have sprung up in the area in recent years. While the old South Beach sported industrial interiors that were stiffer than its drinks (and from personal experience, we can attest that the drinks were indeed quite stiff), the new South Beach features a contemporary interior reminiscent of an upscale apartment – one that luckily still offers generous pours.

For the remodel, Armstrong tapped award-winning designer John Robinson of Houston-based Robinson & Associates, who previously worked with Armstrong on the look for the now-defunct LGBTQ+ lounge Meteor. For South Beach 2.0, Robinson deployed premium materials like mahogany, Carrara marble, black granite, and oak flooring to give the space a warm, residential feel. To make sure the heat won’t be mistaken for the quaint, Robinson has placed a new 450-pound, 8-foot quartz crystal chandelier in the center of the dance floor which, of course, spins in a 14-foot truss. feet directly above the dance floor – a piece de resistance so bright it would swing Liberace into the most major keys.

South Beach has also been upgraded with the latest in sound and lighting technology, which will help give the space a house party vibe. Also back are the disco’s famous ice jets, which, when triggered, spray clouds of cold, misty air onto the dance floor and in doing so, lower the temperature of the space by 20 degrees in an instant (while providing cover for a stolen kiss or two). .

“Technology may have changed the way people do things, but the human desire for life-affirming celebrations, with jets of ice spraying a thick cloud of air, remains the same,” Armstrong said rather cheekily. about new but aging South Beach technology. old mission. “People want to be together, and I’m going to give them just that with the ultimate house party.”

Jerry C. Greiner