My Montrose: Nicolas Brines

By | July 11, 2012

Nick Brines My MontroseNick is the owner of Azur Salon and Azur West. He grew up on a dairy farm outside a small town in Wisconsin with a graduating high school class of 22 people. He moved to Texas to attend college at University of Houston – hoping for less snow and the Southern scenes made famous on the television classic Dallas.  This year, Nick served as Male Grand Marshall for the Pride Parade.  He is no newcomer to Montrose or the parade, having not missed one since his relocation in 1989.  He loves Montrose. It means so many things to him. We sat down at Empire Cafe to talk his faves.


Best Meal:  Tacos de picadillo and cinnamon coffee from La Guadalupana. What a breakfast!

Favorite Shopping: Guyz ‘n Style across from Buffalo Exchange and next to vinoteca poscol. I just got a great shirt there.

Favorite place to get away in the city: Glenwood Cemetery. It’s the only winding hills in Houston; a wonderful marriage of history and nature. I can get lost in there.

Favorite Event: Easy. Pride Parade. I haven’t missed one since 1989. I began as a volunteer in college – now the mayor knows who I am. I’ve been involved with the organization [Pride Houston] since 1994.  It’s been instrumental in me becoming who I am.

I remember the year we installed a 25′ disco ball over Westheimer and Montrose using a crane. It was the first time we did the parade at night – what a phenomenal site to see. Everyone came out and was staring at it. Then, at sunset, we hit it with a spotlight and it lit up. The whole neighborhood looked like a disco. The crowd fell silent for a moment before they erupted in cheers. I had chills.

Where do you always take visitors: Every time my parents come to town, they want Tex Mex, so I take them to La Mexicana. When my friends comes to visit, we always hit F Bar for cocktails.  I always take friends and family to U of H to walk the campus. It’s a beautiful campus.

What does Montrose mean to you: Oh wow. It’s everything. Coming from such a homogenous background, I first saw culture here. It opened my eyes to culture – both food and people. I saw Asians for the first time. And African Americans. And Hispanics. It shaped my political identities. I began questioning everything I had been taught in Wisconsin. On a personal level, I knew I was gay but I didn’t know how to say it – that word just didn’t exist in my vocabulary previously. I met people I consider my family. They supported me. Through volunteering at Pride Houston, I met people that helped me get a job – and later, they helped me start my own business.


We’re sitting down with Montrose residents and personalities to talk favorite meals, shopping, streets and must stops for visitors in Montrose and around Houston. Have a place to share? Leave us a message in the comments!

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District provided services such as safety patrols by off-duty HPD officers, graffiti abatement, trash pick-up, maintenance of esplanades, among other services outlined in the Districts’ Assessment Plan, that are supplemental to services provided by the City of Houston, had been reduced in Mid-November and ceased completely as of December 11. The District had to cease the services due to unpaid assessments from some of the commercial property owners within the District. Delinquent assessments for 2016 and prior years are being collected for services that were delivered in 2017. The current lawsuit status does not affect the collection of delinquent assessments due for 2016 and prior years for services rendered for calendar year 2017. Please direct questions regarding the cessation of services to Executive Director, Ben Brewer at We are committed to helping our neighborhood remain the safe, vibrant and attractive place to live and do business and would like to hear from you on how we can continue to work together in this effort.