Get Cultured: 9 Places In Montrose For Artistic Adventures
All forms of art are at the heart of what Montrose was, is and always will be. That art could be on a screen, a stage, a canvas, or even in a bar. This district is one of the most culturally and artistically dense regions of the city, and here are just a few of the experiences to seek out when it’s time to expand your cultural palette (since you most likely already know about places to expand the other palate). All are down-to-earth, easily accessible and open to the public.
River Oaks Theatre / 2009 W. Gray St.
Summer blockbusters? Not here. There are plenty of screens in Houston dedicated to the latest action flicks and Hollywood heavy hitters, and this is yin to their yang. Known for screening independent and art house films, River Oaks Theatre is also an intimate venue with plenty of personality. In addition to their unique movie selections, they also host fun (and sometimes raucous) midnight screenings, special one-off events and sell tasty adult beverages in the concession stand.
Houston Center for Photography / 1441 W. Alabama St.
Over 300 workshops covering all levels of photography and skill: check. Intriguing, provocative and beautiful photography exhibits throughout the year: check. Community outreach: you guessed it (check). By now you’ve figured out that the Houston Center for Photography isn’t simply a center for photography, but a hub for education, outreach and exhibitions. It’s a one-stop shop for bettering your photography skills, experiencing insightful, artistic and enlightening exhibits and sharing it all with the world.
Rudyard’s / 2010 Waugh Dr.
Burgers and beer aren’t the only artful things you’ll find at this British-style pub. While the latter of those two do tend to help grease the wheels of enjoyment, it’s the live entertainment that provides some of the best performances to be found in the city. The bar hosts plenty of live music acts, improv shows, comedy nights, readings from works by University of Houston creative writing students and more. Bootown, and indie theater company, hosts many events here including their well-attended Grown-up Storytime series (which is exactly what it sounds like, only more fun than you can imagine without attending it in person).
Anderson Fair / 2007 Grant St.
There are fewer music venues in Houston with more history than Anderson Fair, which has been providing a stage for talented musicians since 1969. Legendary acts like Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams and more have stopped to perform here on their musical journey. It’s a haven for singer-songwriters as well as an appreciative, respectful audience that appreciates the value of an up-close musical experience with great sound and a true focus on the art form. Shows are scheduled Thursday through Saturday evenings.
Poison Girl / 1641B Westheimer Rd.
This beloved Montrose bar is the official host and location of the equally beloved Poison Pen series on the last Thursday of every month starting at 8:30 p.m. Though a pen conjures up the act of writing, this recurring event is more about the reading of things that have already been penned. Bringing their words to life, authors, writers, poets, playwrights and all those that create literature, read their works aloud to a captive audience.
Cezanne / 4100 Montrose Blvd.
Serious about jazz, Cezanne is a “listening room” only open for shows on Friday and Saturday nights. In the true spirit of improvisation, the cozy club is located about The Black Lab and seats are available on a first come, first serve basis. In other words, don’t even try to make a reservation. To make the upstairs jazz club a little more accessible, Cezanne does offer two shows every night they’re open. If you miss out on the 9 p.m. show, try coming back around 10:30 p.m. to get a seat for the second set.
Art League of Houston / 1953 Montrose Blvd.
One of the oldest operating non-profits in Houston, the Art League of Houston is one of the city’s biggest proponents of visual art. That beautiful and award-winning Funnel Tunnel in the esplanade on Montrose Boulevard in front of Inversion Coffee House? You can thank the Art League for that. In addition to sponsoring unique public art installations for all to enjoy, the League offers classes, summer camps, community outreach called Healing Art (free classes for adults living with chronic, debilitating illnesses) and exhibitions.
The Printing Museum / 1324 W. Clay St.
The invention of the printing press was one of the most significant turning points in the history of humankind. It’s a celebration of this invention and all that came with it at this 1979-founded museum. Follow the history of the printing industry with objects like Mesopotamian clay tablets, fragments of ancient papyrus, historical newspapers and all manner of vintage print-related objects. In addition to the permanent collection of artifacts are traveling, temporary exhibits from artists of the print medium.
Avant Garden / 411 Westheimer Rd.
Poetry open-mic night and poetry slams are a weekly occurrence at this Bohemian bar with a stunning patio. Along with an outlet for aspiring poets and spoken-word artists is a weekly singer-songwriter showcase (open mic) on Tuesdays starting at 8:30 p.m. Avant Garden has also hosted performance artists, group drawing events, comedy acts and live music. Check the schedule before planning a visit, however, the venue does close down for weddings frequently on the weekends.