Hollywood-inspired cocktail bar opening in the Heights backed by real estate, bar industry veterans

Jul 05, 2024

A Hollywood-inspired cocktail bar opening later this month west of the Heights aims to bring a more elevated lounge experience to an area filled with outdoor patio bars.

Plume, the debut offering from Golden Ratio Hospitality, a new firm backed by longtime bar and real estate industry veterans, is coming to the same complex as Braun Enterprises’ Urban Office West Heights, a 20,000-square-foot coworking office that opened earlier this year in a converted print shop at 1100 W. 23rd.

Dan Braun, co-owner of Golden Ratio and president of Braun Enterprises, and James Fitch, a partner at Braun Enterprises, joined forces with Ted Baker — who is behind popular bars such as Bobcat Teddy’s Icehouse, Penny Whistle Pub and the former Revelry on Richmond — to develop Plume.

The concept, which draws design inspiration from bars in Hollywood and Las Vegas, is arriving in a mostly residential neighborhood that is within blocks of several restaurants and bars. Braun wanted more food and beverage options even closer for tenants at the flexible office project, which is 70% leased.

“Our building is already walkable to some of the best nightlife in Houston, but having what we think is going to be one of the coolest bars in Houston is going to make the office building more (attractive) for leasing,” Braun said. “It becomes a place for our tenants to meet and work.”

Unlike the casual outdoor patio bars nearby, Plume aims to offer a more mature, elevated experience with a sophisticated cocktail menu and tapas-style food developed in partnership with a chef from Mexico City.

“We don’t want to belittle anything that anybody else is doing. But this isn’t going to be a patio bar with 50 televisions. I think everybody in this neighborhood is looking for something a little more upscale, that’s not a club,” said Baker, a Golden Ratio co-owner.

The Golden Ratio partners worked with designer Brad Collier to create a modern art deco interior with touches of gold and feather motifs, bold geometric shapes and lavish details like gold palm trees and faux alligator skin on accent walls.

“Every inch of this place is going to be an Instagram moment,” Baker said.

Plume is the result of a partnership dating back roughly a decade, when the Braun Enterprises first helped Baker find a space for Revelry, a Montrose sports bar until it closed in 2022. Over the years, Braun Enterprises has invested in and leased space to a handful of Baker’s projects across Houston.

Now, Golden Ratio Hospitality allows Baker, Braun and Fitch to formalize their partnership and create a launchpad for future projects. Spring Branch, Montrose and River Oaks could be home to Golden Ratio bars or restaurants, although there are no firm plans yet, Fitch said.

“We (Braun Enterprises) have a ton of restaurant and bar relationships. We’re always building or coming across these types of space. We enjoy the industry and so he said, ‘Look, let’s create a real group. Let’s partner in a more formal way and let’s start with one true partnership concept in West Heights,’” Fitch said.

The launch of Golden Ratio is in some ways a natural extension of Braun Enterprises' efforts to bring trendy food and restaurant tenants to its various redevelopment projects across Houston.

With more than 70 projects and almost 2 million square feet of commercial space in its portfolio, Braun Enterprises, formed by Braun’s father Gabriel Braun in 1989, has established a knack for transforming vintage inner-city commercial buildings into contemporary retail and office spaces. That includes developing coworking outposts under its Urban Office brand, which has 11 Houston locations. Every Urban Office location has amenities and restaurants within walking distance, such Conservatory Galleria and Burgerchan next to its West Alabama coworking space.

“Having the right co-tenancy is really important,” Braun said. “The restaurants are an amenity.”

This article was originally published in Houston Chronicle on July 4, 2024