Rooftop bar aims to be student hot spot
Calhoun’s Rooftop Bar and Grill officially opened to the public Aug. 27 and has begun normal business hours. It is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, with happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Owner Todd Weaver said the process took about 14 months to bring the bar and grill to life. They had a soft opening on Aug. 23 and were scheduled to officially open Aug. 25, but felt the staff wasn’t ready.
“It’s always going to be a journey when we first open up,” Weaver said. “We’re going to make mistakes, but we’re trying to limit those mistakes.”
Weaver and general manager Ben Locher were approached by the landlord more than a year ago. They visited the spot and saw the need for another option on campus.
“We wanted something to change UH a little bit,” Weaver said. “You go to other bars and restaurants around other colleges and there are lots of choices. UH didn’t really have a lot of choices, so we thought it be a perfect opportunity to make something happen.”
Thus, the inspiration to bring the spirit of Houston hot spots like Midtown and Washington Avenue was brought forth.
“You come to college once and you want to have a good time,” Weaver said. “That’s why we did that with the rooftop; it was a no-brainer to be able to see the whole campus and also have a city of Houston view.”
Drink specials include Reggae Monday; Texas Tuesday, where all Texas liquors will cost $3; Wednesday night will be Hump Day happy hour; Thursday will be College Night, where wells and domestic beer will cost $1.50 and will feature 104 KRBE disc jockey and fellow UH student Tony Styles on the turn tables; Free Beer Friday will begin at 4 p.m, and a featured local craft brewery will bring a keg to be served free of charge until the last drop is gone; Saturday will be College Game Day where margarita pitchers and beer pitchers will cost $5 all day; Sunday is Sunday Fun Day with mimosas, Bloody Marys and Bellini’s.
When the first customers of Calhoun’s heard about the specials, digital media sophomore David Dang said, “We’re going to live here.”
When Weaver heard about the reaction, he laughed.
“That’s exactly what we want,” Weaver said. “We want them to live here.”
As for the food, Locher said everything will be made in-house. Currently, though, there is a limited menu, and will only serve items that Locher said they “do really well.”
“I mean there’s like 10 different categories of food you can order from. It’s pretty good, especially for a start,” mechanical engineering junior James Bowman said. “[Being made in house] just makes it even better.”
Prices were chosen with student budgets in mind.
“We want to be a place where anybody can come and you can look at our menu and get anything at a reasonable price and hopefully we put out a good product,” Locher said. “So far, so good, so hopefully with a little fine-tuning, we’ll be alright.”
Business junior and Calhoun’s waitress Sima Kasyanenko said it was her first day of serving.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Kasyanenko said. “A little confusing, but I’m getting it. Right now it’s looking like it’s going to be the place to hang out. A lot of new things coming in, a lot of new night life stuff, so come on in and have fun.”
Weaver adds that their biggest advantage is the entertainment they will be able to provide. There is a stage on the patio, and besides booking DJs, they are also working on booking some Texas country singers.
“People have to go to Midtown or Washington or go outside of campus to have a good time, and we want to bring that night life, or a variety of different foods,” Weaver said. “There are a lot of restaurants here that are great, but they’re specialized in one thing, whether it’s one food item or another, and we have a variety that I think that the students are going to like and that everybody will enjoy.”
In addition to creating memories, Weaver said they will have Wi-Fi. There are charging wall plugs by the rails, and Weaver plans to add more by seats against the wall.
“Something where students can get away from class and come out, and watch TV, work on their work,” Weaver said. “So they can escape from the daily grind of 14-hour, 16-hour school work.”
They are also working on getting a bus for the people who need a safe ride home after a few drinks.
“We’re people first,” Locher said. “We don’t only want to take care of the students, but people around the area also.”
They also want to be a staple on campus, where memories will be formed.
“When you go to UH and you graduate and you come away with that, we want to say, ‘Hey, man. Remember when we used to go to Calhoun’s Rooftop and party?’ or ‘I proposed to my girlfriend there,’ ” Weaver said. “That’s what we want to be about, and when those kids go to school, they’ll know that there’s a bar on campus, too. That was their college life, and that’s one of the things they’ll always remember.”
For more photos of the event see our photo gallery.