Houston has a lot of professionals in bars constantly on the move, Or develop cocktail plans or embark on their own. Two of them – Patrick Abelus (working mostly in consulting) and Justin Ware (Johnny’s Golden Brick) – cracked on their own to open the night shift in the East End. While there is no specific date on the night shift, we are watching and waiting, ready to be among the first to enter the bar from this couple, a native of New Mexico and Houston who was born and raised and has progressed in hosting the city of Sulam.
We recently spoke with Abelus and Ware about the bartenders’ night shift and side bustle and their advice, Ventures are not too sweet.
Houston: How did you meet?
dishes: Through World Class, a cocktail competition held by Diageo Reserve. It is a global competition, starting with online submissions, regional competitions, national competitions and finally global competitions. Patrick and I met in the counties three or four years ago. We met at The Woodlands and did our first official pop up together.
Abelus: It was the first official thing we did together at The Woodlands.
dishes: I speak for myself when I say – even though I know Patrick shares the same feeling – that we did not get along too well when we first met.
Abelus: No we are not.
dishes: Very opposite personalities, and it certainly showed through our first conversations and through a series of events. But we would end up together in the same places and talk about more and more things. One day we were out drinking a few drinks together, got a little confused, and the idea was suggested to open a bar together. Here we are so many years after.
Houston: Tell us about your second venture, Not Too Sweet.
Abelus: Not Too Sweet is a company that Justin and I founded a year ago and something we worked on for two. We decided to do business from what we do.
dishes: It was actually out of necessity: we had no money to start paying for a lawyer’s fee for a night shift, and we knew we had to start something to build an income, and basically we had to put our money where our mouth was.
Abelus: We saw an opportunity in consulting and conducting private events. It has a market but no one did what we did. We saw an easy way to start building capital to pay for our project.
Houston: What are some of the things you were all involved in?
dishes: We worked with a group of restaurants in town to help build their cocktail program. We’ve done cocktail development for companies like Four Roses, Diageo, our friends here are local like Avonak – we’ve built cocktails to introduce them to people to sell their products.
Houston: How is the development of Night Shift progressing?
dishes: An advanced night shift with a few setbacks, as do most restaurants and bars in Houston. So we look at daylight saving time. We can only move as fast as the City of Houston allows us, but our goal is to open by the summer of this year.
That being said, in the meantime Night Shift will hold private events, and Patrick and I will be doing a series of pop-ups … and we’ll be able to sell alcoholic beverages since Night Shift currently has its alcohol license. Start selling alcohol through. We are applying for a catering license, and we will hold off-site events with our friends who run the Ronin Art House, which is Theodor Rex’s event space. … We plan to collaborate with local artists and make live art. We have chef friends who want to do pop-ups.
Abelus: Couples for dinner. One thing Justin and I are really passionate about is the community. … we plan to make a symbiotic relationship / partnership with Fincas Tres Robles. We want to do a pop up with them where we bring in a chef and use the ingredients they grow and put them in cocktails and food.
Houston: Anything else we need to know?
dishes: Rootlab is going to be our partner in Night Shift, and they are bringing the design aspect to the bar. They worked with local bars and restaurants around town, mostly with Bobby (Heigl) bars. They are a manufacturing and construction company that is very much rooted in the artistic side of manufacturing.
Abelus: Everyone went to Rice, had art trends, poetry, got into construction and started building things. They all met in collaboration for a building in Burning Man, and so Rootlab began.
dishes: We are really excited to work with them, and they bring a whole different level of design element to the space. Night Shift is going to be an environment where we allow people to use their personal creativity to help enhance the entire space.
Same with the chef, who we are actively looking for at the moment – we want the chef we hire to feel competent to make any style of food he is interested in, within certain limits.
Abelus: One of the things I really get excited about is the synergy and strength in the partnerships we have, since together, we are all creative people. We may be the driving force behind Night Shift, but we want you to be creative, and this is your platform to show what you have and we’ll be there to help you.
Johnny’s Golden Brick Hosts a farewell party to Ware all day on Sunday, Along with boiling of crabs.
This interview was conducted for clarity.