Houston Downtown Bar
Dean’s Downtown’s latest makeover occurred in November 2013. Its current owners transformed the former dive bar and full-time live-music venue into a more traditional Houston downtown bar. It celebrates Houston’s history and the history of the downtown building that houses it, which is more than 100 years old. This change is just one of many to occur throughout the history of the space, which started out as Liam’s Department store and later became Dean’s Credit Clothing, to which the old neon sign outside can attest. Even ledger books from the ’40s that Dean used to keep track of his customers’ accounts is on display. Some of the bar’s new drinks, such as the Woolworth or Penny’s Nichol, recall other long-closed downtown Houston businesses.
Reclaimed wood more than a century old from the site that is now Saint Arnold’s Brewery was used to make the bar top, the original bricks from 1893 still stand behind the bar, and the opposite wall has been covered with cedar from an old Texas barn; black-and-white photos of downtown Houston dating as far back as 1928 adorn the walls and outside front patio area. Relics from Dean’s Credit Clothing are on display, like pairs of old shoes from the ’70s still in their original boxes, and what was Houston’s first electric elevator in Houston is now a tiny lounge. Live music, usually jazz or solo musicians with acoustic guitars, is still played on Sunday nights.
The Deans building was originally built in 1893; it was Kiam building and it was built as a department store. When it opened it was the most electrified building in the country and back then that meant DC power. Over the last 120 years it was two different department stores, clothing and shoe stores – It still houses the third oldest electric elevator in the country. In 1999 it was turned into bar called Dean’s credit clothing and lasted four or five years until it became Deans on Main. We took the space over in the summer and are calling it Dean’s Downtown.