THE ORIGINAL OKRA CHARITY SALOON
The bar is open daily 4pm-2am.
The concept is simple: For each drink purchased, guests receive one vote that they may cast that night for one of four charities selected by OKRA’s members. The charity with the most votes at the end of the month receives the next month's proceeds. Interested charities submit applications on the OKRA website.
When Houston was founded in 1836, the intersection at Congress and Main was the city’s primary intersection and shaped downtown Houston’s development. The bar, located at 924 Congress, initially opened as the Original Casino Saloon in 1882 and remained open until Prohibition. The building has also been home to a barber shop and a jazz club. The central, oval-shaped bar is accented by exposed brick walls with gas light fixtures. The original circle arch and barrel vault ceilings are still in tact today.
The approach to both the food and bar is simple. The bartenders are versed in cocktails, but because the focus is on the charitable mission, they aren’t pushed to innovate new drinks. Popular drinks include the Philly Fish House Punch and Blackstrap Daiquiri. The small wine selection is curated by Public Service Bar’ Justin Vann (one of Food & Wine’s 2013 Sommeliers of the Year) and Kevin Floyd of Hay Merchant manages the beer selection.
Paul Petronella from Paulie’s runs the kitchen at the OKRA Charity Saloon, which offers a selection of paninis, fried okra, waffle fries with house-made condiments and chocolate chip cookies and milk.