In “My Top 5, we highlight enterprising Houstonians who are helping to create, shape and inform the robust culture of our rapidly emerging hot spot of a city. This week we hear from Sean Essex, who was recently named beverage director at the Bistro Menil, opening this fall in Montrose.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Sean Essex
- The Menil Collection – My first choice should be rather obvious, the Menil Collection. During the spring and fall I love to go on a Sunday afternoon and join friends with a smattering of food and a few choice bottles of wine to enjoy the people watching.
- My Houston Astros and Houston Texans – I love my Astros and Texans! Be it Jose Altuve’s American League leading batting average, Chris Carter being second best in home runs in the AL, JJ Watt being a second-to-none defensive end or unheralded left tackle Duane Brown—these players and teams are exciting to watch and part of what makes Houston come alive for me!
- Houston Performing Arts – Houston is one of five cities in the United States with all four performing arts. We are blessed with Stanton Welch’s direction at the Houston Ballet, bringing us performances such as La Bayadere and Marie. The wonderful musicals by TUTS at The Hobby Center and the internationally acclaimed acts and performers SPA brings to Jones Hall are never to be missed. We have a world-class opera and a wide array of incredible theater companies in the Theatre District, like the Alley Theatre. To watch the Houston Symphony under baton of new Musical Director, Andrés Orozco-Estrada is something I am greatly looking forward to!
- Urban Jungle Self Defense and Fitness – Jiu-Jitsu, Muay-Thai, Cardio Kick Boxing… To work out at Urban Jungle with Tony and Michelle is to give yourself up to great sculptors. What they do is transform you from the inside out. It’s the most physical and mental workout I’ve ever experienced. You leave completely exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. You find your center, your strength… leaving everything from your day on the mat.
- Houston’s Bars and Restaurants – The Houston bar and restaurant scene is so amazing that you can’t choose one. So I like the unpretentious atmosphere and clientele, aka “my family,” at the Vine Wine Room and the delicious soul food of Alfreda’s Cafeteria. For a casual dinner and a well-made cocktail, I go sit at the bar of The Federal Grill. Ben always greets from the bar with a smile and owners Matt and Jennifer Brice can be found daily working alongside their team. Also, grabbing a shot of whisky at Bitterman’s, horseshoes and beer at West Alabama Ice House, the live music at Mucky Duck and—the spot for a flawless meal—DaMarco.
About Sean Essex
Sean Essex is the beverage director at the highly anticipated new restaurant Bistro Menil, a freestanding bungalow nestled in the lush green surroundings of Menil Park at the Menil Collection. Essex will bring his more than 15 years of hospitality and food and beverage experience to Bistro Menil—Houston’s first tap wine bar—combining his love of food, wine and craft beer with Executive Chef Greg Martin to create an exceptional experience for the connoisseur to the casual diner.