Houston >Bars & Clubs > Downing Street Ltd
2549 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX | Directions 7701929.743318 -95.418787
Neighborhoods: Central, Afton Oaks/ River Oaks
I'm not good enough for DS ltd. – Ten years ago I spent the last moments I will ever have with my father at DS. We shared our last cigar and downed our last scotch together. Our last laugh...he died not long after. This was the last place I saw him without tubes, respirators, and doctors. Every year I go back in for a 21 year old Balvenie, a fine cigar and a toast to the old man...that is until yesterday. 2:30 PM on a Monday, and I was the ONLY customer there. The bartender new me right away, poured me my 21 yr old Balvenie, charged me for it and as I set to enjoy my scotch & toast the old man I hear...sorry, we have a dress code you will have to leave! (very nice T-shirt from my bar) not trashy looking at all. Charged me for the drink $30.00 then basically said I was not good enough to be in there. As I walked out I heard him say to the bartender..."see how that works, that's how you get rid of them” To all of you at DS...thanks for ripping at my heart...all I wanted to do was toast the old man...guess I’m just not good enough for your establishment anymore. What a lousy group of people you have become!
The only place like it in town – If you find yourself feeling as though you were born in the wrong decade, longing for the pompous speakeasy of Sinatra’s days where the clientele won’t actually make you lose hope in humanity and you can get lost in the sultry notes of a jazz singer from a smoky leather arm chair, then Downing Street is as close as your going to get. Sure, it’s not Harry’s or quite pre-killjoy NYC regulation bars, but hell, we live in Houston and this is our great bar.
The menu boasts an excellent scotch, bourbon and port selection, all reasonably priced. I can’t comment on the mixed drinks because they don’t tend to compliment cigars. I’ve found the bartenders to be knowledgeable and despite the occasional waitress clearly hired for her silhouette and hey, I can respect that at a place where the average patron is a 50 year old man with too much money in his pocket, most of them will be able provide a few quality recommendations.
In the center of the bar is a large, walk-in humidor that is always a delight to explore if only to get lost in the rich sent of mingling cigars. A sharp, pleasing fellow or two stand at a desk and are happy to help you chose a cigar, simply let you peruse the selections or discuss tobacco. Each time I have gone they have cut my cigar properly and given it a proper light, using the cedar strip and never a lighter (I’ve actually seen such atrocities at “cigar bars” before). They are just as amiable when you bring your own cigars and if the label on your cigar hints at something a bit, em, ‘special’ they say nothing more than what is alluded to with a subtle wink.
Downing St. is the type of bar you can go to alone, either to curl up with a book in an oversized armchair or simply people watch. It is just as perfect for a romantic night out cuddled in a dark booth listening to jazz or for evening drinks with a group of friends. The versatility of the place along with its uniqueness insures that it is always packed so you will be hard pressed to find seating on a weekend evening. That is all the more reason to meander about the humidor.
Negative reviews tend to list a few bizarre complaints about Downing St. that shouldn’t turn you off. Yes, if you are concerned that a smoking lounge would be “too smoky,” if you think $16 a glass for a scotch that retails for $120 a bottle is too much or if you are determined to label a place as “racist” because they wouldn’t let you inside wearing your “dress sneakers” then bear in mind, Downing Street is not for you. They do their best to attract a certain clientele and we, their faithful patrons, appreciate this. Regulars do not expect them to bend the rules and actually hope that they never will.
Downing Street’s snobbery is part of its allure. This is not the hyped pretension of the latest aspiring “in spot” but rather, the grandiloquence of yesteryear. Sometimes, that is just what we need to feel.
Downhill Racer – DS used to be a great place to hang out. Management changes every few months and consistently poor server staff make DS a disappointment. There cigars are properly humidified but outrageously overpriced.
Most disturbing is their overt and subtle racsism. Employees refer to "blacks" as Canadians. DS policy is designed to "keep the Canadians" away, from the music played to the dress code.
Ownership is cavalier and distant leaving day-to-day management to a couple of people you wouldn't let babysit your children.
Used to be great. Been going downhill for a long, long time.
WONDERFUL ATMOSPHERE – My husband and I went this past weekend for a nice casual drink after dinner (and for him to have a cigar). The waitress was very friendly. We will definitely be back.
Love this place – I love this place..... One of the very few place where you can still smoke. The food and drinks are both awesome, love the Ruben and Cheese and Meat platter. I love the atmosphere, blend of both young and middle aged professional people. If you love cigars you will love this place. All the staff is very friendly. You can just hang around and smoke a cigar or enjoy a drink. Comfy, cozy and upscale.
LOVE IT!! LOVE IT AND LOVE IT!!! – OK..I usually don't write comments OR stuff like that ; but PLEASE DO NOT LISENT TO THE BAD REVIEWS ON THIS SITE!!! I 'm from L.A. and I went to visit my boyfriend in Houston last week and after a great dinner at PAPPAS BROS(EXCELLENT steakhouse BY THE WAY) we went to this bar for drinks...the bartender and the waiter acknowledge my boyfriend who is a regular and they welcome me in a very friendly way....SO ,PEOPLE STOP SAYING THAT THE STAFF IS RUDE..because they are the most helpful and professional staff i've ever seen.As the matter of fact, I want to mention that when my boyfriend went to the washroom he left me by myself and there was a group of ''gentlemen" sitting across from us and they started to act obnoxious..needless to say.. we ask for the manager and he came right away and he move them to a different table so they could stop disturbing me!! TRUST ME!! NOmanager will ever care if a lady is being bother by some drunk guys and I LOVE the fact that they took action!!
In the other hand, the place is neat and elegant,LOVE the dim lights!!! I would highly recomend this for couples ...GUYS if you are tring to impress her..take her here!! The only bad thing about this bar : parking!! we parked in the parking structure which it didn't bother me AT ALL ,but , after maybe 8 lemon drops you definitely wonder how you are gonna make it to your car!!
SUMMARY: LOVE the staff - LOVE the crowd- LOVE the decor-LOVE the neatness AND THE DRINKS!!!!!!
Relaxed atmosphere, inside or outside is perfect for after work or a quiet happy hour, the patio is great as well as the inside lounge area which is also great for friendly business matters – Love this place! The service is just right, not too imposing yet always there when needed. Never too crowded but can hold lots of good company. It's not a loud noisy club/bar but yet a fun and relaxed business man/ mature young adult scene. Go there for a drink during your lunch hour or a fine cigar after work. A great place to meet somebody!
Nice feel, bad service and cigar knowlege is shaky – Fair humidor setup
I'm always impressed when an unauthorized dealer takes the time and money to stocks Davidoffs and other hard to find smokes like PAMS & Opus ex, but when I talk cigars and the person in the humidor tries to correct ME I know they aren't as knowledgeable and friendly as they should be.. This place is more about who are you?re there with rather than about enjoying the experience of smoking a good cigar.. I cant fault them for that as they are in a part of town that image is valued more than depth, but lets not pretend this place is something it's not..
I've had waitresses here that IMO were not up to par even at the fair price point they offer on drinks here, but you will find that everywhere.. So that?s a wash for me
My main grip is the young guys at Specs are on about the same level as the people that run the humidor at DS.. If you want me drop 2-3x retail on a cigar you better know how to talk and sell, here they just don?t..
I will go back to Downing Street, but I like to get there early and leave early before the "pretenders" get there..
FYI, parking is a chore, but try to get there early to park in back.
RUDE! What does it matter if the place has quality cigars, a good selection of fine scotch and good beer AND, from time to time, good jazz if some obnoxious, ill-informed, half-baked manager is RUDE? Without any provocation whatsoever - RUDE! I have witnessed this on too many occasions: RUDE to me, RUDE to my friends, RUDE to others. It isn't cheap there. If you don't want to be treated RUDELY by some low-life, poor excuse for a manager, DON'T GO! There are plenty of other places in Houston to spend your money.
Not for us – My husband and I went to Downing Street this past Friday, as we both wanted a cigar and he LOVES Scotch.
We didn't have any problems with any of the staff being rude to us, so I'm not sure what the other reviewers were talking about. The guy working in the humidor was very nice and helpful in picking cigars for us, as we don't smoke much, and we did enjoy them.
The only issues we had were how smokey it was-yes, I know it's a cigar bar-but I've been to cigar bars in other cities that has better ventilation- and when we left Downing Street, my eyes were burning. Plus, we didn't feel like it was the best bar for us-my husband is 30, I'm 28 and I just don't think we have enough pretensiousness to hang out here. The vibe was very" look how much money I have and how important I am with my cigar and my Botoxed wife". Ummm...no thanks.
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