They’re looking for a new location, but it can never be the same.
Marfreless, Houston’s infamous make-out lounge, is closing after 40 years. Guests can have their last cocktails and smooches in the bar without a sign on March 30.
Owner Michael Wells said Wednesday that rent increases at the River Oaks Shopping Center made it impossible to continue. He is looking for a new location, possibly in the spot at Kipling and Shepherd that was formerly The Vintage.
He also is considering Shepherd Plaza and the Heights area.
“It’s such a unique spot. It’s really hard to replicate or even come close,” Wells said of the two-story establishment at 2006 Peden behind the River Oaks Theater. It’s easy to miss except for the blue door.
Will the new bar have a sign? “Interesting question. I have not thought about that,” Wells said. “I guess it depends on where and when we open. I would like to keep it as pure as possible, with just a blue door.”
Through the years, a number of celebrities slid into the bar’s booths, including Evander Holyfield, Partick Ewing and Dave Attell. “All the comedians from the Laff Stop used to come by back in the day.” said Wells, 47.
Does the staff ever have to tell patrons they’re going too far? “Just about every day,” Wells said with a laugh.
Recently, Marfreless was included on a swingers website, so Wells has had to field inquiries from interested parties.
“It’s just a mellow speakeasy. We’re relax and chill. That’s all.”
See here for more about the bar’s history, and here for their official press release. You will, I’m sure, be unsurprised to hear that their landlord is Weingarten, who denies any responsibility, for what that’s worth. Here’s the Marfreless Facebook page if you feel the need to leave them a message. Stop by before March 30 and make them an offer on a piece of their furniture if you want to have a keepsake. Don’t wait too long, because this little bit of Houston’s history will unceremoniously vanish by the end of the week.