Proposed Midtown entertainment zone could come before Houston City Council in next few weeks

A proposed entertainment zone in Midtown could allow a handful of establishments to sell alcohol that previously could not due to their proximity to a church in the area. (Courtesy city of Houston)
A proposed entertainment zone in Midtown could allow a handful of establishments to sell alcohol that previously could not due to their proximity to a church in the area. (Courtesy city of Houston)

A proposed entertainment zone in Midtown could allow a handful of establishments to sell alcohol that previously could not due to their proximity to a church in the area. (Courtesy city of Houston)

A proposed entertainment zone in Midtown could allow a handful of establishments to sell alcohol that previously could not due to their proximity to a church in the area.

Details on the proposed zone were presented by the city of Houston at a Nov. 23 meeting of the Neartown Association.

All cities have to follow certain rules when it comes to certifying which locations can sell alcohol, and those rules are mostly tied to standards set by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said Kathryn Bruning, the city's deputy director of regulatory affairs.

In general, businesses that are within 300 feet of a church, public hospital or school are not allowed to sell alcohol as well as any business 1,000 feet from a school if a district official requests to extend the alcohol-free zone, Bruning said.

If approved, the zone would create a mixed-use land area where establishments within 300 feet of a church, school or public hospital would be allowed to sell alcohol.


The boundaries of the proposed zone run from I-45 southbound to Hwy. 59. Between I-45 and Holman Street, the boundaries encompass everything between Travis and Fannin streets. From Holman to Hwy. 59, the boundaries cover Main and Fannin streets.

Only a handful of businesses would be affected within the proposed zone, Bruning said. There are no schools of public hospitals in the district, and the only church is the Trinity Episcopal Church at Holman and Fannin streets.

Businesses within 300 feet of the church include the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston and several restaurants on the first floor of the nearby Lodgeur at Mid Main Lofts apartment complex.

"Other areas have fairly established businesses in them," Bruning said. "This may have an impact down the line but probably not a major one."

The city's alcohol ordinance was first amended in 2004 to allow for entertainment zones. As of 2021, the city has created one such zone to cover downtown Houston, Bruning said.

"This only ties to alcohol," she said. "It doesn’t tie to any other items that you would think of being in an entertainment zone."

Businesses within that 300-foot range would only be allowed to serve alcohol if they receive a food and beverage certificate from the TABC, Bruning said, which is meant to ensure businesses have a full restaurant.

The Trinity Lutheran Church has expressed support for the zone, as have the Midtown Super Neighborhood and the Midtown Management District, Bruning said at the Nov. 23 meeting. The South Main Baptist Church, located just outside the zone, has also expressed support, she said.

The proposed ordinance change will tentatively go before the Houston City Council at its Dec. 8 or Dec. 15 meeting, Bruning said.