MAKING A SPLASH

Dive into Houston's highly anticipated pool bar, now open near downtown

A look at El Segundo's pool and cabanas. Courtesy of gin design group

The artlicle originally appeared on CultureMap.

When Houston's weather turns from regular "hot" to full on "blast furnace," finding a pool to cool off can be about the only way anyone can maintain their sanity. While they're easy to find in the suburbs, apartment dwellers in the city's urban core start contemplating extreme measures in the quest for relief — for example, booking an expensive spa treatment at the Marriott Marquis just to float the Texas-shaped lazy river.

A newly opened bar wants to change that. The El Segundo Swim Club is the pool bar that's ready to offer Houstonians a place to relax and cool off. Located in the Second Ward near the corner of Navigation and Lockwood, the property features a 1,300-square foot swimming pool as well as cabanas and lounge chairs — everything a person needs for a little fun in the sun. A high fence around the bar ensures that patrons aren't subject to prying eyes from passersby. 

Owner Matthew Healey originally built the pool as a place for him and his friends to hang out, but he saw the potential for others to enjoy it. To realize his vision, he turned to local designer Gin Braverman of gin design group, the acclaimed local design firm behind a number of bars and restaurants including Axelrad, Public Services Wine & Whisky, and Goode Company Kitchen & Cantina. Braverman's design takes its inspiration from the work of Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscape artist known for his innovative public spaces; the project seeks to channel a little of a Rio in the '70s vibe.

“We want to create something fun and unpretentious,” Healey said when he announced the project in February. “We’re creating a little oasis just off the beaten path. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I have been creating long distance walking tours in Houston since 2016. One thing, I learned quickly is that I better be curious and ready to learn….ALOT. It has been a wonderful ride. Here are a few things that you probably didn't know about Houston.

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Scandal of Rice University

Rice University is known as the Ivy League of Houston. But, I bet you didn't know that it almost did not exist. William Marsh Rice made his fortune in Houston. With a net worth of $3 million, he was the second richest man in Texas. He wanted to give back by opening a university here. This is where it gets interesting. His lawyer, Albert T. Patrick decided that he deserved the money more. He and Rice's valet, Charles F. Jones, murdered Rice using chloroform. Patrick wrote a series of forged checks to himself to acquire the fortune. They would have gotten away with it, but, one of the checks had Rice's name misspelled. Houston thanks the Rice's trusted friend and lawyer, James Baker for not letting sleeping dogs lie. Not only do we have an amazing university, but Houston Tourism Gym has some great tours starting at Rice University.

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Secret Bubble Button of Buffalo Bayou

Many people have heard of the secret bubble button of Buffalo Bayou. Few know where it actually is. You can find this urban legend on the Mosbacher Bridge before you get to the Wortham Center. What will happen if you push this button? A massive bubble display will appear in Buffalo Bayou beneath the bridge. How did it get there? This secret attraction was installed by artist Dean Ruck to help churn the bayou and keep it oxygenated. This helps to control foul odors in the bayou. Press here to see the Secret Bubble Button in action. Unfortunately, the button had to be disabled during Hurricane Harvey and has yet to be reactivated.

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Market Square Park was home to not ONE, but FOUR City Halls.

Four score and only a couple hundred years ago. Okay 1836. Market Square Park was actually home to city hall and an open market that sold goods that arrived from Allen's Landing, where the Allen Brothers founded Houston. You could buy meat, firearms, produce, and animals at the market. Due to storms and fires, city hall had to be rebuilt four times until finally it was moved to 901 Bagby St.

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Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine.

We have all had the light and tasty Kolsch by Karbach called Love Street. The real Love Street was a psychedelic club called Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine. None other than David Adickes (artist of Virtuoso and the I Love Houston Sign) was the owner. Love Street showed light shows in the Zonk Out room and featured a number of psychedelic bands from the 60's. Another cool fact is Love Street was one of the first places that ZZ Top performed.

When you are out and about, take time to stop and ask a few questions. This way you not only learn about the beautiful city that we call home, but you get to know some of the amazing people that make Houston feel like home!

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