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Author Topic:   The Outpost Tavern, astronaut hangout
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-02-2009 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Outpost Tavern in Webster, Texas, a 30-year hangout for astronauts and their Johnson Space Center colleagues, is closing in January 2010:
The Outpost is Closing... And this time, it is for good.

Together, Gene Ross, my mother, Sharon, and myself, have kept the Outpost Tavern going for the last thirty years, it has stayed open. My Mom and Gene being the bulk of it, I was meant to be the "Closer" of this deal! Good or bad, whatever anyone thinks of how we did it, we kept it open for you!

However, like many good things in life, sometimes "we" are not in charge. In this case, the property that the OP sits on has been going through many changes ownership-wise, since Pete Wright died, and there has always been a certain air of uncertainty about what may happen in the future. Well, the future is here. I have been informed that the property has been sold to another party.

Rather than wait, wondering when or if someone would come in and say "get out by Friday," I would like to give everyone notice that in January, we close. Finished. The End.

This way, we can enjoy the place a while longer, and make plans on how to save what we can. I would rather have the Outpost close my way, instead of having someone shut us down one day without so much as a "fare-well."

All-in-all, you must admit that it has been an interesting and fun run for this little bar. I hope that in the next several weeks, as we wind down the Outpost Tavern, we can see old faces once again. I was about eleven-years old when the OP first opened as "The Outpost," and now I have two kids and just celebrated my something-ith-birthday. Some who have been coming in have been there for longer, since it was Fort Terry's. You know who you are!

This is not a time to get mad, but instead to remember all the fun that everyone has had here. Most everyone who has been around here for any length of time has known for years that eventually, this day would come. I hate it. You hate it. But, here we are.

In 2010, it will be thirty years (yes!) since Gene bought the place from Terry. So, to end the Outpost Tavern, we will have one hell of a blow-out thirtieth Anniversary party. Hope everyone can attend!

For those who have not had the chance to visit The Outpost, an Oct. 2000 photo tour of its memorabilia-lined walls can be found here.

James Brown
Member

Posts: 1213
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 12-02-2009 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We ate here during a visit to Houston several years ago. The food was wonderful, the employees, extremely friendly. Sorry to hear it's closing.

NavySpaceFan
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Posts: 630
From: Norfolk, VA
Registered: May 2007

posted 12-02-2009 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any word on the plan to save all the memorabilia? I hope the National Air and Space Museum or some other museum will take them on board.

albatron
Member

Posts: 2103
From: Stuart, Florida, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 12-02-2009 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was recently at JSC and other parts of Houston, and didn't stop by as for some reason I had assumed they had already closed. I wish I had at least driven by now.

Bad news, a true legend of a place. The bar scene in "Space Cowboys" was filmed there. In 2001 when my eldest son and I were stranded there we visited. As we were leaving I threw him out the door. He looked at me and asked what that was for?

I said here, do it to me. He gladly did of course, and I opined "now we can say we've been thrown out of the Outpost".

Henk Boshuijer
Member

Posts: 379
From: Netherlands
Registered: May 2007

posted 12-02-2009 03:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was looking forward to visiting the Tavern in the summer of 2010. Too bad it had to close its doors....

I hope the memorabilia is saved and displayed somewhere else.

sts205cdr
Member

Posts: 534
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 12-02-2009 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Last time I was in The Outpost I ran into Steve MacLean and a few flight controllers relaxing after a day in the trenches. I love that place. Sad news, indeed!

328KF
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Posts: 829
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 12-06-2009 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the website:
Just heard from Stephanie on the farewell party dates (yes, plural):

Jan 8, 9 and 10, 2010

More details will be announced within the next week (at least those of you who are traveling from afar can start making travel arrangements)

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-11-2009 10:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Outpost played host to a #JSCTweetUp tonight, affording an opportunity for a few photographs.

Noticeably missing is much of the memorabilia that once covered the walls, which has now been moved into storage to avoid it being stolen. According to one of the bartenders, the autographed photos and other items are being cycled on display as the owners decide what to do with everything.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-18-2010 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Outpost Tavern is now closed. From their website:
Unfortunately, the owners of the land parcel upon which the OutPost Tavern sits have accelerated the "closing date" by changing the door locks on January 14, 2010. This was completely unexpected and I am sorry for our friends who had planned parties throughout the month.
But is it closed forever? Further details from the Houston Chronicle's Beer, TX blog:
Attorney Richard Melamed, who represents the building's landlord, Walter Wright, said there was a disagreement over when the bar would close. He referred questions to Wright.

Wright said in response that he and his brothers own the business and its contents, as well as the building, and that they intend to move the building and reopen. He said he acted to close it before Foster's farewell plans were completed because he feared "thousands of dollars" worth of memorabilia had already been removed.

"We had no choice," he said. "We're in the process of getting the building repositioned."

He added, "We're trying to preserve the Outpost as hard as we can, from a historical perspective."

Wright said he is trying to have the building, a World War II-era Quonset hut (his description), moved to a location on the existing tract of land, perhaps 100 feet away. He said he hopes to continue to sell food and beer there but "upgrade" to make the place more family-oriented. He did not provide a specific time frame.

According to blogger Ronnie Crocker, there is a legal dispute between the building's landlord, Walter Wright, and proprietor Stephanie Foster over lapsed rent payments and title to the name, "The Outpost Tavern."
"If he thinks he is going to use the Outpost Tavern name," [Foster] said, "absolutely this is going to court."

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 01-22-2010 01:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I at least had a chance to have a beer there in July 2008 and got a chance to look at the walls. A lot of memories were there. I remember one picture was autographed by Kevin Chilton (back when he had black hair all those years ago) mentioning how NASA was going to one day put an "Outpost" on the moon.

Dang, if it was around longer I was thinking about donating a dust jacket cover from my first book there when it gets published, assuming the working title I am using sticks. But, it sounds like "Outposts on the Frontier" will not get to be enshrined at its namesake after all.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2010 04:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The former Outpost Tavern was engulfed by a fire and torn down Friday evening.

According to press reports from earlier this year, the building had been emptied by its former proprietor of much of the iconic space memorabilia that lined its walls.


Photo credit: Michael Grabois


Video credit: Michael Grabois

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2010 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Former astronaut hangout destroyed in fire

The former Outpost Tavern, which for over two decades served as a popular astronaut hangout in Webster, Texas, was destroyed by a fire Friday night.

The cause of the blaze, which was well underway when the Webster Police Department were called to the scene at 10:30 p.m., is under investigation.


Click on image to enlarge. Credit: collectSPACE

"There was no electricity running to the building," assistant fire chief Rick Vargas told collectSPACE. "It is certainly suspicious."

Vargas and his fellow firefighters were on site on Saturday morning dousing the still smoldering pile of debris with water and foam.


Click on image to enlarge. Credit: collectSPACE

Vargas said that none of the tavern's trademark astronaut and space memorabilia that once lined its walls had been found among the burnt remains.

"Just kegs and other bar-related stuff," said Vargas.

The Outpost closed in January after its property owner sold the land on which the bar and grill sat since 1965. Prior to that, the building was located at nearby Ellington Field, where it served as barracks for airmen.

Soon after it was closed, landlord Walter Wright had the building moved the short distance to a neighboring lot, with reported stated plans to convert it to a family restaurant.

Wright claimed that Outpost proprietor Stephanie Foster had removed "thousands of dollars" of space memorabilia prior to the building being shuttered, according to media reports from January.

Friday night's fire caused enough structural damage to the building that firefighters had to call in a backhoe to knock down its walls.


Click on image to enlarge. Credit: collectSPACE

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2010 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Click on images to enlarge. Credit: collectSPACE

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2010 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Click on images to enlarge. Credit: collectSPACE

KSCartist
Member

Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 10-16-2010 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Due to the disputes between parties involved - do they think it was arson?

A sad day in Houston to be sure.

OV-105
Member

Posts: 589
From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 10-16-2010 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1488
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 10-16-2010 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club revisited.

OV-105
Member

Posts: 589
From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 10-16-2010 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
Due to the disputes between parties involved - do they think it was arson?
With our OPs, I don't know HFDs, it would call for the arson unit to come out and investigate. A place with no utilities hooked up that and late at night like that, time to call the A-Unit in.

Greggy_D
Member

Posts: 629
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 10-17-2010 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
Due to the disputes between parties involved - do they think it was arson?
If it looks and sounds like a duck...
quote:
A sad day in Houston to be sure.
Agreed.... a very sad day upon losing walls you wish could talk.

pokey
Member

Posts: 345
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-18-2010 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I drive by that corner daily. The Outpost had been precariously perched on the I-beams and cinder blocks way too long. The building had settled such that the various add ons had become unlevel and I was wondering how much work it would have been to get it structurally sound after its move.

My first visit to the Outpost was for a post-Challenger Centaur's Been Cancelled beer bust back in 1986. One of my good friends (now deceased), Bill Fisher, said the Outpost was named after a place his sister had outside Kansas City. Bill's retirement party and post-funeral get together were at his beloved Outpost. I enjoyed bringing friends there for their first Outpost bar burger. Yuri Malenchenko met his current wife there during a Yuri's Night event.

Me and my husband were checking the garage sales at 8 AM Saturday when we drove by what was left of the Outpost while three fire trucks nursed the embers.

My favorite feature was the female saloon doors that I always made sure to not open by the bosoms. My most memorable photo on the wall was the STS-47 shuttle crew photo with Jemison air brushed out.

Rest in peace Outpost

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-18-2010 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stephanie Foster, former proprietor of the Outpost, posted Saturday on Facebook:
Thanks to everyone for your messages and texts today. It is sad knowing the building is gone forever physically. But the spirit of the OP will live long.

It was very painful for all of us to watch it sit there, rotting and breaking into pieces before our very eyes... I am just so thankful nothing we care about was hurt or destroyed in that fire. Just the building.

The OutPost Tavern, name and treasures, could pop up again someday.

Gilbert
Member

Posts: 935
From: Carrollton, GA USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 10-18-2010 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very sad indeed!

Dave Clow
Member

Posts: 213
From: South Pasadena, CA 91030
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 10-20-2010 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

hlbjr
Member

Posts: 321
From: Delray Beach Florida USA
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-20-2010 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by pokey:
My most memorable photo on the wall was the STS-47 shuttle crew photo with Jemison air brushed out.
Is there a backstory to this quote?

Fezman92
Member

Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 10-20-2010 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The OutPost Tavern, name and treasures, could pop up again someday.
That would be great if they could build a new one.

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