07/08/2004 11:00 PM ET
Houston gears up for Main Event
Downtown gets ready for All-Star parties
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Beginning Friday, downtown Houston will host around-the-clock activities for fans who are planning to enjoy the festivities surrounding the 75th All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.
A bevy of baseball events -- the John Hancock All-Star Fanfest, Taco Bell All-Star Sunday, Gatorade Workout Day and Century 21 Home Run Derby -- are planned for the days leading up to the Game, but area restaurants and nightclubs are also ready for the All-Star spectators who will descend upon the city to enjoy baseball's biggest exhibition event.
Main Street is gearing up for the Main Event All-Star Party. The four-day downtown celebration will begin Friday, July 9 and run through Monday, July 12 in the heart of the city, along Main Street between Texas and Congress.
The Main Event All-Star Party will present local and regional acts. Entertainment will be anchored by one outdoor stage and showcased at participating area clubs.
The party runs Friday and Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to midnight and Sunday and Monday from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. There is no admission charge for the outdoor celebration.
Downtown establishments, especially those that border Minute Maid Park, are also preparing for the four-day bonanza. Several bars and restaurants are within a stone's throw of the stadium.
Two bars on Texas Avenue across the street from the ballpark -- The B.U.S. and Home Plate Bar and Grill -- are always packed on game days.
Also on Texas Avenue is Vic and Anthony's Steakhouse, a steakhouse and lounge frequented by Astros players and those from visiting teams. Two blocks down on Texas, at the corner of Caroline, is Irma's Southwest Grill, one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in the downtown area.
The Main Street drag also has its share of nightlife. Zula, located near Capitol inside the St. Germain building, is a stylish restaurant serving New American cuisine. Next door is The Flying Saucer, a spacious pub offering a large selection of beers from all over the world.
Moving down Main, a cluster of nightlife establishments spans west to east from Travis to Fannin and north and south from Congress to Texas. Boake Bar, Mercury Room and Suede Lounge are all located in the same general area, along with Solero, The Crazy Horse, Chipolte, State Bar and Lounge and the Grasshopper.
Live Sports Cafe, the site of the Astros' weekly offseason Hot Stove show, is located just a block down at Main, near Fannin. Slainte Irish Pub (509 Main) and Sambuca Jazz Cafe (909 Texas) offer live music.
If it's sushi you're craving, try Benihana (1318 Louisiana) or Sake Lounge (550 Texas). For late-night dining, stop by Bossa (610 Main) or the F2 Eatery (306 Main).
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.