It’s fitting that the building which started out as a welcome center for new residents of The Woodlands is now welcoming guests to come in and enjoy the most artistic cocktail bar in town.
The building has been the home of Glade Arts Foundation (The Glade) since 2018, which houses permanent and rotating art exhibits and is a thriving venue for weekly live entertainment. With the addition of the Mercury Lounge, the center has become a destination experience for Woodlanders looking for a relaxed yet sophisticated night out.
Here to meet friends for a drink after work? Take a seat at the sleek bar, at one of the high-tops, or on a comfy sofa. Looking for a place to decompress? Carry your drink to the patio and gaze at the serene lake with a gently spraying fountain and the trees filled with twinkling lights. Want to take in the new art exhibit? Meander through the galleries at your leisure, cocktail-in-hand. Here for the night’s live performance? Right this way, your table is waiting.
Some Houstonians observe that the one thing The Woodlands lacks is an intimate venue offering both fabulous cocktails and top-notch performances, a place to recharge in style. But they haven’t yet experienced the Mercury Lounge at The Glade, says the bar’s owner, Iain MacDonald. He calculates that about 85% of the people who visit are “first-timers.” “’Wow, we didn’t know this existed,’ they say. Once they come here, they’re hooked!”
The idea for adding a full-service bar came about through MacDonald’s friendship with Glade’s founder and cultural director, Dragos Tapu, which started several years ago when MacDonald bought a painting at The Glade.
After MacDonald retired from a career in the oilfield, he and Tapu explored the idea of opening a new bar somewhere in The Woodlands. It should be a space large enough for live performances and art exhibits, they decided. But the more they looked for the right location, the more apparent it became that the bar should be inside The Glade itself.
So in July 2021, the Mercury Lounge made its debut and is now open Tuesday through Saturday, from noon until, with happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. The wine list is curated by MacDonald and Tapu, with many interesting Old and New World selections, and the bar has become a hot spot for holding tasting events for wine, Scotch, Champagne, and more. (The makers of Mezcal Local selected the Mercury as the site of their launch party this month.)
“We are an art gallery, an event venue, and a bar,” says MacDonald. “Where else in The Woodlands can you listen to live jazz, attend a monthly murder mystery theater dinner performance, see a comedian, meet someone for a drink, conduct a business meeting, or enjoy appetizers and wine as you take in a collection of original art—all in the same space?”