East End Hardware store transforms into bar with boozy snowballs

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Tucked into Houston's east end is an old hardware store that has transformed into the city's newest neighborhood bar.

East End Hardware once housed hammers, screwdrivers and bolts, but owners Raymond Chan and Laura Jordan took the 1950s building and created a place they hope the community can embrace.

"More and more people are moving to the area as new townhouses are constructed, and we saw the need for a neighborhood bar. We hope that our space respects and resonates with the east end community," Jordan said.

Jordan said the building has a long history. Neighbors said prior to it being a hardware store, it was once horse stables, an auto shop and, according to the City of Houston, an ice cream shop.

"The space was huge and needed a lot of work, but it had a lot of land, character and potential," Jordan said.

PHOTOS: A peek inside East End Hardware Bar

The owners kept the same name of the hardware store for the bar, which has confused some folks. People will occasionally come by, expecting to buy tools.

"Typically, I let them walk around and look around a little bit, and they're like 'Wait. This is not a hardware store.' And I say, 'No. But I have hammers for you to buy if you need one,'" Chan said.

Jordan and Chan worked hard to renovate the space, while still keeping pieces from the old hardware store. They constructed several things on their own, and collected old items from stores around Houston and even from Jordan's mom's garage.

"The bar top we made from an old conveyor belt. Our wine rack is a nuts and bolts organizer from an old hardware store. Our antique front table was scooped from my mom's garage and the square tables were made from shiplap pulled from a trash pile of a home that was torn down in the Third Ward," Jordan said.

The eclectic collection also includes a gallery wall of art collected over the years from travels, flea markets, resale stores and student art sales.

"The whole project has been a labor of love," Jordan said.

While the vintage hardware decor gives the place a unique flair, it's their boozy snowballs that make it stand out from the rest of the bars in the Bayou City.

Jordan grew up in southeast Houston going to shaved ice stands. She said she had never seen a snow cone with alcohol, so they decided to try it out for the bar. Jordan and Chan didn't think it was possible with the liquor and density of ice.

"Two weeks before we opened, we decided to roll the dice and ordered the SnoWizard machine from New Orleans. If we were going to do it, we wanted it to be the real deal," Jordan said.

"We've been making a lot of snowballs lately," Chan said.

Flavors include Tiger's Blood, pina colada and strawberry pisco among many others.

So if you happen to be looking for a new wrench and are in the 3000 block of Leeland, stop by East End Hardware. You may not find exactly what you're looking for, but you'll most likely enjoy that screwdriver snowball.

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