Walters Downtown, a Music Venue as Real as it Gets
Walters Downtown, formerly Walters on Washington is a grimy, raw, genuine rock club located just north of Downtown, behind Catastrophic Theatre Co. and the UH-Downtown parking garage. In a world full of pre-manufactured bullshit, Walters brings an authentic rock vibe that cannot be planned out in some big world domination ploy but instead just comes naturally. Our experience in Walters Downtown helped us rediscover what it means to appreciate the music, let go of all the force-fed marketing we are bombarded with everyday and just be.
We went to Walters Downtown on a Tuesday night when the Indie Rock bands King Tuff, Ex Hex, and Young Animals played a set. We decided to drive to the venue and found parking next to a large loading dock about one hundred yards away from the venue (which you may or may not get towed from….we may have gotten lucky according to Walters’s website). We walked up the road to the large white concrete building with MW on the side and up the five steps to get in. As we opened the glass door to enter the venue we could feel the excitement from the crowd ready to get the show started. We walked about 10 steps into the building where we were greeted by a door guy sitting next to the main entrance, a tiny blue desk lamp at his side. Have your ID and money ready and don’t be the dweeb that has to go fishing for it while everyone stands in line just planning to knock the shit out of you if a mosh pit happens to start.
WALTERS DOWNTOWN LAYOUT
The bar is the first thing on the right when you enter the venue which automatically gives major points to Walters Downtown. Don’t be confused by the half kitchen in the back left corner of the bar, Walters does not serve food, so be sure to pick up something before the show. The bar is stocked with an assortment of beer as well as liquor which were both moderately priced for a concert venue. There were probably one hundred cases of Lonestar and Pabst Blue Ribbon lining the back wall of the bar. The liquor selection is thin, but they did have mid-level familiarities like Jack Daniels and Tito’s Vodka. At this point we thought the only logical thing to do was to light up and then black out…
When we woke up, we refueled with another beer and made our way through the crowd to check out where everything else was in the venue. We wound up in the center of the stage right in the front so we could get the best view in the house. Walters’s stage is located in the back center of the building and it spans about 20 ft. x 10 ft. The location of the stage in the center of the room gives everyone the ability to see the band from almost anywhere, which makes Walters a real draw for people that like to see the band up close. There are various rugs that lay on the stage and enough room on the back wall for bands to place a backdrop. Four large speakers hang above the stage directed down toward the crowd and a few stage lights shine toward the stage. The mixing board that controls all of the lights and speakers sits against the wall directly on the other side of the room.
There are no barricades or security guards at the front of the stage which really adds to the authenticity of it being a raw rock club. The stage set-up allows the audience to be able to stand in the front of the stage as well as on both sides.
As we settled into our area in the front of the stage the opening band began to play. We weren’t sure what to expect with the sound quality since all of the walls in the venue were concrete, but overall the sound was pretty stellar. It is difficult in many venues to hear the vocals clearly, but you could hear the vocals as well as all of the instruments extremely clear. Walters Downtown is a rock venue so expect the noise level to be loud. if that’s a deal breaker for you then you should go and watch Matlock.
In between the opening band and the next band we found our way over to the merchandise area, which sits on the left side of the stage. The merchandise area is comprised of a fold up table, a small light and a place on the back wall for the bands to hang their shirts, hats, etc. From this point we decided we better hit up the bathrooms before the next band started. The restrooms are located behind a roll up gate in the very back left of the room. The ladies restroom was a pleasant surprise with clean sinks, big mirrors and clean toilets. The guys restroom was a little more of what you would expect with graffiti on the walls, but was still clean. After our little restroom break we spent the rest of the night watching the rest of the bands play an amazing set each.
Walters Downtown defines exactly what a pure raw rock club should be about. It has no glitz or glamour and that is what makes it Walters. If you’re in a no-nonsense kind of mood and just want to rock out, this is a place to disappear into. The lights stay dim, the beer cold and the music takes over the shitty day or down mood. It also amps a good fuckin’ day, let’s not forget those high on life dudes. The bartenders were polite to polite people and assholes to assholes. You get what you pay for. We’ll be back to check out some different styles of rock that run through this place but overall, it is a place we’d recommend to any real rocker.
1120 Naylor St., Houston, TX. 77002
General Admission and Standing Room Only
Parallel park on Naylor St. and Vine St. or park in the metered lot under I-10 and Vine. Do not park anywhere else or you will be towed.
Yes, if you go around to the back of the building.