Here’s a handful of outrageously fun and conspicuously captivating diversions for a red-hot Houston summer—VIP all the way!
1. June means Pride for Houston’s gay community—and for anyone who loves a parade! The city’s second largest parade, and one of the world’s only nighttime Pride parades, draws 400,000 spectators along Westheimer Road between Dunlavy Street and Montrose Boulevard, starting at 8:15PM on June 28. You can beat the heat and avoid the crowd crush with a $125 VIP pass. It entitles you to bleacher seats, an open bar and, that greatest luxury for any parade-goer, private air-conditioned bathrooms. The party continues at the official Pride afterparty at South Beach discotheque (810 Pacific St., 713.529.7623), with the Martini Lounge and brand-new patio cabanas.
2. Have a gourmet get-together in Galveston. Lance Fegen, the culinary director and co-owner of River Oak’s red-hot new restaurant Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette (4224 San Felipe St., 713.622.1010), can arrange a lavish luau at a private seaside home or on an isolated stretch of sand. He’ll send the setup and the staff. And his catering menu includes a long list of Hawaiian specialties you can choose from, like whole roasted pig; Haleiwa sweet shrimp with garlic and black sea salt; and Da Kine chicken with ginger, sesame and coconut milk—all of which can be prepared on the beach with a traditional sand oven and a wood-burning grill. Costs start at $220 per person, not including drinks.
3. The Hotel Sorella (in CityCentre, 713.973.1600) has a package that includes gaming at L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles, La. The weekend-long, $8,800 Sky’s the Limit package includes two nights in a suite, with a chef-prepared meal served in-room one night, and a helicopter ride to L’Auberge for some day gambling the next day. For an up charge, stay a few hours longer and then zip back to H-Town for VIP service at Sorella’s lounge—or stay over at L’Auberge and fly back the next morning.
4. Explore Houston’s world-class art scene with gallerist Sonja Roesch’s new guided art tour. Requiring just a day’s notice, the outing includes a pickup from any location by Roesch herself—in a limo. She and her daughter, Ariana, customize the stops on the tour to your interests; an excursion might entail trips to the Station Museum and the Menil Collection before ending up at Roesch’s Midtown gallery for a private after-hours Champagne reception. Turn the lights down and clink glasses amid works like Soledad Arias’ cool neon-lit installations, and Regine Schumann’s florescent Plexiglas pieces. From $100 per person, Gallery Sonja Roesch, 2309 Caroline St., 713.659.5424
5. A new lounge in Montrose makes the famously long wait for a table at Uchi a breeze—literally. The two-story Rosemont Social Club (910 Westheimer Rd., 832.530.4698), which bowed next door to the sushi star in the fall, boasts a rooftop terrace and cocktails like the summery frozen mai tai with almond syrup and Cointreau. With a $400 minimum tab, reserve one of the Moroccan cabanas with bottle service for the night, or head back down for Japanese fare at Uchi, where a premium private dining room can seat up to 26 and offers a tasting menu with hand-selected sake pairings.