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New North Houston Whiskey Festival Features Spirits, Tastings, and More

Attention local whiskey fans, a new festival in North Houston offers curated tastings, fine dining, and classes on all things malt.

HTX Whiskey Weekend is a three-day inaugural event taking place at City Place, the dynamic and versatile spring destination, which kicks off on April 29. Tickets for the festival are available online now.

Things kick off Friday, April 29 at 6 p.m. with a four course dinner in partnership with sustainability-focused food group The Butcher’s Ball. The ticketed event is limited to 100 guests and will feature three talented Houston Excellent chef contestants: current contestant Evelyn Garcia and former contestants Dawn Burrell and Sasha Grumman. The trio works in collaboration with Daniel Chang of the new restaurant City Place Sushi Rebel and the popular Uptown Sushi.

MKT Distillery will pair a sample whiskey or cocktail with each course; entertainment comes from Austin-based guitarist, singer and songwriter Sophia Johnson. The fun continues after dinner with DJ Redd spinning, rolling cigars and, of course, more whiskey samples. Tickets for this affair are $150.

The next day, Saturday April 30, begins with a pair of free fitness classes on The Plaza, starting with HIIT at 8:30 a.m. and followed by yoga/meditation at 10 a.m. The first 50 participants will receive a voucher for a free smoothie at the nearby Island Grill.

Following the fitness activities, City Place Marriott will host a series of free seminars including Collecting Whiskey 101 with Carl Norris at 10 a.m., The Business of Whiskey at 12:30 p.m. and A Perfect Pour: Whiskey Cocktail Class with famed mixologist Patrick Abalos of Not Too Sweet Ventures at 2 p.m. (Note: Cocktail class tickets have already been claimed.)

The next step is the signing of the weekend, A taste of the city, which takes place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. This event features separate paid whiskey and food tasting areas, a free main stage, and a beer, wine, and cash cocktail garden.

Over a dozen distillers will be in attendance, including MKT Distillery, Devil’s River Whiskey, Gentle Ben, Frontier Spirits, Hill Country Distillers, Still Austin, Old Humble Distilling Company and Rebecca Creek.

For the “taste” side of the festival, Urban Harvest, a food-focused nonprofit, will feature bites from award-winning pitmaster Ara Malekian of Harlem Road Texas BBQ in Richmond, and acclaimed chefs from the Greater Houston area. , including Austin Simmons from Tris, Drake Leonards from Eunice, Jason Kerr from Little Kitchen HTX, Bryan Caswell, and more.

Stage entertainment shows include Rapture at 3 p.m., Jake Bush at 4:30 p.m., Tony and Liz at 5:30 p.m., and a surprise headliner from 6-8 p.m.

Sampling tickets for A Taste of City Place are $45 per person for whiskey and $35 per person for food. A discounted combo package is $65 per person.

Sunday Funday comes May 1st with Waffles and Roulettes from 9 a.m. to noon. This outdoor brunch will feature a host of Art Cars, music from DJ Redd, family-friendly activities and whiskey-derived bites, syrups and condiments. Unlike other events, Waffles & Wheels is ticketless and free. (Brunch items will be available for individual purchase.)

Given the distance from downtown Houston and the bustling scene, attendees are encouraged to spend a night or the entire weekend at one of City Place’s three on-site hotels.

To sweeten the deal, the AAA Four Diamond Houston City Place Marriott is offering its TX Whiskey Weekend Package, which includes two free welcome drinks and parking for a special rate of $209 per night. The nearby Residence Inn Houston Springwoods Village offers the Snacks On Us package which offers nightly rates starting at $149 with a $10 snack credit. The Courtyard Houston Springwoods Village has standard rates starting at $104 a night.

HTX Whiskey Weekend runs April 29 through May 1 at City Place Plaza (1250 Lake Plaza Dr.) in the spring. Tickets and a full schedule are available online.