The Savoy Invites Community to Share Old Photos, Memories of the Historic Third Ward Bar to Celebrate Black History Month

The Savoy Invites Community to Share Old Photos, Memories of the Historic Third Ward Bar to Celebrate Black History Month

Meet me at The Savoy” is a phrase that has been around over the course of 80 years in Houston and still is used today, now with a hashtag, to bring people together at The Savoy, a legendary neighborhood bar deep in the heart of Houston’s Historic Third Ward.

The popular bar and restaurant, located at 4402 Emancipation Ave., was built as a neighborhood bar in 1940 and relaunched in 2021 by Black and Long Enterprises.  The owners are inviting the community to celebrate Black History Month with them by shining a spotlight on the role the historic gathering spot has played in people’s lives and in the community over the years.

The Savoy is asking Houstonians to reach out and share old photographs, memorabilia, and stories of the neighborhood staple via their website at  Photos and stories selected by The Savoy team will be featured at the bar and on social media throughout Black History Month and families of the entries selected will receive a Free Dinner!

The first photo to be featured at The Savoy for Black History Month came courtesy of Lena and Gerald (Gerry) Gilmore, taken at The Savoy in 1954.

At the time of the photo, Lena was a 21-year-old Texas Southern University student and Gerald was 22 years old and getting ready to attend basic training in the officer candidate school in Oklahoma, one of only two African Americans in the officer training program.  The other officer candidate, Roosevelt Kirby, is also pictured in the photo.

The photo was taken in August 1954, when Gerald took Lena to The Savoy while on a short visit on his way to the officer candidate school.   At the time, social clubs and fraternities would hold dances and events at The Savoy, where there would be a dance with a live band set after 12pm, coffee cups with Irish Cream on the table, and Savoy liquor under the table.  Lena said they frequently went to The Savoy for the dances and also because you could go to The Savoy and always get a “set-up”, a half-pint of liquor, a mixer, share cups, ice, and fresh cherries, long before mixed drinks arrived on the Houston bar scene.

Gerald finished basic training in January 1955 and came back to Houston get Lena in late January.  During his short stay in 1954 when this photo was taken, their daughter was conceived and they married in December of 1955.

From 1940 to 2023, the historic Savoy has only had three owners, the last of which is Black and Long Enterprises, who purchased it in 2019, did a full-scale renovation, and launched in the fall of 2021.  Over the last two years, The Savoy has quietly evolved from a trendy bar with a food truck to one of the best gathering spots in the Third Ward for hand-crafted signature cocktails, frozen specialties, Mega Drink Towers, and an amazing menu of elevated scratch-made dishes!

The renovated bar and restaurant brings a great new vibe to the historic building, with vintage motorcycle furniture décor and street-art walls, and a large, outdoor patio, a staple of the original neighborhood bar, with booth and high-top table seating for up to 250 people.  The new Savoy owners also plan to continue revitalizing and growing the iconic Emancipation Avenue Third Ward neighborhood by adding more restaurants and venues for the community to enjoy.

To share a piece of history for the Black History Month Celebration at The Savoy, please reach out and share old photographs and stories via their website at

The Savoy, located at 4402 Emancipation Ave., is open from 4pm-12am Monday-Wednesday, 4pm-2am Thursday and Friday, and 11am-2am Saturday and Sunday.   The historic bar and restaurant has daily Happy Hours, Weekend Brunch, and also offers catering and private events with a VIP Room for birthdays, parties, showers, and corporate gatherings.

For more information, please contact Sherrie Handrinos at