If you’ve ever been to Houston, chances are — you’ve heard of Steve Rogers. And if not, you at least know someone who has. The entrepreneur and club impresario is known as one of the party purveyors of the city’s nightlife scene.
Looking back on his 20-year career, his rise has not been meteoritic, but rather a slow and methodical climb to the top, through which he’s amassed a Rolodex that runs impossibly deep. His career, which started in the hair industry, is a testament to the power of the pivot.
“I left Paul Mitchell back in 1995 to start my own business,” says Rogers. “I started doing hair shows. It was called Hair Battle. And we did that for about 10 years, and it was a pretty major event in the city. We did it once a year, every January MLK weekend, and from there just grew into throwing weekly events at nightclubs. From there, about 9 or 10 years, we did that and then I went and got my own place called Sugar Hill, which was my first bar/lounge in the Third Ward. That lasted three years, and then from there, we went to another concept called Prospect Park.”
He added, “And so that was my first entry into the whole food and restaurant space.”
And with a long list of accolades, one can only wonder what’s next for one of Houston’s biggest cultural curators? Well, according to Rogers, the possibilities are endless. But his next adventure? The real estate game. “The natural next progression for me is to be a developer,” he says. I went from sales, to being a promoter, to being an operator. And now that I’m a landlord and working on a whole business complex, it is to be a developer. So, currently right now, that’s what I’m doing with the Spanish Village complex. We have about six concepts that we’re currently working on that piece of property down there. So we’re really excited about that whole thing on Almita.”
And with real estate, Rogers is up for the challenge. The owner of Houston hot spot Bar 5015, located in the historic Third Ward/Museum District, has had his fair share of obstacles along the way that have primed him for this exact moment. Though it was difficult to predict just how long COVID-19 would last after crippling the hospitality industry in early 2020, Rogers’ Bar 5015 was later partially destroyed in an arson fire caused by a powerful explosion in June of 2020.
But if there’s anything Rogers has learned over the past couple of decades, it’s the power of resiliency. Who would have thought that a patio indoor/outdoor bar, featuring the best hits from the 90s, 2000s and today, would attract Houston’s best of the best?
Bar 5015 is one such venue. When the venue first reopened, with social distancing and safety measures in mind—the fabled club continued to draw in a number of high profile celebrities and clientele who keep it packed each week.
Rogers mission when he reopened the space was to provide a truly satisfying live music experience. “5015 has really been focusing on bringing a lot of our legends in hip hop and R&B to the space, with a series we created called Legends Only. We’ve had Big Daddy Kane, Juvenile, Ja Rule, Lil Kim and Rakim.”
Rogers, along with Chef Nana, have made Bar 5015 a dining destination, just as much as a social club, offering up a menu of items such as fried lobster & grits, cheeseburger eggrolls, lemon pepper wings and blackened fish & grits.
It doesn’t just end there with Rogers. He has been and continues to be committed to providing opportunities to the local community and city at large. “During the pandemic, we were able to get a few things kickoff,” he says. “We created a monthly bike ride once a month, which draws probably about 200+ bike riders.”
“We go out and see different parts of the city that people normally don’t see in their everyday routes. This idea was to get people out and really focus on health and wellness.”