In April last year, Biz Buzz reported about the imminent opening of Barge 295 in the former site of the Turtle Club at the end of a pier on Clear Lake, 2613 E. NASA Parkway in Seabrook. After 33 years, the Turtle Club, known as Lance’s Turtle Club, closed on New Year’s Eve 2016. It was considered Texas’ oldest floating bar.
At the time, there weren’t a lot of details. And then in late August, Hurricane Harvey came along just five days after Barge 295 opened, which caused a brief closing.
So, here’s a much overdue update: Barge 295 owners are: Mike Robinson II, chef, entrepreneur and owner of Cardinal Companies International; Brad Emel, restaurateur and owner of Classic Café in Seabrook; and investor Michael Hessemer. The men acquired the property in February 2017 and commenced major renovations, Robinson said.
Crews completely updated both floors and added a commercial kitchen from which is served gastropub fare.
They also completely remodeled the bathrooms, which had been so “horrible” even men were afraid to go in. The new restrooms also comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, Robinson said.
The Barge 295 name has an interesting backstory. The hull of the barge is inscribed with BAR 295, which stands for Brown & Root Barge #295, Robinson said.
“It was an actual work barge for Brown & Root prior to having a bar built on top of it,” Robinson said. “It is the only floating bar and grill in Texas.”
While the new owners have made significant changes, they did keep some of the Turtle Club favorites, including signature drink the “Bushwhacker,” which is a frozen ice cream and banana rum drink. Barge 295 serves more than 50 bourbons, 20 Scotches, 25 tequilas and 30 vodkas.
Barge 295 also is the new home of the Texas Offshore Power Performance Squadron, a large power-boating community with old Turtle Club roots.
Barge 295 also employs several veterans, Robinson said.
Josh Taylor, who served in the 82nd Airborne Division, is general manager.