While bars, restaurants, and other new businesses pop up all over the Spring Branch Management District, the owners of the new multi-faceted bar, The Decoy, saw one thing missing among the newcomers— real fun just for adults.

“We felt there was a need for a 21-and-up establishment and more of a high-energy vibe,” said Omid Rafiei, a managing partner in The Decoy, 1222 Witte Rd.

Conceptualized by several of the owners and operators of popular watering hole Wakefield Crowbar in the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area, The Decoy is anchored by regulation sand volleyball courts.

While volleyball is front and center, the bar is designed to cater to any type of social outing – whether it’s a night out with friends, happy hour with co-workers or a more formal corporate event.

Large-screen TVs are everywhere and, when you’re done with volleyball, you can play cornhole. When you’ve won at cornhole, try your hand at trivia. For those who like to belt out a tune, karaoke is coming soon.

Tired? Relax at a plethora of indoor and outdoor seating arrangements.

Thirsty? Head up to the bar or just scan a QR code at your table to order a drink and check out daily specials.

Hungry? There’s likely a pop-up food vendor on site or you can order from next-door neighbors Underbelly Burger and Wild Oats. You can also bring in your own food and/or order via a food-delivery app.

The Decoy opened in November, targeting neighborhood clientele as well as young professionals, volleyball players and corporate clients.

Rafiei and fellow managing partner Aly Valiani, along with owners Pedro Garcia and were drawn to the area by its neighborhood pride. Also, Valiani lives nearby.

“We love the history of the neighborhood and the pride the residents take in the community. People who come from Spring Branch love Spring Branch,” Rafiei said. “We are a Spring Branch bar.”

Sister bar Wakefield Crowbar is kid-friendly and has a playground on site, but The Decoy is strictly a playground for adults.

Well, most of the time anyway.

Rafiei said the owners have young families and are looking to start offering a family-friendly day one Sunday a month in June, July and August with special activities to give parents and kids a chance to enjoy the venue together.

But, he said, they don’t plan to deviate too much from their adult-only niche.

The bar offers volleyball league games Sunday through Thursday and tournaments every other Saturday through Houston Sports and Social Club. Alternatively, anyone can rent the courts online through their website. Balls are available for rent or purchase on site. Cornhole lanes can also be rented for private gatherings.

On a recent beautiful Saturday afternoon, every volleyball court was in use and groups were ordering drink towers containing 100 ounces of mimosa or beer.

On Friday and Saturday nights, The Decoy morphs into a nightclub — with bottle service, VIP booths and DJs— that Rafiei said has been more successful than he anticipated.

The bar also has been bidding for and securing numerous corporate events, he said.

Whether it’s for an after-work happy hour or an all-out, team-building event, Rafiei said, The Decoy can provide the space and even plan the event from start to finish.
Want a special cuisine for your party? The Decoy will find it and set it all up.
Customers who work with kids are always welcome,  so teachers and school employees get a 15 percent discount every day, all day and night. The same discount is available to military members and first-responders.

Rafiei said the bar has also been working with local schools, charities and clubs to coordinate fundraisers.

“We want to be a positive force in the neighborhood,” he said.

To mark their entrance into the Spring Branch District, the partners and owners are planning a weekend of festivities May 17-19, culminating with a family-friendly event.

Notably, Peter Mayer — lead guitarist in Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band — is slated to perform at the grand opening because of course, at The Decoy, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

The Decoy
1222 Witte Rd.
Open 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday-Sunday

— by Dorothy Puch Lillig