There’s no mistaking where you are when you’re in Houston, Texas. There’s delicious Tex-Mex heavily influenced by the good people south of the border, fresh seafood from the nearby Gulf of Mexico, and a thriving drinking scene. When it comes to the gustatory delights of the fourth-largest city in the United States, there are no problems to page Houston command about.
Here are the best places to enjoy a night out in Houston, Texas:
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Poison Girl (Map)
Poison Girl is a laid back dive with pinball (pinball is back, if you haven’t already noticed), art, and an alternative crowd to what you’ll find in some of the trendier bars in Montrose.
Anvil Bar & Refuge (Map)
This is the place to be for quality cocktails. Anvil Bar has house-made bitters, original cocktails, and small plates of food for when the drunk munchies set in.
A wine bar next to the casual dinner spot Paulie’s that has a solid wine-by-the-glass menu, reasonable prices, and a knowledgeable staff.
La Grange (Map)
Coastal Mexican food for when you need to taste the best of what Texas coastal cuisine has to offer. There are also more than a dozen taps of craft beer, wine, and specialty tequila and mezcal.
West Alabama Ice House (Map)
Everything you could ask for: cold beer and good food in a dog-friendly outdoor location. The place has been open since 1928, so you know they’re doing something right.
The Hay Merchant (Map)
A go-to location for craft beer and high-end bar snacks (fried pig ears, anyone?). It’s a beer bar, so no liquor, and don’t even think about ordering a macro lager.
Underbelly is more than just belly — it’s all things pork. An on-site butcher shop ensures everything’s fresh while a wine bar keeps you fresh whether or not you know your way around Boston butts and front hocks.
Common Bond Café & Bakery (Map)
In between dinner and the start of your night out, hit up Common Bond for baked goods and coffee.
You know what to do here. Sometimes you just need a fast, greasy burger and fries, and Whataburger is a lovable Texas staple that delivers on both fronts.
Come for the specialty margaritas and authentic Mexican food, stay for more tequila and mezcal (straight or in margaritas).
El Real Tex-Mex Cafe (Map)
You’ll find classic Tex-Mex and the perfect margarita inside this former cinema. El Real does things the old-school way, fitting for the style of the 1930s theater.
Max’s Wine Dive (Map)
Pick up wine by the glass, enjoy a whole bottle, and order some upscale comfort food like fried chicken, fried oyster nachos, and truffle mac and cheese.
13 Celsius (Map)
A Midtown European wine bar that is more on the laid back side, designed for wine lovers and people looking for a more intimate time. Go ahead, get lost in the expansive wine list.
Axelrad Beer Garden (Map)
A community watering hole for 31 craft beers on tap, wine, and delivery food. The garden part of the beer garden is literal — there are plantings by an organic nursery throughout.
Home-style Vietnamese with a BYOB rule. The food is worth it on its own, but add to that your choice of beer or wine, and it’s a destination.
Bovine & Barley (Map)
Bovine & Barley is exactly what the name implies: a celebration of beef and beer. Check out the brisket tacos, beer can chicken, or meatloaf muffins, and pair it with one of the more than 42 beers.
The Pastry War (Map)
Tequila, mezcal, and beer in a long, shotgun house-style bar. It’s named after the 1838 Pastry War conflict behind Mexico and France, but you’ll be too lost in your mezcal to care much.
The Honeymoon Café & Bar (Map)
Cocktails and coffee are too often separated. Honeymoon takes things to the natural next step by bringing the two together under one roof, and few places do either cocktails or coffee better.
Soak up the atmosphere of the 1800s salon at the location with arguably the best patio downtown. Stick to tapas and wine and you won’t be disappointed.
Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar (Map)
Solid, dimly lit bar with a balcony that overlooks Main Street. The cocktail program will extend your stay, as well as the healthy list of spirits available.
Along Washington Avenue
A cocktail bar that rivals any fancy cocktail bar in any coastal metropolis. If you haven’t ever tried bourbon and oysters and hushpuppies all in one sitting, this is the place to do it.
Rebels Honky Tonk (Map)
You haven’t been to Texas if you don’t go to at least one boot scoot boogey honky tonk. Pro tip: Floor space and line dancing is best paired with a long neck beer.
Liberty Station (Map)
Texas is oil country, and Liberty Station takes that to heart. The former gas station has a huge patio, plus a food truck or two hanging around, and also plenty of beers on tap to keep you busy.
Where to go if roof decks, brunch, and happy hour are all things you enjoy.
Kirby Ice House (Map)
This ice house is enough to make you believe everything in Texas really is bigger. Local beer, wine, cocktails, and a backyard with some hovering food trucks.
Yep. These things are everywhere, and for good reason.
When you need something tasty, Mexican-inspired, and filling (say, after a long night out), TC’s is the place to be.
Goode Company Armadillo Palace (Map)
Old-school barbecue with a full bar, patio, live music, and enough Texas memorabilia to make you feel like a native.
Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe (Map)
You’d be hard pressed to find a more authentic Tex-Mex restaurant that serves consistently good food from breakfast to dinner.
Down House (Map)
Brunch it up with locally inspired food and drinks at Down House. The lines can get long, and the cool crowd can get overwhelming, but you’ll have a good time regardless.
Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room (Map)
Right in the middle of historic Greater Heights, Harold’s is the spot to be for locally inspired lunch or dinner and a fine cocktail program.
Rice Village and West University Place
Café Rabelais (Map)
Hit up Rabelais for the best mussels in the city. It’s French, so naturally there’s a good wine list. But it’s not just any wine list. There are more than 600 wines on the Café Rabelais list.
Helen Greek Food & Wine (Map)
Swing by Helen’s to taste some of the best wine Greece has to offer as well as tasty Mediterranean food at this James Beard-nominated restaurant.
Tiny’s No. 5 (Map)
To those in the know, Tiny’s can be described as a setting so beautiful it looks like it came straight from Meryl Streep’s kitchen in a Nora Ephron movie. Hit it up for brunch next to a flower nursery.
Himalaya Restaurant (Map)
Indian and Pakistani food (including vegetarian options) are delicious at Himalaya. It’s also BYOB, so it can be topped off with your favorite wine as well.
Karbach Brewing Company (Map)
Do you like German beer or American beer better? What about German-style beer in the heart of America? Venture out to Karbach Brewing Company and you won’t be disappointed.