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Judges, newspaper reporters, college students and artists all rub elbows here at Warren's Inn on a nightly basis. The dim lighting and over-sized mirrors may inspire an initial chuckle, but everything about the place seems to grow on guests. Grab a table and enjoy the jukebox. You will hear everything played from Tijuana Brass to 10,000 Maniacs. The cocktails are masterful, especially the award-winning martinis, and the draft beer comes flecked with ice.
Housed in the oldest building in Houston, La Carafe caters to an eclectic mix of artistic and professional types. Musicians claim the jukebox has the best selection in all of Houston, and you will often see people dancing on the narrow floor beside it. This romantic spot is often the end to the perfect date. It is strictly a wine and beer bar, so you'll have to go elsewhere if you want other types of alcohol.
Woodrow's, and it's brothers: Little Woodrow's, are a collective social nightlife institution in Houston. Perhaps the best one of all has recently opened downtown near Minute Maid Park and Dynamo Stadium and near the Warehouse Live music venue. Stop in an hour before your concert starts and relax at the beautiful Texas bar; or grab a table in the beer garden. Watch several games on flat screens while lounging in the insanely comfortable sofas. Unlike other locations, this one makes cocktails to go along with their Woodrow's-standard dozens of beers on tap. This place has everything you need, so stop by after work. -Adam Rosen
For the perfect casual meeting place with friends, Little Woodrow's in Midtown takes the cake. Stocked with over 100 beers, a large open patio, a Golden T, and a jukebox, it's no wonder locals love this unpretentious, relaxed bar. From the quality beverages to the expansive patio, Little Woodrow's is just a darn good bar.
Many debate whether Leon's Lounge is the oldest bar in Houston or if those honors go to La Carafe downtown. Does it really matter other than to say is that this bar has that special something that makes it the perfect watering hole for every generation? Is it the crazy chandeliers? Or the excellent jukebox? Maybe they've just managed to hire some of the city's best bartenders. Somehow, since 1947, they have continued to hit that magic combination of warm ambiance, excellent pricing, and generous pours that get people in and keep them coming back.
Located in the Midtown, Khon's is the perfect after-work hangout. They serve beer, wine, and coffee in a laid-back atmosphere. It's a great spot to go for a quiet night with a few friends. They have plenty of surprising drinks in stock from all over the world. Take a load off and play darts while shooting the breeze with the friendly bartenders, or sit and enjoy an eye-opening coffee while finishing up some work.
Like the Austin original, Houston's Continental Club sports the green and pink neon sign out front, the steel sign with the 1950s script lettering behind the stage and the "Mercury Man" hanging over the door frame. The club features home grown talent with roots, jazz and rock artists booked regularly. The main room has a capacity of 200 and is decorated with murals by Jacque de Lamar which depict scenes of Venice, Rome and Paris. Affixed behind the bar are pictures from the club's early years, when the Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller orchestras played there. The back room holds a 22-foot shuffleboard, along with pool tables and a second bar.
This eclectic drink stop is a throwback to very old times, from the antique furniture and delicate drinking vessels to the meticulous mixing of their old-fashioned spirits. This intimate bar is always crowded at night. Standing bar-side is best to view the true mix masters in motion. For those not keen on bitters, vermouth, gin and the possible egg white, Anvil offers a dizzying assortment of bottled and tap beers. They also feature high quality bar fare to stave off any hunger. Patrons can enjoy meat and cheese plates, soft pretzels and small pita sandwiches.
Seldom does such an intrinsically cool place don the matching atmosphere to go with it. Among the ever-lively Washington Ave's super trendy bars, pubs, and clubs, Pearl Bar takes the cake. Pearl has 2 different areas working in beautiful nightlife harmony with one another. The inside is a buzzing modern sanctuary of beautiful young people and crowded mingling, while the outside is just a stupendous backyard party. The bartenders are seasoned veterans of mixology and they handle the overflowing weekend crowd well. Stop in for less crowded happy hour with great drink specials. -Adam Rosen
Whether you want to play pinball, listen to local writers reading their work, people watch, or drink some smooth whiskey, Poison Girl provides. This narrow, one-room bar can get packed with folks from all walks of life: actors, artists, doctors, lawyers, and everything in between. Out on the leafy, welcoming back patio, the picnic tables fill up fast on temperate nights. Happy hours every day are made even happier by the generous pours.
When you think of a typical, road side ice house and you don't picture the West Alabama Ice House, then stopping by is an imperative so you can see what an real ice house is. Located just East of Shepherd, this open air bar provides simplicity in its offerings, and that is what makes the joint so successful. If you want beer, if you want to visit, if you want to sit on a picnic table and watch commuters struggle by wistfully looking in, maybe some live music and a hot-dog, then this is definitely the place. -Richard Hannah
Central Texas is a relaxing place. If you don't have the time to make a road trip, treat yourself to Canyon Creek Cafe. With such a laid back atmosphere and friendly folks, you're liable to go for lunch and stay through happy hour. Enjoy good ole American classics and Texas faves, like insanely good burgers and fat sandwiches. The choices seem endless and the taste is heavenly. Feel like something lighter? The salads rock and roll, like the Gonzo Garbonzo with plump chickpeas, avocado, crisp sprouts, and tangy feta. Choose from over 30 beers to wash it down while watching a ballgame and chatting with friends. They're open early for breakfast on the weekends too. -Adam Rosen