There's plenty happening in Houston between midnight and morning. You just have to know where to look. Read on for our favorite late-night leads.
Flying Saucer: The 85 taps of beer may bring the crowds, but it's the grub keeping party people there until the wee hours. Dig into an eclectic mix of wallet-friendly offerings like bratwurst nachos, salmon pesto wraps and goat cheese salad. Kitchen stays open: Monday through Wednesday, until 1 a.m., Thursday through Saturday, until 2 a.m. and Sunday, until midnight.
Frank's Pizza: Located in downtown's historic district-within walking distance of several boutique hotels-Frank's is known for its New York-style pizza served late into the night. Meet the after-hours crowd on the weekends for a Late Nite Slice of house specialties like the Barbeque Chicken, Hawaiian or Chicken Fiesta pizza. Frank's dishes it up until 1 a.m. on Thursdays and 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday nights.
Hearsay: Situated in downtown's historic W.L. Foley Building, Hearsay Gastro Lounge opened in October 2009, serving upscale pub grub in grown-up style. Think: Warm-baked Goat Cheese Salad and Mahi-Mahi Tacos with fresh pico de gallo, spicy habanera sauce and southwestern mango slaw. Stop by the more than 100-year-old building, Sunday through Thursday, when the kitchen is open until midnight or on Friday and Saturday nights until 2 a.m.
House of Blues Foundation Room: Although the private club is typically off limits for non-members, visitors staying in a Houston hotel are in luck and can consider themselves members while they're in town. Just have the hotel's concierge call the Foundation Room to let them know you're coming and enjoy the royal treatment House of Blues-style. Set in downtown's GreenStreet, the 50-seat Foundation Room offers fine-dining dishes like center cut filet mignon, lump crabcakes and Ahi Tuna sashimi. The late-night menu is available until 2 a.m. and the House of Blues' main restaurant also keeps its kitchen open until 2 a.m. on big concert nights.
Last Concert Cafe: Don't be dismayed when you find the front door locked. Knock twice on the big red door to gain entry into this hidden gem that once served as a Warehouse District-based bordello. These days, the venue serves up a welcome mix of Tex-Mex fare and live music. Dine inside or snag a seat on the patio. Last Concert Cafe's kitchen keeps it coming until midnight Friday and Saturday night, while the bar and concerts keep rocking until 2 a.m.
Lucky Strike Lanes: Party people have been flocking to the Hollywood-born bowling lounge concept since it first opened in downtown's GreenStreet in 2009. Between games inside the retro-chic space, enjoy tasty creations offered on the well-stocked menu like coconut shrimp and Asian chicken skewers or crispy pizzas and the famous sausage burger. Lucky's keeps its kitchen open until midnight seven days a week.
Absinthe: Don't expect to find a sign marking this dimly-lit Montrose gem, but do keep an eye out for the big wooden doors and green lights beckoning patrons for potent libations and late-night bites. The menu is surprisingly gourmet, with snacks like smoked salmon carpaccio and homemade thin crust pizzas. Drinks are more bourgeois, including bottled beer and standard well drinks. Food is served until 2 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
BB's Cajun Cafe: New Orleans and Houston cuisine collide on BB's Tex-Cajun-inspired menu. Think: Over-stuffed po-boys, boudin balls and classic red beans and rice. Get it to go, have it delivered or dine-in at BB's 1,100-square-foot Montrose outpost. The personality-filled spot is open seven days a week, serving it up until midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 3 a.m., Thursday through Saturday.
Chapultepec Lupita: More than five-dozen varieties of tequila and 17 different margaritas draw party people to Montrose's 24-hour Tex-Mex mainstay, but it's the wallet-friendly fare keeping them there late into the night. Expect hearty, headache-diminishing dishes like quesadillas, enchilada plates and tamales, as well as bottomless chips and salsa. Chapultepec Lupita is open 24 hour a day, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when it closes at 2 a.m.
Hollywood Vietnamese & Chinese: Come for the people-watching, stay for the late-night Vietnamese grub. Montrose's offbeat Hollywood Vietnamese & Chinese packs the party crowd in, all hours of the night. Enjoy your spring rolls, soups and stir fry from the comfort of a booth, out on the patio or take it to go. Also, be sure to check out the solid assortment of crowd-pleasing pastries on display in the revolving cooler. Hollywood is open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 4 a.m., Friday and Saturday.
Katz's Deli & Bar: Late-night noshers purr over this all-hours Montrose eatery with a city-slick atmosphere. Crave blintzes at midnight or corned beef and cabbage at sunrise? Katz's is your place. Cops from next door rub shoulders with families, politicos and all walks of colorful Montrose life at this brick paved double-decker. Come hungry for one of more than 20 hefty, kosher-style sandwiches or daily specials like Yankee pot roast and meat loaf. Open 24 hours a day.
Little Bigs: On Friday and Saturday nights, Chef Bryan Caswell's casual burger joint is busy turning out much-buzzed-about sliders, hand-cut French fries and classic milkshakes to hungry Montrose patrons until 3 a.m. Get ready for hot buns (fresh from Little Bigs' oven every few hours) and juicy, hand-formed, all-beef pattys topped with caramelized onions on a fresh-baked yeast roll. LB's has chicken sliders, vegetarian black bean sliders and Carolina-style pulled pork varieties, too.
Theo's Restaurant: The Servos family takes a cozy, low-key approach to Mediterranean food from within an old, renovated house in Montrose. Dig into plates of octopus broiled in wine vinegar, a feta-dotted pizza or anything involving the sautéed spinach. In the mood for breakfast? Theo's delivers a mean line-up including Greek omelets, waffles and pork chops. Open 24-hours a day.
West Gray Cafe: Should you find yourself hungry in Montrose in the middle of the night, hit West Gray Cafe for wallet-friendly soul food served in a homestyle-diner atmosphere. Although the laid-back, 24-hour restaurant does boast an eclectic menu filled with everything from chicken and dumplings to gyros and spaghetti, fight the urge to order them. Regulars know that West Gray Cafe is all about the breakfast. Come hungry for tried and true staples (eggs, bacon, hash browns and chicken fried steak) served any time of the day.
Christian's Tailgate: It may offer a lively party scene, but Christian's is all business when it comes to burgers. In fact, Playboy even named the spot's famous burgers one of the Top 10 in America. Head there before midnight for fresh, ground-chuck patties (never frozen) loaded on six-inch buns, toasted crispy around the edges and topped with mustard, mayo, onions, pickles, tomatoes and shredded lettuce. The dimly lit dining area has several TVs (all tuned to the game), a jukebox and pool table. Expect live music after 8pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Crave Sushi: Set right in the middle of Houston's Little Saigon area, Crave Sushi brings the neighborhood a popular alternative to the area's pho soup parlors, banh mi sandwich shops and Vietnamese eateries. The menu is fairly traditional, the sushi fresh and delicious. Take advantage of reverse happy hour prices from midnight until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights or stop by after hours Friday and Saturday , when Crave keeps it coming until 4 a.m.
Gotham Pizza: Craving New York-style pizza in the middle of the night? You're in luck. Midtown's Gotham Pizza is the real deal, made by real New Yorkers. The locally-owned joint makes everything fresh-from-scratch daily and is cooked in gas-fired deck ovens, which give the crust it's perfectly-crispy texture. Stop by Friday and Saturday nights, when Gotham stays open until 3 a.m. and put the other menu items (calzones, pastas, sandwiches and desserts) to the test, too.
Russo's New York Pizzeria: First-generation Italian, Anthony Russo, shares his family's much-loved recipes at his Texas-based New York Pizzeria. The full service Italian restaurant offers up award-winning brick oven pizza, pasta di mari, fresh homemade gnocchi, risotto and other Italian fare. Since 1978, both dine in and delivery services are available. Stop in one of the more than 10 area locations on Friday and Saturday nights, when Russo's stays open until midnight.
Pink's Pizza: Satisfy your middle-of-the-night hunger with one of Pink's inventive hand-tossed pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. Décor at the laid-back spot is minimal-there are a few tables inside and outside for customers that aren't ordering to-go-but what Pink's doesn't offer in décor, it more than makes up for in delicious, thin-crust pizza. The made-from-scratch creations make use of fresh, premium ingredients like prosciutto, bacon, pepperoni, provolone, mozzarella, spinach and mushrooms. Try it Friday and Saturday, when Pink's stays open (and delivers) until 1 a.m.
Tacos a Go Go: Good food and good prices define this casual, yet funky Midtown restaurant. Located right off the MetroRail and next to the Continental Club, Tacos a Go-Go is the perfect place to stop for some of the most authentic Tex-Mex food in Houston. Think: Carne Guisada tacos, pork tamale plates and hearty burritos. The hotspot stays open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, making it one of the best late-night eating options in the neighborhood.
Max's Wine Dive: This upscale dive bar offers a standout wine list, late-night comfort food and a Texas-proud jukebox. Crowds of trendy diners vie for tables at dinnertime, sampling menu standouts like the Texas-style chili, kobe beef burger and king-size "haute dog." And it's not malt liquor, but champagne that diners sip with Southern fried chicken, shrimp and grits and knockout brownie and bread pudding desserts. Max's kitchen remains open until the hotspot's 2 a.m. closing time.
Andy's Home Cafe: Looking for somewhere to go after a concert at Fitzgerald's or a night out in the Heights? Andy's Home Cafe offers a solid blend of people watching and an extensive, Tex-Mex-leaning menu line-up. The family-owned, hole-in-the-wall-spot delivers filling fare like enchiladas, breakfast tacos and hamburgers. (Yes, hamburgers. Andy's is eclectic, to say the least.)
Down House: This coffee shop/restaurant in The Heights-featuring a wide selection of coffees and locally sourced ingredients-serves up small plates like calamari, Down Frites, flatbreads and gnocci until 2am daily. Try one of their house cocktails, inspired by the golden age of cocktails in Victorian England.
Onion Creek: Laid-back, come-as-you-are charm finds a home at the Heights' Onion Creek. Part restaurant, part bar and coffeehouse, Onion Creek has remained a popular hangout for locals and happy hour hopefuls to unwind since it first opened in November 2002. Find a spot on the patio and enjoy one of the delicious sandwiches (standouts include the Country Ass Rueben and O.C. Poyboy), as well as salads, hot dogs, Frito pie and pizzas on cibatta bread. Onion Creek's kitchen stays open Sunday through Thursday until midnight and Friday and Saturday, until 1:30 a.m.
Spanish Flowers: Established in 1979, the Spanish Flowers Mexican Restaurant serves authentic Mexican cuisine with traditional Tex-Mex favorites. A popular tradition at the Spanish Flowers Restaurant is a complimentary bowl of soup (caldito) with each entrée and a complimentary piece of fresh fruit at the end of the meal. Voted Best Late Night Mexican Restaurant, Spanish Flowers serves up a taste of Mexico 24-hours a day.
59 Diner: Grab a booth at the retro Elvis-inspired 59 Diner and dig into wallet-friendly soul food served 24 hours a day. Order hearty dishes from the well-stocked menu including one of the daily-changing Blue Plate Specials (before they run out!), diner favorites or a sandwich from 59's long list of offerings-all of which are made-from-scratch. The authentic soda fountain-one of the Diner's main attractions-features sundaes swimming in lush chocolate syrup and real root beer floats, making it a sweet way to end the night.
Cafe Japon: Upper Kirby's venerable Cafe Japon has managed to outlast the onslaught of trendy, new sushi joints joining Houston's restaurant ranks since it first opened in the early 90s. The affordable spot is popular with neighborhood patrons and college kids, hoping to satisfy cravings for fresh sushi and sashimi. Choose from the well-appointed sushi roll menu or from the dinner menu, the latter of which offers non-sushi eaters plenty of options to enjoy. Cafe Japon is open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
House of Pies: Part all-night diner and part pastry shop, House of Pies evokes the vinyl-and-Formica charm of a bygone era. Its lack of pretension proves appealing for everyone from delivery truck drivers and society matrons to curfew-busting high schoolers and off-duty cops. With sugar-free pastries, classic fruit favorites and sinfully rich offerings like the multi-layered Bayou Goo and chocolate cream--all freshly baked--there's a pie for every craving. The all-day short-order menu offers typical greasy-spoon fare, but the drink sizes are generous and the staff is the down-home friendly type you'd find in any Southern diner.
La Tapatia: Since 1989, the Torres family has been busy turning out home-style Tex-Mex Gourmet to the masses and today the business has grown with seven locations in the Greater Houston area. Head there for middle-of-the-night tortas, enchiladas and fajitas. Expect a wait after the bars close, as many faithful followers head to La Tapatia to wrap up a night on the town. The restaurant is open seven days a week: Sunday through Thursday, until 3 a.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, until 4 a.m.
Red Lion Pub: Owner Craig Mallinson makes it a point to give locals an authentic British experience with more than 20 English ales and imported beers on tap, as well as a serious menu filled with time-honored pub favorites from across the pond. Enjoy popular items like the Shepherds Pie, curry and Bangers & Mash from the comfort of a red-leather covered banquette or at a table near the brick fireplace in back. Red Lion serves food until 2 a.m. seven days a week.
Ruchi's: Don't expect your typical Houston Tex-Mex. This cheap Mexican food chain serves authentic Mexican food to the masses 24-hours a day. Brace yourself for things to heat up at Ruchi's right from the start, with the spicy, hard-to-resist salsa verde. Don't fill up on chips though, there's tortas, flautas and tacos al pastor to experience during your visit, too. Not in the neighborhood? The biz has either other locations in the Houston area, all of which are open around the clock.
The Stag's Head Pub: While the exterior might not feel authentically pub-like, the cozy interior is right on point and a perfect backdrop for plates of fish & chips, Shepherds pie or bangers and mash. Craving something more familiar? The rotisserie chicken, tortilla soup and fried zucchini are also menu standouts, best washed down with one of Stags' more than 40 beers on tap. The kitchen stays open until midnight Friday and Saturday nights.
Dot Coffee Shop: Step back in time at the Pappas' family's retro-minded Dot Coffee Shop. The 24-hour diner, which opened in 1976, is bright, clean and decorated in its original, old-school style with wood paneling, vinyl booths and TK lights hanging from the ceiling. The menu has withstood the test of time, too. Large, southern-style options fill the menu-buttermilk pancakes, grits, chicken fried steak with country gravy and an endless array of house-made desserts.
Tan Tan: Looking for authentic Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine? Head to Tan Tan in west Houston, where locals have been enjoying savory oriental specialties for more than 20 years. Try one of the more than 200 items donning the Tan Tan menu or stick with customer favorites like the house rice cake, one of the 87 noodle soups or a traditional hot pot course. The Chinatown location is open until midnight on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.
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Landmark River Oaks Theatre: This beloved theater in the art-deco River Oaks Shopping Center shows midnight movies every Friday and Saturday night, ranging from the Rocky Horror Picture Show with a live cast to classic films like Psycho and The Goonies. For people who are a little thirsty or would like a nightcap, there is a café/bar on the second floor.
Bowling at Lucky Strike Lanes: West Coast-born Lucky Strike Lanes brings its retro elements, modern décor and state-of-the-art technology to downtown's GreenStreet development. Set near House of Blues, Lucky Strike draws a fresh-faced, energetic crowd looking for fun nights on the lanes. Look for artwork from rising-star artists to be projected on floor-to-ceiling video screens and a stellar menu line-up boasting treats like coconut shrimp and Asian skewers. Lucky Strike is open Sunday through Thursday until midnight and Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m.
Bowling at BowlMor Lanes. In west Houston, bowling aficionados can put their skills to the test at BowlMor Lanes. The high-energy, luxury lanes-set along Bunker Hill, in Memorial-takes an upscale approach to the game with large, flat-screen TVs, a VIP cocktail lounge, premium stereo system and a well-heeled catering menu. Head there for a lively crowd on Friday and Saturday, but get there early because lanes fill up quickly. 300 Houston is open Sunday through Thursday until midnight and Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m.
Memorial Park: You would be hard-pressed to drive past Memorial Park at any given time and not find locals jogging the park's three-mile loop. Year round, the expanse-which has been dubbed the "largest urban park in Texas-attracts the athletic set for a number of activities like tennis, softball, biking, baseball and golf. Join other faithful followers between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. for a pre-dawn jaunt along the Memorial Park Loop.
Fishing: Located 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, Houston is a destination for avid fishermen. An estimated 3 million Texas fisherman spend more than 9 million days fishing each year on the 1.5 million acres of lakes and 80,000 miles of rivers, streams and bayous of Texas. Load up your fishing pole and hit the water early for a shot at long-time favorites like large-mouth bass, crappie, sunfish, white bass and various species of catfish.
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