Best Neighborhoods for Nightlife
An inside look at the city's prime places to play
From laid-back lounges and quaint hideaways to hipster hangouts and see-and-be-seen clubs, H-Town has it all. Read on for our go-to guide to Houston's hottest 'hoods.
A glittering, fresh-faced crowd swarms this eclectic mix of laid- back lounges, honky-tonk bars and see-and-be-seen clubs. With scarce parking, shuttle service transports a well-heeled crowd from pre-game cocktails at Soma Sushi to the velvet ropes marking slick, dance-driven nightclubs like Ei8ht or Roosevelt. Classic spots like Canyon Creek and Max's Wine Dive remain popular, as do newcomers like the east end-set Liberty Station.
DOWNTOWN and MIDTOWN
Houston's central business district is booming, and the after-work energy spills into adjacent Midtown. Downtown, scenesters swivel on cowhide stools at Hotel Icon's Line & Lariat. Raise money for charity every time you buy a drink at the OKRA Charity Saloon. Nearby, La Carafe offers romance in its historic locale, while energetic crowds swarm GreenStreet for nights at Pete's Dueling Piano Bar, House of Blues and Lucky Strike Lanes. In Midtown, party people flock to Howl at the Moon for rock 'n' roll piano shows and wallet-friendly wines at 13 Celsius.
The scene along Westheimer Curve defines the edgy, gay-friendly Montrose neighborhood. Club kings and drag queens provide theater on the streets, while a smattering of hipsters flock to lounges, such as Anvil Bar & Refuge for signature sips made with fresh ingredients and homemade liquors. Want to lay low? Head for Poison Girl, where cheap drinks, pinball machines and amateur poetry readings draw the laid-back crowd or Boheme Cafe and Wine Bar, which offers a relaxed vibe and large rear patio. Pro Tip: Venture down Montrose Blvd. closer to The Museum district and discover Grand Prize Bar. *Prizes not included
RIVER OAKS and WEST UNIVERSITY
Laid-back bars and quaint hideaways nestle among the city's tony residential areas. West Ave, at the intersection of Kirby and Westheimer, is building a reputation as a place to see and be seen with hot spots like Cru Wine Bar. Rice Village - the walkable retail strip named for the university - fills nightly with a fresh-faced crowd along Morningside Drive, where a series of pubs (Little Woodrow's, The Volcano and The Ginger Man) offer nightly specials and a casual atmosphere.