As the old adage says, everything is bigger in Texas. And that’s certainly true of the bar scene in the state’s largest city: Houston. It boasts an exceptional number of establishments specializing in tequila and is home to one of the most celebrated cocktail joints in the whole country, Anvil Bar & Refuge.
Here’s my spirited tour of Houston, which covers watering holes of all kinds. Cheers!
ANVIL BAR & REVUGE, 1424 WESTHEIMER RD., 713 -523-1622:
Anvil kick-started craft-cocktail culture in Houston. This James Beard Award semifinalist, led by the enigmatic Bobby Heugel and the talented Alba Huerta, is the poster child of what a bar should be, providing great music, a fun atmosphere, and fantastic elixirs that combine vintage recipes with modern experimentation.
What to Drink: The Brave (mezcal, sotol, amaro, Curaçao, Angostura Bitters)
BIG STAR BAR, 1005 WEST 19TH ST., 281-501-9560:
Looking for the divey bartender hangout? Head to Big Star for Lone Star Beers and shots of whiskey. Its cracked kitchen tiles, bad living room furniture, and terrible lighting are expected, but there is also a giant garden out back packed with tables where you can get lost in time.
What to Drink: Six-pack of Lone Star Beer (yes, they sell them six at a time) and a Jameson shot
BRASSERIE 19, 1962 WEST GRAY ST., 713-524-1919:
Forget paper menus or chalkboards; the drinks list here is on an iPad. Not only are there images of each tipple, but also with a touch of a button, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge. You can even place your order through the tablet. Head bartender Joseph Stark has compiled a really fine selection of mostly staples, which complements the array of traditional bistro dishes.
What to Drink: Part & Parcel (Aylesbury Duck Vodka, St-Germain, grapefruit juice, hopped grapefruit bitters)
DOWN HOUSE, 1801 YALE ST., 713-864-3696:
With a barn-like feel, Down House features delicious comfort food, a familiar cast of craft beers, and a fun list of classic cocktails, from an Aperol Spritz and a Pimm’s Cup to a Sazerac and Negroni. There’s also a small number of original concoctions that include experiments with house-made tinctures, syrups, and foams.
What to Drink: Mambo Sun (white rum, lime, sugar, pineapple, coconut-lime egg foam)
DOWNING STREET PUB, 2549 KIRBY DRIVE, 713-523-2291:
If you want a single malt and a cigar, this is your hangout. It stocks more than 200 whiskies from around the world, and the giant humidor in the middle of the room would make even Arnold Schwarzenegger swoon. Photos of Winston Churchill and his friends grace the walls, which explains why it’s named after the address of Britain’s prime minister. It is, of course, a very manly place, with groups of guys puffing away on giant stogies and sipping expensive drams.
What to Drink: A flight of whiskies
THE EIGHTEENTH COCKTAIL BAR, 2511 BISSONNET ST., 713-533-9800:
A photo of Al Capone greets you as you walk into this rather obvious speakeasy. And to put you in an old-timey mood, black-and-white movies of Charlie Chaplin are screened and some of Prohibition’s best-known pictures grace the walls, while a jazz musician tinkers away at a piano. The cocktails, however, aren’t trapped in that era, with plenty of trendy ingredients and techniques. The bartenders are passionate about their drinks but are laid-back enough to make this an enjoyable spot.
What to Drink: Blind Pig (Avión Reposado Tequila, Fruitlab Jasmine Liqueur, Bar Keep Baked Apple Bitters)
EL GRAN MALO, 2307 ELLA BLVD., 832-767-3405:
I instantly loved the décor of this tequila watering hole, which captures both the kitsch and cool of Mexico with its murals and rose-covered shrines to tequila. Try one of the outrageous infusions made with the agave-based spirit, like one flavored with black pepper and cayenne, or a tasty margarita. There are also tacos from chef Greg Lowry, which provide the perfect nourishment to match the atmosphere.
What to Drink: Blueberry Jalapeño Cilantro Margarita (silver tequila, blueberries, cilantro, jalapeño, lemon juice, lime juice, agave nectar)
HAVEN, 2502 ALGERIAN WAY, 713-581-6101:
Haven is a restaurant run by award-winning chef Randy Evans that serves "modern Texas cuisine" and showcases a very international and interesting list of fine wines. The range of cocktails draws inspiration from the food and makes use of gourmet house-made ingredients. Each drink comes along with a description or a little factoid to help guide you, such as "refreshing, light and bubbly" or "Meyer lemons are big and beautiful in Texas this year."
What to Drink: The Airmail (rum, lime, honey, sparkling wine)
LA CARAFE, 813 CONGRESS ST., 713-229-9399:
If you want a slice of history, then La Carafe is where you should go. Inside this building constructed in 1847 is a small, dark, candle-lit saloon (the oldest in town) that only serves beer and wine. The pictures on the walls celebrate its past, and the most modern thing in the room is a jukebox. You’ll be quickly transported away to another world.
What to Drink: Beer or wine
MONGOOSE VERSUS COBRA, 1011 MCGOWEN ST., 713-650-6872:
This establishment (pictured above) has a very cool name and one of the most interesting beer lists I have ever seen, with 41 brews from around the world (plus Fernet-Branca) on tap. It also stocks cask-conditioned ales and large-format bottles as well as a nice selection of spirits and cocktails. The talent running this joint clearly likes good booze of every style.
What to Drink: Red-Headed Stranger (double IPA, Campari, gin)
THE PASS & PROVISIONS, 807 TAFT ST., 713-628-902
Only a few weeks old, The Pass & Provisions is the latest hot spot in Houston. Located in a beautiful brick building, it’s both a restaurant and a bar. Its cocktail menu is broken into two sections: "house offerings" and "tried & true," with all the elixirs made from absurdly fine ingredients. Before you leave, take note of the awesome beer taps made from a meat cleaver and a spoon.
What to Drink: Mance Lipscomb (gin, madeira, apple cider, lemon, vanilla)
This story was originally published at One for the Road: Houston. For more stories like this, subscribe to Liquor.com for the best in cocktails and spirits.
7 Best Bars in Houston for any Whiskey Aficionado
A picture of Reserve 101's whiskey collection .
Any Texan tippler knows that some of the best bars in Houston provide a great respite from the stressors and worries of the day while enjoying an exceptional whiskey drink.
Whether you are out on a whiskey adventure or just a nice quiet night out alone, these bars are a sure cure to your exhaustion and burnout while satisfying your whiskey cravings.
Here are some of the best bars in Houston for any busy whiskey tippler who wants to relax.
Attend our upcoming whiskey event in Houston and get access to discounts! Click below!
1. Anvil Bar and Refuge
Some Anvil Bar’s cocktails at front and a huge whiskey and spirits selection
Address: 1424 Westheimer Rd, Houston
Relax and surrender into the arms of this warm, industrial-chic spot where hospitality and a great selection of whiskeys, spirits, and cocktails reside.
The Anvil Bar and Refuge have been providing the highest quality spirits to its patrons since 2009. They are known for their house made bitters used in making their unique cocktails.
2. Eight Row Flint
Eight Row Filints cool bar
Address: 1039 Yale St, Houston
The upscale Eight Row Flint is known to source two of their favorite things, whiskey and tacos.
Apart from rare bourbons and tacos, they also offer craft beers and margarita while also providing interesting bar games should anyone want to relax and unwind from the usual bar setup.
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3. Julep Address: 1919 Washington Ave, Houston
Stepping into Julep reminds you of summer breezes and the warmth of Southern hospitality. This dow n-home cocktail bar features a huge selection of whiskey and a roster of cocktails from the South with a laid-back decor to match.
4. Poison Girl Bar
Address: 1641 Westheimer Rd B, Houston
Poison Girl Bar is an eclectic dive bar best known for serving amazing cocktails and a great selection of local and international whisk(e)y choices.
Amidst red walls, female-inspired art, and pinball machines, it still offers a safe haven for anyone who wants to chill around “unique” decorations and have a terrific bourbon selection in Houston, according to a Google Local Guide.
Want a break from a bar? How about taking a tour at a whiskey distillery? Check out the top whiskey distilleries in Houston.
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5. Public Service Wine & Whiskey Bar
Relax like a man of the 1880’s when you enter the spacious bar of Public Service Wine & Whiskey Bar .
This wine and whiskey bar comes with art deco embellishments in the historic 1884 Houston Cotton Exchange Building, a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places .
Not only can you relax, but this is also a place where you get to expand your whiskey knowledge. They are known for their international selection of hard to find whiskies and wines.
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6. Reserve 101
Take a break from your busy schedule and unwind into Reserve 101 bar.
Their upscale bar is ready to receive any whiskey lover and is ready to wow them with their collection of whiskeys from 14 different countries. The bar is internationally renowned for its whiskey selection, and claims to be the largest in Texas.
They also host monthly whiskey tastings by ambassadors and master distillers from premium brands around the world.
Reserve 101 has been chosen as one of the "Best Whisky Bars in the USA" by The Whisky Isle and awarded Gold in Whisky Magazine's "Great Whiskey Bars of the World".
7. Whiskey River
Address: 7637 Farm to Market 1960 Rd W, Houston
If your idea of relaxation is a high-energy activity, then Whiskey River is your best bet when looking for the some of the best bars in Houston for whiskey drinks. This Western-themed bar is also an excellent spot for dancing featuring a mechanical bull & special events.
Join our giveaway and Win A Bourbon Trail Trip for 2, all expenses paid! Enter To Win!
Houston's Sweet Spots
From cookies and cupcakes to macarons and pies, H-Town is serious when it comes to sweets. Whether you&rsquore craving classic chocolate chip cookies or searching for sorbet, there&rsquos plenty to indulge in at every turn.
What delicious treat are you craving?
Tucked away in a little shop off of Morningside Drive isꃎlebrity Cupcakes. Co-owner Marie Cagle, who grew up in a baking family, has been cooking since she was a kid. In fall 2010, Cagle turned her hobby into a career, opening her cheerful cupcake boutique in Houston’s Rice Village area. Customers rave about Celebrity’s vanilla bean cupcake and appreciate the spot’s frosting, which isn’t overly sweet and doesn’t overwhelm the cake.
H-Town’s first Crave Cupcakes location opened in 2008, touting picture-perfect treats and a sleek interior in Houston’s Uptown Park. Today, the biz has two locations, including a West University outpost, where daily-changing cupcake flavors are baked in small batches beginning at 5 a.m. Stop in for treats made with premium ingredients like pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, European chocolates, locally-sourced dairy and seasonal fruit from Napa Valley.
Armed with a degree from the Art Institute of Houston’s Baking and Pastry program, Chef Vanessa O𠆝onnell took a sweet leap of faith in opening her bakery, Ooh La La Dessert Boutique, in 2007. At her Town and Country store—the third of O𠆝onnell’s locations—guests find a whimsical space marked by sprawling display cases full of decadent cupcakes, pies, cookies, and gelatos. If it’s your first visit, order a mix of cupcake minis, so you can get a lay of the land.
Listen up, cupcake aficionados, while Sprinkles Cupcakesoes serve up the standard vanilla and chocolate varieties, it also manages to keep things interesting with an ever-changing assortment of seasonal and specialty flavors, as well as vegan and gluten-free cuppies, both of which are available seven days a week.
Part all-night diner and part pastry shop, with the vinyl-and-Formica decorative appeal of a bowling alley, people come to House of Pies because people come here𠅊 bit of circular logic that has remained pretty much unbroken since the place began serving up slices of chocolatey Bayou Goo in the 1970s. Its very lack of pretension is appealing, with freshly-baked sugar-free pastries, classic fruit favorites and sinfully rich offerings like the multi-layered Bayou Goo and chocolate cream, there&aposs a pie for every craving.
Family owned and operated since 1967,ਏlying Saucer Pie Company knows a thing or two about pie. Though their business has grown a bit over the years, their classic recipes haven&apost changed. From comfort food favorites like pumpkin and apple to seasonal favorites like peach cream and blackberry cream, Flying Saucer has something for every palate. Strawberry cream, their most popular pie, is available year-round to remind you to always save room for dessert.
The first batch of glazed donuts comes out of the oven each morning just before opening. Although they aren&apost all available at one time, Shipley&aposs Do-Nuts has 63 different donut recipes in its regular rotation. With multiple locations in Houston, this donut shop is a Southern staple.
Disappointed with the doughnut selection in their River Oaks neighborhood, billionaires Mindy and Jeff Hildebrand decided to fix the gap in the market by launching their own breakfast venture, River Oaks Donuts. Expect classic varieties of doughnuts-glazed, old-fashioned, jelly-filled and doughnut holes-along with Prasek&aposs kolaches and locally-brewed coffee.
Bite Macarons’ owner and executive chef Sandia Horng spent months designing her West University-set bakery. Inspired by modern European and Japanese architecture, the result was a simple, clean and inviting space that sets the stage for customers to revel in a perfect macaron experience. Each of the more than dozen macaron varieties is hand-crafted during an intensive, multi-day process that really helps to produce uniquely-textured and distinctive French-style macarons. Be sure to try the Earl Grey version.
Macaron by Patissereates beautiful and inventive varieties of the classic French pastry. The colorful, light-filled shop, located in River Oaks Shopping Center, also serves mini pies, cake balls, mini cupcakes, profiteroles, and mini ຜlairs. Loose leaf teas and other drinks help make this a perfect after-dinner stop, particularly those looking for a romantic setting. Expect to find classics, as well as outside-the-box flavors like fig & goat cheese, tiramisu, and pi༚ colada.
Sweet started in a small kitchen by two self-taught friends with a pure passion for desserts. After years catering to small parties, weddings, and farmers markets, the pair launched their small Sweet shop in CityCentre, offering a quaint urban refuge, designed and put together by local artists. There, fans find a variety of gourmet cupcakes, coffees, teas, espresso, tapioca, cookies, and nearly two-dozen macaron flavors. Don’t miss the popular salted caramel and vanilla bean macarons.
Chocolate & Candy
Exotic handmade chocolates are what you&aposll find in Cacao & Cardamom, the sweetest new addition to the Centre at Post Oak. Located near Grand Lux Café and across from the Galleria, this decadent chocolate shop focuses on the art of chocolate with bold and innovative combinations.
Specialty Ice Cream
Award-winning pastry chef Chris Leung and biz-partner Christopher Balat recently opened their highly-anticipated ice cream and sorbet shop, Cloud10 Creamery. Leung’s first brick-and-mortar outpost comes after years stocking local restaurants with his gourmet desserts. There, patrons find progressive flavor mash-ups like the lemon & mint sorbet, mango pineapple sorbet, and toasted rice ice cream, as well as 10 seasonally-changing varieties.
For more than 20 years, Hank’s Ice Cream Parlor has remained a go-to favorite for old-fashioned, handmade ice cream. The bright and cozy business offers guests 18 daily-changing flavors, culled from a list of nearly 100 flavors. Beyonce has even been known to pop by to get her fill of banana pudding ice cream, while other regulars return for dulce de leche, cake batter and chocolate chip varieties.
Gelazzi is the Houston Heights newest answer to beating the heat. The neighborhood gelato purveyor dishes out over 40 flavors of gelato.
It’s not just the towering cakes and decadent dessert-filled cases that draw fans to Montrose’s The Chocolate Bar, the store is packed with clever noveltiesll phones, hand tools, cars𠅊ll crafted in rich chocolate. Through a large window at the rear, you can look into the preparation area where all this chocolate magic is concocted. But the heart of the operation is a marvelous ice cream cooler with a dozen stunning, made-on-site flavors that use chocolate to varying degrees.
Since 1995, Sara Brook and her Dessert Gallery crew have been serving up some of Houston’s favorite sweet treats. From lunch to dinner, with dessert first (of course), Dessert Gallery is in the business of putting smiles on people’s faces.
Pondicheri Bake Lab + Shop is a full-scale bake "lab" and shop just upstairs from Chef Anita Jaisinghani&aposs acclaimed restaurant, Pondicheri, in Upper Kirby.
The company that brought Sweet to CityCentre has expanded with an EaDo-set concept called Tout Suite Café. The urban-chic spot (pronounced "toot sweet") is quickly gaining a reputation for its brunch, baked goods, and ample workspace.
Common Bond is a unique cafe and bakery experience located at Westheimer and Dunlavy. The café offers an impressive savory menu as well as a vast array of viennoiserie, pastry, bread, gelato and more.
As a Baylor University grad with a fashion merchandising degree, Candace Chang had a thing for the perfect outfit𠅊nd the perfect dessert, which led her to open her shop, Dolce Delights. But instead of just copying what great pastry chefs do, Chang was determined to create her own recipes, crafting confections that were tasty and also healthier than the norm—whether it&aposs tofu cheesecake or Chang’s own lava mango crunch cake.
Known locally as the sugar hooker, Pastry Chef Rebecca Masson has manned the mixer at restaurants like New York’s Daniel and The Red Cat, as well as Houston’s Ibiza and 17* Restaurant. Her Fluff Bake Bar has been a long time vision for Masson. The Midtown spot, which marries a bakery and bar concept, opened in late May 2015, making Masson’s dream of owning her own sweet shop a reality. There, guests will find the chef’s popular classics like Fluffernutters, SOLs (her version of a moon pie), cookies and brownies, but they will also find charcuterie plates, plated desserts, coffee, beer and wine offerings.
For nearly 200 years the Jucker family has been in the baking biz. The tradition started in Poland in the 1820s, stopped when the family was sent to Nazi concentration camps in 1941 and revived on Houston’s Holman Street in May 1949. Ever since, the Jucker family has been busy serving their famous eastern European style bread, cakes and pastries to loyal Houstonians at both their inner-loop and Memorial-area Three Brothers Bakery locations. Look for the business to open a third Washington Avenue spot in 2014.
Pastry Chef Michael has been serving some of the finest cookies in town for nearly a decade. With a degree from the Culinary Institute of American and a 13-year tenure with The Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts, the creations from Michael’s Cookie Jar aren&apost just ordinary cookies. Choose from a variety of cookie categories including Americana, fancy tea cookies, seasonal, special occasion cookies and custom logo and photo cookies.
Houston's Best Barbecue Spots
Where there's smoke, there's often good meat, at least in Texas, and Space City has some smoking-great places to indulge in Texas 'cue, including these top spots.
Helmed by Grant Pinkerton &mdash a young, untrained pitmaster who realized his dream of smoking meats and quickly earned fame among Houston's major players &mdash this quaintly attractive Heights restaurant boasts an honest menu with a lot of heart. Chopped beef sandwiches heaping with meat are served on fluffy jalapeno buns, and you can (and should) get your pork ribs glazed for a finger-licking finish.
Harlem Road Texas BBQ
At Richmond's Harlem Road BBQ, Swiss-born chef Ara Malekian &mdashwho sharpened his chops under the direction of Wolfgang Puck &mdash presents his take on Texas 'cue in a no-frills setting. Fatty brisket, sausage and beef ribs are slow-smoked and incorporate a distinct flavor from being cooked over wood from vintage oak wine barrels. Sides and desserts are classic and well-executed, but here, the meat is unquestionably the main attraction.
Pitmaster and owner Leonard Botello IV first started smoking meats in small-town Brenham, serving meats and gooey mix-and-match sides at Truth. Now, the robust, earthy flavor of Central Texas-style 18-hour smoked brisket is available within Houston city limits at his Washington Corridor hangout. The whole truth is that the menu features all of the Brenham staples including tender house-made sausage, juicy duroc pulled pork &mdash a bright pink contrast to some of the darker proteins &mdash and pork ribs, shiny and thick to the touch. Pro tip: Save room for Botello&rsquos mother&rsquos banana caramel cake, a multi-layer concoction made extra festive with caramel drizzle and Heath Bar crumble.
As one of the pioneering restaurant families in the city, the Pappases have brought world-class 'cue to the greater Houston area for over 50 years. Consistency is key at their various locations, known for their meats cooked over hickory and mesquite on-site and their sides made fresh daily. The chopped-beef baked potato is a house favorite: An oversized Idaho russet is dressed in butter and sour cream and finished off with a generous topping of crisp bacon bits and shredded cheddar.
You'll find the signatures of athletes, movie stars and even politicians on the wall at this acclaimed barbecue restaurant in Pearland where Ronnie Killen also runs a burger bar, steakhouse and Mexican restaurant. There's always a crowd out front during the day, with eager diners making their way through the cafeteria-style line dig into trays piled high with meat. The pork belly burnt ends, with their crisp char and eye-catching glaze, are equal parts smoky and sweet, while the sticky, moist beef rib glistens on its bark and makes for a monstrous lunch with a couple of sides. At the end of the meal, two things are certain: Dessert should be ordered, and Killen's old-fashioned banana pudding is the way to go.
Husband-and-wife team Will and Nichole Buckman run this quaint Old Town Spring restaurant where beer and wine flow like barbecue sauce and the patio is both child- and pet-friendly. Saucy brisket sandwiches are made extra messy by adding a helping of coleslaw on top, and the sticky pork spareribs are good to the bone.
The Pit Room
This Montrose hangout combines the two foods all Houstonians love &mdash barbecue and tacos &mdash and does it enormously well. In addition to beef and pork ribs, housemade Czech-style sausage and a pulled pork-smothered Frito pie generously dusted with cheddar cheese and diced raw onions, the menu boasts meaty tacos with traditional fixins like tangy salsa verde and a dollop of cool sour cream, presented in flour tortillas made with smoked brisket fat. Because . why not?
Led by couple Patrick Feges and Erin Smith, active regulars on the Houston BBQ circuit, this counter within the Greenway Plaza food court delivers the intoxicating aroma of smoked meats to the power-lunch crowd during the workweek &mdash and only then. Between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, breakfasters and lunchgoers can indulge in Feges' featured specialties, such as pig wings and beef belly burnt ends, or staples like ribs and brisket. The meats are accompanied by Smith's alternative takes on sides, as in the creamy, Indian-inspired yogurt-based coleslaw spiced with cumin and coriander.
Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse
It's no surprise that the Pappas family knows how to deliver good food and great hospitality, but Delta Blues raises the bar in barbecue, from the table-service setting with cushiony seats to the thoughtfully prepared drinks, including craft cocktails like the boozy strawberry habanero mule, which is tart and packs a punch. The chicken-fried prime rib eye dressed with gravy is a Texas tradition and is best paired with buttery mashed potatoes and creamed corn dusted with cracked pepper.
The Goode Co. name has been synonymous with great barbecue for over 40 years, and today it means even more: a slew of seafood and taqueria locations, plus a festive live-music destination, Armadillo Palace, that features a cantina next door. At the four barbecue joints, the smell of mesquite-smoked meats &mdash slow-cooked for hours on end and carefully tended to by trusty pitmasters &mdash still reel people in. Barbecue sandwiches are hearty, with meat piled thick on a hunk of cheesy jalapeno bread, and the Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie is iconic as far as Texas pastries go.
Roegels Barbecue Co.
This family-owned and operated restaurant, where husband Russell handles the meat and wife Misty serves up the sides, is a mainstay for smoked sausage, brisket, whole barbecue chicken and trusty sides like mac 'n' cheese, but opt for one of the featured daily specials and feast on something truly epic. The overstuffed Reuben &mdash available on Thursdays &mdash combines smoky brisket with crunchy slaw slathered in Russian dressing on toasted rye, and is definitely a monster worth facing down.
Ray's BBQ Shack
It's a family affair at this Houston staple in the Third Ward where co-founder Ray Busch still reigns as pitmaster, delivering hickory-smoked meats and spicy smoked boudin in paper-lined baskets. Raw onions and tart pickles provide a crunch between bites of fatty beef rib, but the crunch you'll get from the famed gilded deep-fried corn on the cob is unparalleled.
No longer do Inner Loopers have to hightail it to the burbs for a taste of the classic 'cue made famous at Brookstreet BBQ's original Sugar Land location. At the Montrose outpost, a menu of beef brisket, pulled pork, two types of sausage (one with jalapeno and one without) and much more is available for dine-in, delivery and, even better, takeout from a drive-thru window. Mixed meat plates are complemented with traditional sides like sweet and savory ranch-style beans or chunky potato salad and a piece of golden challah toast, but for a meal of epic proportions, opt for the Stonehouse Feast, which will feed your whole herd.
Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue
This Tomball "craftory" &mdash which started as a bean-to-bar chocolate shop &mdash aims to satisfy 'cue cravings with its top-notch menu of quality cuts. As a bonus, it provides a solution to the age-old conundrum of sweet versus savory by making its award-winning handcrafted truffles available under the same roof. At the tiny house on Main Street, you can indulge in tender chile relleno links enveloped in warm tortillas drizzled in salsa, or smokey barbacoa boudin served with saltines, before making a stop at the truffle counter to select some treats from the neat rows of confections.
The 15 Best Places for Fajitas in Houston
/> Nicole B: Great service, margaritas and amazing fresh tortillas for your fajitas. Yes and yes.
/> Paola D: Love the fajitas! Definitely a must!
/> IS KLE: Great fajitas and tacos al carbon. And margaritas. Awesome queso too.
/> Jenn: They have awesome queso and fajitas. Also a great little sandbox play area for your little ones. Careful you're fresh washed car will get very sandy.
/> Ileana Salinas: 1/2 Pound Chicken fajitas for 2 is perfect with Margaritas!
/> Fez: This place has well balanced fajitas with a seasoning to die for. Guacamole is fresh and creamy. The chips were nice and crunchy. The service was on point. The ambiance is pleasant and clean.
/> Adam P: amazing fajitas. get the del mar!
/> Ruth Netanel: Fajitas are excellent! Don't forget the melted garlic butter- YUM!
/> Stacey Wilson: From the lunch menu: the fajitas are soooo good! Staff are polite and friendly. Great happy hour too!!
/> Johanna Lehane: The best beef fajitas. Can't be beat.
/> David Harris: It is a bit pricy but Great fajitas!! Try the jalepenos with them AWESOME.
/> Stephen Rodriguez: I'm a regular!:) that's all that counts. Great place! Beef fajitas are the best!
/> The Deck on Fountainview: You will love the margarita's. Try the fajita's one of the best in town.
/> Cynthia Nicole: Everything is delish! Some of my favs are the fajitas, tilapia Vera Cruz & tres leches! Yummmm.
/> Mark Bazin: Great service. Was a mistake with our order and Clayton and Tiffany took awesome care of us. Filet Mignon Fajitas are amazing!!
/> Alan Hodgson: Great Chicken and Beef Fajitas! Also, great rice.
/> James Gubera: Good fajitas and AMAZING flan!
/> Manni Balignasay: Steak fajitas are phenomenal!
/> Aaron Crews: Chicken fajitas might be the best in the city. Not busy and great for large parties on Sunday evenings.
/> Charles Tabangcora: Can't go wrong with the Fajitas. Definitely try them out. Also the guac is pretty good.
/> Jewelz Cody: Been coming here for years & never disappointed. Favorites include chile en nogada, shrimp diablo chalupa with the cabbage slaw and fajitas. House margaritas are just dandy, you can taste the tequila!
/> Jamie Locklin: Awesome beef fajitas! Say hi to Rich!
/> Ginna: delicious fajita buffet
/> Kristy Vincent: The skinny margarita is awesome and the steak fajitas are worth the price!
/> Shay Sayre: Awesome experience and service. Best fajitas I have ever had!
/> Anne-Laure Reymond-Christensen: Get a frozen margarita sangria, ceviche and carnitas and fajitas! Definitely the best texmex in town :)
/> Paul Griffin: Can't get enough of the fajitas, queso, and margaritas! Easily one of the best tex-mex in town! Service is stellar and food is amazing!
/> April: Best fajitas! Fresh Tortillas. Get Queso & Fajitas. Read more.
/> Michelle Smith: Try the flautas they are yummy even with beef fajita u will pay extra but they are delicious!
/> Kate Eschbach: The beef fajitas are amazing! 8 of us split 2 orders and there was plenty!
/> Emily Berrigan: Fantastic fajitas and the Diablo shrimp! .
/> Paul Michaels: The fajitas and margaritas were awesome. Place was totally packed (even after happy hour). Apparently its always like that though. Definitely worth it. The environment at the bar was great.
/> Annette Williams: You can't go wrong with a Strawberry Margarita or a glass of Sangria and the beef & chicken fajitas! Oh, and I love their happy hour!
The best Peking duck in Houston?
Customers can see the ducks being roasted and carved in the exhibition kitchen at Bamboo House in Humble.
The main dining room at Bamboo House in Humble
Peking duck at Yauatcha is carved into 16 rectangular pieces.
Peking duck at Fung's Kitchen
Peking duck at Fung's Kitchen
Spicy Girl in Midtown only makes 12 Beijing ducks per day, so call ahead to reserve.
At Spicy Girl in Midtown, the duck bones are chopped up to make a second course of milky-colored duck soup cooked with ginger, tofu and scallions.
Chef Richard Sun presents Beijing duck at Spicy Girl in Midtown.
At Regal Seafood in Stafford, a whole duck is wheeled to the table suspended from from a carving stand angled at 65 degrees.
At Regal Seafood in Stafford, a whole duck is wheeled to the table suspended from from a carving stand angled at 65 degrees.
The style of duck at Regal Seafood in Stafford is a Beijing-Cantonese fusion.
The style of duck at Regal Seafood in Stafford is a Beijing-Cantonese fusion.
The sliced duck at Peking Duck Restaurant is served with the most delicate pancakes in Houston.
Pecking duck at Peking Duck Restaurant
Duck carcass is cut up into meaty chunks and dry-fried with salt and pepper for a third course at Peking Duck Restaurant.
Peking duck at A Ly restaurant
Peking duck at Arco Seafood
Peking duck at Peking Cuisine restaurant
Peking duck at Shanghai Restaurant
Peking duck at Bamboo House
Peking duck at Bamboo House
Customers can see the ducks being roasted and carved in the exhibition kitchen at Bamboo House in Humble.
A view into the dining room at Bamboo House in Humble
Peking duck at Yauatcha is first presented to the table before being carved up in the kitchen.
In November, my friend Michelle, whom I hadn&rsquot heard from in a while, sent me a lengthy text about a Peking duck restaurant in Humble: &ldquoI hope you don&rsquot mind this suggestion,&rdquo she wrote, &ldquobecause we really like this restaurant and we want them to stay in business.&rdquo
At the time, the recommendation was strong enough to make me want to visit right away, but getting to Humble takes more than an hour from my house in Sugar Land, so I put it off and forgot about it until another friend went and sent me pictures.
Bamboo House is the most unlikely place you&rsquod think to find real-deal, so-good-you-could-imagine-you&rsquore-eating-in-China Peking duck. There&rsquos not much going on in the vicinity of Bamboo House, just off the Sam Houston Parkway East feeder road about 10 minutes from George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Though the sign outside says &ldquoBest Peking Duck in Houston,&rdquo its location would make anyone skeptical about this claim. But step inside, taste the duck, and you&rsquoll become an instant believer.
The owner, Lianzhuo Chu, 50, has spent his entire life cooking. A professional cook from Shandong, he&rsquos owned and operated restaurants in California, New Mexico and Shanghai. While living in New Mexico, he came upon a sales listing for a restaurant space in Humble, which included a fully built-out professional kitchen, a parking lot and the land upon which it was built. An avid fisherman, Chu was attracted by the prospect of buying a turnkey business with easy access to indulge in his favorite pastime. But the location was a potential issue because the demographic he needed for the type of cuisine he wanted to serve lived closer in to Houston. So he chose to specialize in Peking duck, something he knew that, done well, would be a big enough lure to get Houstonians to drive to Humble.
When he got the building, Chu made minimal changes, with one exception: He purchased a special duck-roasting oven and installed an exhibition-style open kitchen in the main dining room so customers could see the ducks being roasted and carved in real time. The restaurant, which opened in July 2018, therefore retains the feel of its previous incarnation as Samba Seafood, a Mexican-themed seafood joint complete with a small bar decorated with neon lights and festive yellow paint.
I&rsquove visited several times now and love the mishmash of cultures on display. Large groups of Asians occupy the main dining room in front of the duck kitchen. There is always at least one Peking duck on the table, along with several Sichuan-style dishes, ranging from noodles to spicy chicken. Scattered around the main dining room and spread out into the secondary seating area are patrons who care less about Peking duck. On their tables, you see typical Chinese-American dishes such as General Tso&rsquos chicken or sweet and sour pork and fried rice.
I go specifically for the Peking duck. In fact, I&rsquove timed several of my inbound flights to IAH so that I land just in time to head straight to the restaurant. It&rsquos a major treat after a day of traveling, and a wonderful welcome home. I love going up to the exhibition window to watch the chef as he deftly carves each bird into two glistening half-domes of golden, reddish-brown duck skin.
7855 N. Sam Houston Pkwy E., Humble 281-441-3456 bamboohousehouston.com
$45.95/whole duck in two courses $25.95/half duck
Picking up a piece of the skin &mdash served with brown sugar, hoisin sauce, cucumbers and scallions &mdashwith my chopsticks, I dip it in the sugar for that critical first taste. Next, I pick up the handmade pancake, smear it with a good amount of hoisin, add a good helping of cucumbers and scallions, along with three to four pieces of the duck skin and meat to make a perfect bite. Time after time, I marvel at how beautiful the skin is, how airy and light, how the crispness is as delicate as a meringue but slightly heftier, like pork chicharrón skins, with a rich fatty element reminiscent of duck-fat fries.
Bamboo House&rsquos presentation of the dish is also something to behold. Custom-crafted rectangular bamboo trays hold the first half of the duck and its accompaniments. The other half of the duck is served atop a small candle burner about 10 minutes later, to ensure the skin doesn&rsquot get cold or soggy. The duck itself is placed in a white porcelain duck-shaped dish.
Chu&rsquos daughter, Yuchen Che, who is in charge of operations, says that to bring the most authentic Peking duck to customers, Bamboo House sources a New York Long Island duck, which is the closest to Beijing white duck used in China.
The whole Peking duck at Bamboo House comes with 20 house-made wrappers and is served with a second course of duck soup. Half orders come with 10 wrappers. As a gift to its customers, the restaurant also offers a special birthday discount in the form of a free half Peking duck for pre-tax purchases of at least $50 and a free whole Peking duck for pre-tax purchases of at least $100. So if you&rsquore wondering whether you want to make the drive, that should be a great incentive.
Like my friend Michelle, once you&rsquove been there, you&rsquoll not only tell your friends about it, you&rsquoll be making plans to go back, and stat.
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9 other great spots for Peking duck in Houston
It'll cost you, but the Peking duck at swanky Yauatcha is unlike any other in the city. The preparation is a multiday process that involves marinating the skin, sealing it with a red-wine-vinegar-and-maltose solution, followed by two days of dry-aging. The aged ducks are roasted daily, then basted to order in hot oil to achieve an extra-crispy skin with all the fat rendered. Prior to serving, the entire 5-pound bird is presented to the table on a silver platter before it's taken back to the kitchen and carved up into 16 uniformly sized rectangular pieces of crispy duck skin. Each piece, in turn, is laid atop a thin pancake, smear of hoisin, thinly sliced cucumber and scallions, so that the final product is a tray of 16 ready-to-eat, sublime morsels that fairly melt in the mouth. Each order also includes is a second stir-fry course, prepared with choice of XO sauce or black bean sauce. $118/whole duck $238/whole duck with 1 ounce of caviar
12350 U.S. 59 S., Stafford 281-494-8888
Order the whole Beijing Duck at Regal Seafood in Stafford, and you're in for a show. The whole bird is wheeled to the table suspended from a custom carving stand angled at 65 degrees. The duck is then meticulously carved and laid piece by piece on two large serving plates, one for each duck breast, and served with two types of pickles, scallion, house-made hoisin sauce and 10 house-made pancakes (pro tip: Ask for the extra-thin kind). The style here is a Beijing-Cantonese fusion. Chef Theresa Mo says that the duck cavity is marinated for extra flavor and juiciness, and each slice contains equal parts crispy skin and duck meat (traditional Beijing-style would have more skin and minimal duck meat). As a second course, you can choose between duck lettuce wraps or duck bones drizzled with duck juices from the pan. $42.99/whole duck in two courses $25.99/half duck in two courses
Spicy Girl Midtown
For whole Peking duck inside the Loop, head to Spicy Girl in Midtown and order the house specialty Beijing Duck. There's a special section on the menu that describes how the duck is dipped, poached, then hung to dry for 12 hours prior to roasting. The restaurant makes only 12 per day, so calling ahead to reserve is essential. Chef Richard Sun or another chef sporting a toque and pristine chef's whites will carry the golden-brown bird to the table on an ornate silver platter. It's then carved tableside and served with steamed bao buns, hoisin sauce, thinly sliced cucumbers and scallions (pancakes are available on request). The carcass is then returned to the kitchen, where the bones are chopped up to make a second course of milky-colored duck soup cooked with ginger, tofu and scallions. Additional meat from the duck is turned into a third course of dry stir-fry with dry whole chiles, bean sprouts, onion and scallion, complemented by steamed white rice. $56/whole duck in three courses
It's been nearly three decades since Hoi Fung opened his eponymous restaurant, and he's been serving Peking duck since the beginning. This is an award-winning dish that has been perfected over time. All of Fung's chefs know how to prepare it, so that it's consistently delicious whether you drop by for a midweek meal or order it as part of a multicourse family dinner on weekends. Fung is painstaking about his duck, sourcing the plump, 7-pound birds from a single, trusted farm. Each piece of crisp, flavorful skin is sliced with a good amount of juicy meat on the underside and arranged in a square atop a large round platter. The standard order comes with 10 fluffy bao buns, hoisin sauce and scallions, and pancakes are available in lieu of buns upon request. Duck lettuce wraps are available as a second course. $30/whole duck $45 whole duck in two courses
Peking Duck Restaurant
Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall at Fountain View and Westheimer next to Spotlight Karaoke, this still-new restaurant's name implies its specialty. The history of Peking duck is explained in detail just inside the entrance on a large sign, and two large yellow duck statues reinforce the theme. The "Luxury Peking Duck Combo" comes in three courses. The first, sliced duck, is served with the thinnest and most delicate pancakes you'll find in Houston, made from specially imported flour from China. Six pieces of duck skin are laid out next to a small saucer filled with sugar, and you're advised to dip a piece of the skin in the sugar for your first bite. Duck soup is the second course. The third, in which the duck carcass is cut up into meaty chunks and dry-fried with salt and pepper, is a highlight, tasting a lot like roasted squab. $50/whole duck in three courses
This stalwart Chinese restaurant employs the traditional method of preparing Peking duck, in which air is blown between the skin and fat, thereby separating the two parts so that the fat gets completely rendered during the roasting process. Peking duck aficionados will be impressed by the paper-thin skin, and by the fact that it comes with pancakes automatically. A second course of duck soup is included. The restaurant routinely sells out of its signature dish, so unless you plan on arriving for an early dinner, call ahead to reserve. $35/whole duck in two courses
9896 Bellaire, Suite K 713-774-2888 arcoseafood.com
Fresh off a recent remodel, this small Cantonese restaurant in the heart of Asiatown has a reputation for consistent quality cuisine across the board. Its Peking duck, prepared in a more Cantonese style, is competently executed so that the skin is extra thin and crispy with the fat completely rendered. Like most places, Arco serves its bird with steamed bao buns, hoisin sauce, cucumbers and scallions. With each order, patrons may choose between a soup or stir-fry with bean sprouts as a second course. $44.95/whole duck in two courses
11360 Bellaire 281-575-7888
Read any of the online reviews for this nondescript, no-frills strip-mall restaurant online, and the dish that's mentioned over and over again is its Peking duck. Attractively presented in the shape of a flower, the duck in the center is surrounded by fluffy white steamed bao buns. Though the skin is crispy, the thick-cut slices more closely resemble roast duck than Peking because equal emphasis is placed on the skin and the flesh. Still, the dish is a major crowd-pleaser and remains one of the most affordable versions in town. $30.25/whole duck
This mom-and-pop restaurant has been serving delicious Cantonese cuisine to discerning diners for the better part of three decades &mdash and though Peking duck is not its specialty, it's one of many dishes that the owner executes extremely well. This spot is one of just a few places in Houston that allows diners to order half a duck. Each order comes with the crispy-skinned fowl, steamed bao buns, hoisin sauce and green onions. $43.90/whole duck $21.95/half duck
Trivia masterminds Geeks Who Drink invade the many Little Woodrow’s outposts all week long to test the wits of anyone and everyone who dares to conquer their eight mystifying categories.
Each round features eight questions. Two rounds are audio — think musical artists you’ve got to identify based on just a few bars of a song — one round is visual and the rest are read aloud. Victory doesn’t come easily, but pints on the expansive patios alleviate the nail-biting a bit.
The prize each week is an Amazon gift card.
For drinkers looking beyond the usual vodka and whiskey drinks, Boheme is a solid choice. Spirits like aquavit and pisco meet housemade ingredients like pear shrub and Thai spiced pineapple, resulting in ridiculously sophisticated sips. Classic drinks, like the Moscow Mule and rum swizzle are also on offer.
The fancy cocktails at Mongoose v. Cobra are always worth drinking, but it’s also a solid spot when drinking on the cheap is necessary. Until 7 p.m., the selection of draft brews is only $5, and Moscow mules are just $6.
Not only does this bar look super aesthetically pleasing, but the drinks also look extremely good! If you are trying to go to a bar that will also have your Instagram feed looking extra good, I highly recommend this bar! They have a lot of tasty specialty drinks, but the one I am the most excited to try out is called “Rest in Paradise”. Tell me that name does not yell out summer to you!
Best Bars With Drinking Games In Houston
In the mood for a little beer pong or flip cup? Pearl Bar on Washington has got you covered. While the inside of the bar might feel like a frat party, the patio area outside will remind you of your best bud’s backyard, complete with beergames and good times. Pearl boasts a huge open outdoor area that’s set up with tables for your favorite drinking games and even hula hoops for after your game of pong. With old school Bon Jovi and MC Hammer on the speakers, drinking games and hula hoops, it won’t take you long to loosen up and let your troubles fade away.
Burlap Barrel Pub
909 Town and Country Blvd.
Houston, TX 77024
This neighborhood bar is in itself just a good, fun place to relax, have a few drinks after work and let your hair down. Add in pool tables, darts and video games and you have yourself a great evening with good people. The Burlap Barrel Pub often offers up its ping pong table to patrons for beer pong games and mini tournaments. The staff is friendly, the beer is cold and the mood is relaxed. What more could you ask for?
(credit: Hans Bier Haus/Facebook)
Hans’ Bier Haus
2523 Quenby St.
Houston, TX 77005
Featuring one of Houston’s only bocce courts, Hans’ Bier Haus in West University is another great place to go for a night out. The bar’s spacious bocce ball court sits inside the Haus’s beer garden and offers onlookers picnic tables and darts to pass the time. Hans’ also features more than 100 different beers&ndash&ndash60 of which are on&ndash&ndashas well as Sangria and wine. So if you like the variety of games to rival the selection of beers, this is the spot to go.
(credit: Liberty Station/Facebook)
2101 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007
Another bar where you’ll find the best stuff outdoors is Liberty Station. This converted gas station offers patrons corn hole, as well as the standard foosball and people watching for your drinking entertainment. You and your friends can also try your hand at some giant Jenga&ndash&ndashwhoever topples over the stack of big blocks has to drink some of their beer. A great selection of beer on tap, friendly bartenders and a laidback atmosphere makes this Washington Ave bar a favorite.
Triple Crown Sports Bar
13711 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77077
The Triple Crown is a sports bar tucked inside a shopping center in the West Oaks neighborhood and is known as shuffleboard heaven. This bar boasts six shuffleboard tables, all of which use real sand, and offers shuffleboard tournaments and draws every Friday and Saturday night. Triple Crown also has leagues that gather every Wednesday, and features Texas Hold ‘Em nights every Monday and again Thursday through Sunday. For game night, this place might be just what you’re looking for.