Batanga
The Tasting Room Wine Cafe
Cottonwood
Cedar Creek Bar & Grill
Dogwood
Brooklyn Athletic Club
55 Restaurant and Bar
Backstreet Cafe
1919 Wine & Mixology
Brenner's on the Bayou
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1. Batanga 908 Congress Ave, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

Batanga is known for getting Spanish cuisine and cocktails done the right way -- an array of delicious tapas, sangrias, and a dynamite fish taco will make sure you leave satisfied.

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2. Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirits Lodge 308 1/2 Main St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

Be prepared to feel the effects after just one of spirits guru Justin Burrow’s boozed-up, classic cocktails laced with unexpected flavorings like elderflower and spiced wine syrup. But before you can enjoy the drinks, you’ll have to find them behind a nondescript door in Downtown Houston. Climb the dark, narrow staircase to the dark drinking den at the very top, where you’ll revel in your libations and the views of the city in a small, sultry space.

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3. La Carafe 813 Congress St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

Settled inside Houston's oldest building, La Carafe looks as if it's about to fall to pieces on the outside, but is rife wth history on the inside. Miraculously still level and smattered with antiqued photos and mementos, La Carafe's been close to shut down on the basis of broken fire codes many times since the '80s, but its jazz-bumping jukebox, impossible to imitate ambiance, and massive wine selection have kept it alive.

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4. Moon Tower Inn 3004 Canal St, Houston, TX 77003 (East End)

Awesome events like horror movie nights and growler giveaways, tons of craft brews from their wall of taps, and exotic hot dogs like a wild game sausage make Moon Tower Inn a unique and enjoyable hangout. Oh, and they have a backyard, too.

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5. Neil's Bahr 2006 Walker St, Houston, TX 77003 (Downtown)

This tweet from owner Neil Fernandez (@neilsbahr) describes it best: "this ain't ya grandpa's bar. that's because it's called Neil's Bahr. if your grandpa's name is Neil, we will have to destroy him". The Darth Vader on the liquor shelf and abundance of comic books/sci-fi novels only further prove that this is THE spot for all things fantastically nerdy. And that's before even mentioning that the bar’s name is a pun on Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr.

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6. The Springbok 711 Main St Unit 1, Houston, TX 77002

Plates at Springbok are as colorful and dynamic as the South African cuisine they represent, influenced by African, European, Dutch, Malaysian, and Indian culinary traditions. This sports bar is at once the spot for mielie pap (African grits), deviled eggs, vegetable curry, hanger steak, and roast chicken, and it ditches a dive aesthetic for a sleek one, with dark mahogany paneling, leather banquettes, and exposed ceiling beams. While you’re at Springbok throwing back a couple of beers, don’t miss out on watching futbol (both kinds), rugby, and cricket.

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7. Cottonwood 3422 N Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77018

Cottonwood is a restaurant and bar that draws crowds to its home in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest with quality cocktails, craft beer, comfort food, and a massive outdoor patio. Cocktails include classics and signatures (ask about the frozen drinks), but whiskey is the spirit of choice, with primarily local and Kentucky labels on offer. Beer is at the forefront, though, with over 40 taps (two cask-conditioned), featuring a large number of local brews. The menu is appropriately tailored to the beverage offerings, with quality pub fare like frito pie, tacos, sloppy joes, and the famous Squirrel Master Burger -- stuffed with poblano peppers and topped bacon, pepper jack, jalapenos, and of course, a fried egg.

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8. Lillo & Ella 2307 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77008 (The Greater Heights)

At Lillo & Ella you can expect delicious takes on pan-asian street food from Chef and owner Kevin Naderi, like crispy Vietnamese chicken wings, braised bacon bao, Thai muu noodles, and blue crab fried rice.

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9. Petrol Station 985 Wakefield Dr, Houston, TX 77018

Petrol Station used to be exactly that: a gas station. Now, this refurbished counter-service spot is dishing up of the tastiest burgers in Houston. You'll also find a fantastic craft beer list that's divided into beginner, intermediate, and expert levels. Once you've made your burger and beer picks (a favorite is The Rancor, a 10-napkin burger topped with cheddar, smoked bacon, and a fried egg), you can enjoy your meal out on the patio.

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10. Sassafras 5022 Pinemont Dr, Houston, TX 77092

Housed in the old Crazy J’s spot, this neighborhood haunt is as cool and laid-back as it gets. The sprawling patio is the best place to take down "fancy and cheap beer, above-average wine, and tasty liquor" (their words, but their words are correct).

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11. Big Star Bar 1005 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008 (The Greater Heights)

Big Star Bar is a modest hangout with low ceilings and a black-and-white linoleum floor whose loyal base of regulars comes for the cheap drinks, the jukebox, and the dance floor. Big Star also has an outdoor patio with picnic tables that are warmed by fire pits on chilly Houston nights, so bring the mutt and enjoy a frosty Lone Star all year round.

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12. D&T Drive Inn 1307 Enid St, Houston, TX 77009 (The Greater Heights)

D&T Drive Inn has a unique menu of shared plates and sandwiches (like stuffed cherry peppers and a beef stew po' boy), plus a fantastic beer selection and a spacious beer garden-esque patio.

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13. Jimmy's Ice House 2803 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007

Cheap, cold beer and a relaxed-as-hell atmosphere make it easy to spend all day at this no-frills ice house.

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14. Lucky's Pub 801 St Emanuel St, Houston, TX 77003 (Downtown)

Lucky's Pub is one of the largest, most popular sports bars in Houston, and will supply you with craft beer, delicious wings, and a lively atmosphere while you watch the game.

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15. Onion Creek 3106 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007

Offering up standard American cafe breakfast and brunch options, Onion Creek also has a great dirnk menu, AND you can bring your dog!

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16. Celtic Gardens 2300 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77006

Stiff drinks, solid happy hour specials, and a huge outdoor lounge mean this Midtown oasis will draw a big crowd pretty much any day its nice out. Enjoy an afternoon of beers, bags, and Irish nachos (you should always get the Irish nachos).

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17. Front Porch Pub 217 Gray St, Houston, TX 77002

Front Porch is a laidback patio bar, offering up steak and trivia nights, crawfish boils, and cornhole tournaments. A perfect place to bring your dog along for a drink.

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18. Little Woodrow's Midtown 2306 Brazos St, Houston, TX 77006 (Midtown)

Little Woodrow's beer list isn't very little with 100 beers, a full bar, and daily specials. It's the perfect place to watch the big game.

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19. Saint Dane's Bar & Grille 502 Elgin St, Houston, TX 77006

If the name didn’t give it away, all of the dogs on the patio will: this Midtown bar is made for you and your dog (they’ll even bring him a water bowl). Leash up and head here to smash a burger and some ice cold pitchers; or, better yet, go for Monday steak night, where they serve juicy-as-hell ribeyes for 10 bucks. Just make sure you slip your four-lagged pal a few scraps.

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20. Bistro Menil 1513 West Alabama, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

Expect Euro-inspired American fare from chef Greg Martin and a killer cask wine and beer program from bev director Sean Beck in a striking dining room that you should probably take a date to. Get the charcuturie plate, filled with deliciousness like duck rillete, jamón ibérico, and chicken ballotine, along with standouts like he big and beefy cocoa nib and black peppercorn-crusted filet. Was that a little meat heavy? Sorry, there are pizzas, pastas, and salads, too.

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21. Boondocks 1417 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

This grungy bar that pumps out live music almost every night of the week is a Montrose standby. Come here to slam PBR, smoke way too many cigarettes, and invariably miss your 8am meeting for the third week in a row.

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22. Grand Prize Bar 1010 Banks St, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

This grungy two-story bar where Montrose meets the Museum District features rooftop access, a pool table, jukebox tunes and a full bar manned by award-winning mixologists on each floor. Cocktail lists are ever-changing and the kitchen is fully operational, meaning you’ll snack on a pimento grilled cheese with blackened green tomatoes or a chorizo meatball sub between sips of an imaginative beverage like the Five Finger Death Punch with rum, apricot brandy, vanilla, and lavender. Illuminated by glittery rainbow string lights, the space is alternately sophisticated and whimsical.

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23. The Hay Merchant / Underbelly 1100 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

A joint venture, The Hay Merchant and Underbelly operate separately but are attached via a butchering room that’s fit to hold a whole hog, a cow, and other large, meat-bearing animals. Hay Merchant, a craft beer bar, boasts 75 draft beers that range in style from cask-conditioned American porters to sour and funky wild ales. Underbelly, the more upscale of the two, is a restaurant and wine bar serving up juicy burgers and meats, like roasted pig’s head and smoked brisket. No matter how adventurous your palate, consider pairing your dish with one of the aged barleywines on tap.

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24. Poison Girl 1641 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

Poison Girl is a Houston dive bar as infamous for its oddball decorations as for its whiskey selection. Pose for photos with a giant Cabbage Patch Kid and a life-size Kool-Aid man who has (sadly) seen better days as you sip on whiskey that, lucky for you, tastes far more expensive than it actually is. Try your hand at pinball before browsing Poison Girl’s collection of 1970s portraits of nude women that seem to surround you. However you choose to spend your time here, you can be sure it’ll be a memorable evening.

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25. West Alabama Ice House 1919 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77098 (Montrose)

To a non-native Houstonian, West Alabama Ice House doesn't look like all that much, given that it's just a covered bar and patio in West Montrose. But this iconic bar has seen Houston through history since 1928, when it operated as a literal ice house, just shilling the cold stuff to neighborhood homes. Now, of course, it's a regular haunt for Houston's most in-the-know, who come, humidity be damned, for a frosty Lone Star Beer, a taco from whatever truck is parked across the street, and some love from the regular influx of dogs that appear with their owners.