Julie Soefer
Galina Kurlat
Juan Ocanas
Jeff Key
Stone's Throw
Sage County
Lei Low Bar
Alex Gregg
Public Services Wine & Whisky
The Springbok
Beer Market Co.
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1. Julep 1919 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007 (Washington)

Julep's got an old-school, punky Southern charm that's soaked in bourbon, just like you'll be after a few masterfully crafted cocktails and cold seafood dishes from former Pass & Provisions Chef Adam Garcia. Housed in an industrial 1880s uniform factory, the space features a gorgeous copper bar and a sophisticated back porch. There are masterful odes to the bar’s namesake drink, but the list runs on into a boozy Southern history book with classics born in the region and a seasonal lineup that plays with Southern inspirations.

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2. The Honeymoon Cafe & Bar 300 Main St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

The guys behind Boomtown Coffee teamed up with the dudes behind Lei Low, Bad News, and Grand Prize Bar to bring us this Main St hangout that’s part coffee house, part cocktail bar, and part awesome. The kitchen impresses with breakfast and lunch dishes like oyster BLTs and beignets, while the bar slings serious coffees and libations – all made with top flight ingredients, of course. It’s like living in NOLA, but without the stank of Bourbon.

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3. 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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4. 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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5. Stone's Throw 1417 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

This moody speakeasy stirs up vintage libations and brews their own ginger beer, but there’s no need to put on your fancy pants -- it's as laidback as any other bar in Montrose. Hit it up for progressive happy hour, where the price of drinks match the time. That's $4 drinks at 4. $5 drinks at 5. Now keep doing math until you get to 7.

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6. Sage County 2416 Brazos St, Houston, TX 77006 (Midtown)

With Iron Cress Hospitality Group (whose other bars include frat-tastic powerhouses Pub Fiction, 3rd Floor, and Celtic Gardens) behind this Fourth Ward lounge, it’s no shock that the jocular, urban-country concept is a smashing success. Modeled after the kind of dives you may find along a Texas highway, the easy livin’ vibe is made all the more fun with moonshine shooters and rowdy games of Chicken Sh*t Bingo.

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7. Lei Low Bar 6412 N Main St, Houston, TX 77009 (The Greater Heights)

Houston’s only tiki bar, Lei Low is a breath of fresh, tropical air in what is an otherwise drab Sunset Heights strip mall. Beyond the tax office and the convenience store is a colorful drinking den that serves house-made carbonated coconut water and flavors its cocktails like the Balinese Room #2 or the Polynesian Rainbow with made-from-scratch syrups. Though rum is the spirit of choice at Lei Low (“RUM” is even enshrined in all its neon sign glory behind the bar), you can of course order bourbon drinks, gin drinks, and, of course, flaming coffee grogs.

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8. Moving Sidewalk 306 Main St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

The late Goro & Gun was transformed into this sexy cocktailery that flaunts liquid-nitrogen-chilled glassware and an "emotional beverage guide" for the indecisive. Are you happy and perhaps overly optimistic about your new lady friend? A French 75 should do the trick. Something on your mind? Looks like you’re taking a beer and a shot to get you out of your funk!

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9. Public Services Wine & Whisky 202 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

Housed in the old Cotton Exchange building, Public Services Wine & Whisky is doing its due diligence, providing Downtown Houston with options abound in each category, as its name boasts. The whiskey list covers its ground -- Scotland, America, Japan, Ireland, Spain, and even India are represented. (The Scotland selection is strong, and is broken down by region. Do yourself a favor, and spend some time tasting through it.) The wine list is no different, with everything from Sherry and other fortified dessert wines, to sparkling, whites, roses, and reds, Old World and New World alike. Other libations live here, as well, like brandy, absinthe, and Amari, and house cocktails, beer, and cider. And finally, they offer a small selection of bar snacks available to abet in your tasting journey, wherever it may take you.

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10. 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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11. Beer Market Co. 920 Studemont St, Houston, TX 77007 (The Greater Heights)

The cozy drinkery in Washington houses the largest selection of brews in the city – 365 to be exact – which it rotates regularly so that "you won’t get bored." It also has TVs flanking every inch of wall space, plenty of covered outdoor seating, and seriously good pub grub, from burgers to wings. There's even a stage set up for live music when there are no big games on.