The weather’s not the only thing that’s hot this season. Here’s where to play after dark in Houston now!
... And Get Hungry
By all means, work up an appetite partying at one of the city’s most popular playgrounds—the West Ave mixed-use complex, where several restaurants tout not only very happening bar scenes, but also kitchens that stay open till 11pm on weekends. Try gastro-lounge Saint Genevieve’s (713.524.2441) new Mumbai fried chicken or crabcake sliders. Across the way, fashion-splashed and cocktail-savvy Katsuya (713.590.2800) adds its version of the Korean bibimbop dish—a sizzling pot of rice served with pork or short rib and topped with a fried egg—this month. And new arrival Del Frisco’s Grille (832.623.6168), the more party-hearty spinoff of the Galleria’s Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse which this spring bowed in the lofty site that was once Ava restaurant, touts a handsome, leather-and-wood-wrapped dining room and two patios. Expect dishes like the lamb burger, edamame falafel pita, sweet potato frites and pan-braised wild mushrooms.
In a city where some nighttime haunts sizzle one moment and fizzle the next, Belvedere (1131 Uptown Park Blvd.) has staying power. The posh, urbane lounge—a stylish crowd, varied in age, lines up along a long bar sipping cocktails made with orange- and blueberry-infused vodkas—turns 10 this year. Not laurel-resting, it’s added a new happy-hour menu, with snacks like bacon-wrapped sausage links served on wooden skewers with a slice of jalapeño.
As its Uptown Park spot turns 10 and renovates, original Houston wine bar The Tasting Room (1101 Uptown Park Blvd.) boasts outposts in CityCentre, Kingwood and River Oaks—and impress with its vast list including Max et Jacques pinot noir and other world exclusives. Meanwhile, beloved family-run Montrose cafe Paulie’s is spinning off a next-door wine bar, Camerata, focusing on boutique bottles.
Word on the Street
With the arrival of Houston’s second Max’s Wine Dive, the part of Fairview that stretches from Montrose into Midtown is a foodie-friendly block party! Max’s has served comfort food—Southern fried chicken, and root-beer-braised short ribs with fingerling potatoes—and vino at its always-packed Wash Ave location for six years, and now will expand next-door to year-old Cuchara (214 Fairview St.). The Mexico City-style bistro serves tasty variations on familiar foods, like hibiscus-flower-and-cheese tacos, and stuffed and grilled cactus with salsa. Nearby, patio-savvy Boheme Café & Wine Bar (307 Fairview St.) recently expanded its upper floors to include more lounge seating. Also, it brought back its ultrathin pizzas with toppings like prawns, wild boar and cranberries.
You probably know of Alba Huerta’s biz partner, Bobby Heugel, widely celebrated as the progenitor of the artisan cocktail craze in Houston after the lightning-in-a-bottle success of his Anvil, and the ongoing fandom that his Hay Merchant pub and new Blacksmith coffeeshop receive. But perhaps you don’t know her? Well that’s about to change. The pretty Latina, 32, takes the lead in opening Team Heugel’s next venture this fall, Julep (1919 Washington Ave.), its first foray into the nightlife wonderland of the Washington Corridor. Expect a Southern-fried version of Anvil carved out of an old uniform factory. As the name suggests, bourbon drinks will be highlighted. “A classic American bar with a Southern influence,” explains Huerta. “You’ll see us swizzling, shaking and building cocktails.”
Craft Beer Buzz
The fad goes on. 8th Wonder (2202 Dallas St.) has brewing classes, while Katy’s No Label Brewery (5351 1st St.) touts tours and seasonal sips and City Acre Brewing (3421 Folger St.) serves its beer in a Victorian mansion. Patrons fill growlers at Witchcraft Tavern & Provision Co. (1221 W. 11th St.) and Premium Draught (733 Studewood St.).
Movie theaters aren’t just for movies anymore. New Palladium AVX (7301 Grand Pkwy., Richmond) has 22 screens, including six Imax ones, plus a bowling alley and a sushi bar. And Downtown’s Sundance Cinemas (510 Texas Ave.) serves a full menu of food and vino during screenings of blockbusters and art films, and also boasts an art gallery.
All That Sparkles
Hip wine bars are making bubbles to pop! West Ave’s Cru offers half-off prices on its nearly 75 bottles of sparkling wine on Thursdays, while River Oaks-area Cha (810 Waugh St.) serves bites like duck-and-truffle Brie and, for the sweet tooth, Champagne doughnut bread pudding with Champagne flights. Cha also boasts live jazz often, and a pretty terrace with leavy treetop views. And Midtown standby 13 Celsius (3000 Caroline St.) offers a rotating list of curated Champagnes.
Nearby vineyards boast pairings of music and wine. At Lost Oak Winery (2116 FM 731, Burleson) artists perform on Saturdays. Bernhardt Winery’s (9043 Country Rd., Plantersville) lawn is home to Sunday evening orchestra sets at sunset. And eclectic musicians play Haak Winery (6310 Ave. T, Santa Fe) near Galveston on Saturday nights.
Reality TV hunk and ATX resident Brad Womack of Bachelor fame has claimed a corner of Houston’s Midtown, unveiling his 10th bar concept with identical twin Chad and their business partner Jason Carrier. Sports-minded The Dogwood (2403 Bagby St.)—it has 30 flat-screen TVs—opened earlier this year to great fanfare, seemingly attracting every PYT in town to the place’s pair of patios. Dogwood is a spinoff of the brothers’ highly successful Austin bar of the same name. They wanted to bring the some of the capital city’s laid-back attitude to H-Town, and emphasize the indoor and outdoor aspects of the bar equally. Explains Chad, “We wanted to create an environment that felt more like a backyard gathering than a bar or nightclub.”
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