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The Hit List: Raising the Bar

Just in time for the holidays, these H-Town gathering spots are elevating bar menus to delicious new heights. ’Tis the season!

The Tasting Room City Centre

1. Pair and Share are the new buzzwords at The Tasting Room’s City Centre location (281.822.1500), where instead of courses, dishes are served tapas-style so the table can share. On the new menu, don’t miss the smoked duck pizza with Bordeaux cherries; lamb skewers with chimichurri; or the grilled bread with creamed spinach and grilled artichokes.

2. Washington hotspot Julep (1919 Washington Ave., 713.869.4383) has new bar bites and an irresistible cocktail deal. Thirty classic cocktails have joined the roster at a fraction of the regular price. Sip on Mississippi Punch and nosh on shrimp cocktail, chilled oysters on the half-shell or Southern boiled peanuts.

3. Hip new The Nightingale Room (308 Main St., 713.555.1111) by the Clumsy Butcher Group focuses on entertainment and live music, but the drinks shine just as bright. Share a flight of shooters or warm things up with the Winter Cosmo. Three variations of savory hot dogs will beg for your attention.

4. Triniti’s (2815 S. Shepherd Dr., 713.527.9090) rechristened Sanctuari Bar has a new slick look and cocktail menu divvied up into three sections. (It’s hard to decide among the selections that fall into categories named Drink Me, Effervescent and Afters.) Chef-driven bar bites include beef tartare with quail egg, Devils on Horseback (gorgonzola-stuffed figs with bacon) or a trio of fancy toasts. Quite fancy, indeed!

5. Posh Radio Milano inside Hotel Sorella (in CityCentre, 713.827.3545) touts the street-level Milano Bar, which dispenses almost 20 creative cocktails, global wines and Italian liquors including grappas. Indulge in small plates of crab ravioli with huckleberry gelée pasta; tuna crudo with avocado sauce; or Milano pizza with real truffle cream and proscuitto.