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Bartenders Share Houston's Best Underrated Bars

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Big Star Bar
| Official Site

Writer Guy Martin once described Mississippi drinkery Junior's as the perfect bar, saying that it had "that stripped-down thing that often occurs in great Southern bars: It dove for the low end with such force and velocity that it punched through the bottom and came out on top." That's the best way to describe some great local hangouts that often go unnoticed. Leave it to the industry pros—bartenders, bar managers or industry vets—to tell us just where to find those stripped-down spots that serve up good drinks. Or at least cold drinks in unassuming atmospheres. In a city teeming with great cocktail bars, it's easy to miss the under-the-radar places that bar knowers frequent. Here now are some local bar folks who tell us where they head for just that sort of thing.

· All Cocktail Week 2013 Coverage [-EHOU-]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Dutchman

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834 Wakefield Dr
Houston, TX 77018
Co-owner of Ladies of Libation and Saint Arnold's bartender Leslie Ross: "The Dutchman. Traditional ice house, frozen in time in the 1970's with its wood paneling and pergo walls, to neons and one of those 25-cent machines that promise warm nuts. The woman behind the bar looks like she belongs in one of those warm places full of sand and sea that we all promise ourselves we will retire to when the time is right, but instead, she gingerly reaches into the cooler for your Lone Star, and you almost feel guilty that she opens it. That is, until you see her cigarette atop her PINT GLASS of Wild Turkey.”

2. Red's Country Place

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833 Wakefield Dr
Houston, TX
(713) 697-1924
Ross also chose this place, saying that her boyfriend once witnessed a patron having a heart attack here, and that when she first went she saw that "guy's Rascal plugged into the wall. He was sitting at the bar having a beer. Best. Dive bar. Ever. [It] looks like Jimmy Buffet got wasted and pitched an idea to an interior designer."

3. The Next Door

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2020 Waugh Dr
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 520-1712
Goro & Gun's Alexander Gregg: “I would have to go with The Next Door. They have one of Houston’s best jukeboxes- you can hear Geto Boys, Slayer, Ministry and Butthole Surfers all in a 10-minute span. Their Lone Star is the coldest in town, there's always excellent art on the walls, and a zero doucheness threshold. Bonus: I can hang out right in the middle of Montrose and not run into anyone from the (food and drink) scene.”

4. Big Star Bar

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1005 W 19th St
Houston, TX 77008
(281) 501-9560
Houston USBG President Luis Villegas: "Big Star in the Heights! Very quiet, cheap drinks, outside area, and the best thing: It's always open until two."

5. Leon's Lounge

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1006 McGowen St
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 659-5366
The Pastry War's Alba Huerta: "It's not a hole in the wall, but I'm a big fan of Leon's. Their cocktail program has come a long way."

6. The Davenport Lounge

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1235 Clear Lake City Blvd
Houston, TX 77062
(281) 461-3283
Anvil's Terry Williams: "Davenport (not the original, the one in Clear Lake)- quiet and chill. Best whiskey selection south of the Beltway."

7. Hoppie's

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1201 W Main St
La Porte, TX 77571
(281) 470-9663
Williams: "Hoppies- Live music, karaoke, and cheap whiskey. What else could you ask for?"

8. Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails

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3622 Main St.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 874-0096
Hay Merchant and Liberty Station's Lainey Collum: “Double Trouble. I know I used to work there, but it's off the beaten path, and they have everything you could want. Excellent coffee (Greenway beans), badass cocktails, and a huge craft beer-in-a-can selection. In addition, everyone who works there is laid-back and inviting at the same time! It's good to get away right in the middle of the city.”

9. Capt. Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge

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308 1/2 Main St.
Houston, TX 77002
Leon Lounge's Caitlin Elyse Vann: "Because as convinced as I am that everyone knows about this bar I keep finding that many of my customers haven't heard of it or have no idea where this sneaky spot is. It's a really beautiful space with the best balcony. The bartenders are really knowledgeable and will have no problem turning you on to something new. Bad News just has an overall laid-back vibe.









"

10. D&W Lounge

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911 Milby St
Houston, TX 77023
Local artist and bartender Christa Havican (Christa Monster) cites W. Alabama Ice House and Warren's among her favorites. She also says that D&W "in [her] neighborhood" is another good spot.

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1. The Dutchman

834 Wakefield Dr, Houston, TX 77018
Co-owner of Ladies of Libation and Saint Arnold's bartender Leslie Ross: "The Dutchman. Traditional ice house, frozen in time in the 1970's with its wood paneling and pergo walls, to neons and one of those 25-cent machines that promise warm nuts. The woman behind the bar looks like she belongs in one of those warm places full of sand and sea that we all promise ourselves we will retire to when the time is right, but instead, she gingerly reaches into the cooler for your Lone Star, and you almost feel guilty that she opens it. That is, until you see her cigarette atop her PINT GLASS of Wild Turkey.”
834 Wakefield Dr
Houston, TX 77018

2. Red's Country Place

833 Wakefield Dr, Houston, TX
Ross also chose this place, saying that her boyfriend once witnessed a patron having a heart attack here, and that when she first went she saw that "guy's Rascal plugged into the wall. He was sitting at the bar having a beer. Best. Dive bar. Ever. [It] looks like Jimmy Buffet got wasted and pitched an idea to an interior designer."
833 Wakefield Dr
Houston, TX

3. The Next Door

2020 Waugh Dr, Houston, TX 77006
Goro & Gun's Alexander Gregg: “I would have to go with The Next Door. They have one of Houston’s best jukeboxes- you can hear Geto Boys, Slayer, Ministry and Butthole Surfers all in a 10-minute span. Their Lone Star is the coldest in town, there's always excellent art on the walls, and a zero doucheness threshold. Bonus: I can hang out right in the middle of Montrose and not run into anyone from the (food and drink) scene.”
2020 Waugh Dr
Houston, TX 77006

4. Big Star Bar

1005 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008
Houston USBG President Luis Villegas: "Big Star in the Heights! Very quiet, cheap drinks, outside area, and the best thing: It's always open until two."
1005 W 19th St
Houston, TX 77008

5. Leon's Lounge

1006 McGowen St, Houston, TX 77002
The Pastry War's Alba Huerta: "It's not a hole in the wall, but I'm a big fan of Leon's. Their cocktail program has come a long way."
1006 McGowen St
Houston, TX 77002

6. The Davenport Lounge

1235 Clear Lake City Blvd, Houston, TX 77062
Anvil's Terry Williams: "Davenport (not the original, the one in Clear Lake)- quiet and chill. Best whiskey selection south of the Beltway."
1235 Clear Lake City Blvd
Houston, TX 77062

7. Hoppie's

1201 W Main St, La Porte, TX 77571
Williams: "Hoppies- Live music, karaoke, and cheap whiskey. What else could you ask for?"
1201 W Main St
La Porte, TX 77571

8. Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails

3622 Main St., Houston, TX 77002
Hay Merchant and Liberty Station's Lainey Collum: “Double Trouble. I know I used to work there, but it's off the beaten path, and they have everything you could want. Excellent coffee (Greenway beans), badass cocktails, and a huge craft beer-in-a-can selection. In addition, everyone who works there is laid-back and inviting at the same time! It's good to get away right in the middle of the city.”
3622 Main St.
Houston, TX 77002

9. Capt. Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge

308 1/2 Main St., Houston, TX 77002
Leon Lounge's Caitlin Elyse Vann: "Because as convinced as I am that everyone knows about this bar I keep finding that many of my customers haven't heard of it or have no idea where this sneaky spot is. It's a really beautiful space with the best balcony. The bartenders are really knowledgeable and will have no problem turning you on to something new. Bad News just has an overall laid-back vibe.









"
308 1/2 Main St.
Houston, TX 77002

10. D&W Lounge

911 Milby St, Houston, TX 77023
Local artist and bartender Christa Havican (Christa Monster) cites W. Alabama Ice House and Warren's among her favorites. She also says that D&W "in [her] neighborhood" is another good spot.
911 Milby St
Houston, TX 77023

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