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Eight Row Flint’s bar.
Spend some time at these Houston watering holes.
Agricole Hospitality

17 Essential Houston Cocktail Bars

Fancy lounges, laid-back bars, dives, and everything in between

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Spend some time at these Houston watering holes.
| Agricole Hospitality

Houston is a drinker’s paradise, and with a bar scene as diverse as its citizens, Bayou City offers everything from top-quality margaritas, fancy Old Fashioneds, and an assortment of G&T’s and Ranch Waters, to craft beers and carefully selected wines.

But where does one find the finest drinks in town? Use this map as a guide to Houston’s 17 essential bars, ranging from revered cocktail haunts to casual, laid-back dives with quality libations.

With COVID claiming the life of downtown’s beloved Pastry War, this list has been refreshed to make room for bars like Permission, the Ready Room, and Johnny’s Gold Brick, and has rotated out Warren’s Inn, Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails, and The Toasted Coconut (though each still slings solid sips).

Is your favorite cocktail bar missing from this map? Shout it out in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Monkey's Tail

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Get tropical with one of Lindale Park’s brightest stars, which offers festive cocktails like the Fresca Cantarito, made with blanco tequila, rum, tamarindo, strawberry, and ginger beer, served in a clay pot; or their tequila-based It’s Not Easy Being Green, made with Midori, kiwi, coco cream, and manzanilla sherry. The cantina-like vibe is rounded out with a great selection of bar food, including pizza by the slice and the famous Chango burger served with Valentina mayo. 

Johnny's Gold Brick

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With an inviting mid-century vibe, great music, and $10 classic cocktails, Johnny’s Gold Brick is a no-brainer when it comes to grabbing a cocktail. Plus, the bar gets into the Christmas spirit, transforming into Santa’s Wonderland when the holiday rolls around. Be sure to grab a reservation early as spaces fill up quickly during the holly jolly festivities.

Lei Low

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Known proudly as one of the best tiki bars in the country, Lei Low takes its reputation very seriously. With no shortage of rum, paper umbrellas, and giant tiki drinking vessels, their perfectly playful cocktails never miss.

Eight Row Flint

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Credited with being one of the first bars in the country to serve the Ranch Water cocktail, Eight Row Flint has a monopoly on Houston’s drinking game with whiskey, beer, and tacos being just some of their specialties. Their frozen Negronis, though, are an unsung hero, as are their well-placed fans, which come in clutch with Houston’s abundant patio weather, making this Heights bar the perfect spot to grab a cold one outside.

A spread of hot dogs, wings, sliders, shots, cocktails, and beers at Eight Row Flint.
Going beyond drinks, Eight Row Flint and offers some pretty stellar bar food, too.
Agricole Hospitality

Kanpai Club

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Modeled after a Japanese alley bar, Hando’s little sister serves up sake and Japanese-inspired cocktails, like a rotating list of “frozakes” and matcha highballs. Looking to try out some drinks for less? Stop by after 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday for half off all cocktails.

an array of tropical cocktails sitting on a bar, including a drink served in a coconut-shaped mug with a tiny umbrella
Kanpai Club’s cocktails offer a fun way to unwind.
Kanpai Club

Permission

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This luxurious bar is a whiskey lover’s dream. Featuring whiskeys from across the globe, Permission makes finding that elusive bottle of Weller, Blanton’s, or E.H. Taylor a little easier. Offering delightful espresso martinis and a bespoke gin and tonic, options for folks who might not be keen on brown liquor are plentiful.

The Ready Room

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This Heights lounge keeps a low profile with minimal signage while letting its ambiance and classy cocktails do the talking. Fun Houston-inspired drinks like the Continental Zydeco, a mixture of gin, Pineau de Charentes, Raspberry Eau-de-vie, and orange bitters, and “house classics” like the espresso martini are bound to make you feel right at home. Love live music? Vibe out to jazz Thursday through Saturday (Note: the cover charge will run you $5 or $10 depending on the night). 

Better Luck Tomorrow

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It’s safe to say that everything this bar does, it does it well. Helmed by Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu, BLT brings fresh and thoughtful cocktails to the Heights with charming specials that often change with the weather. Find half-off daiquiris when it’s over 100 degrees, half-off Irish coffees when it’s under 40, and weekly food offerings like pasta and steak nights.

Houston’s newest James Beard Award winner has been one of the crown jewels of the Houston cocktail scene for a hot minute. Try elegant riffs on their namesake cocktail like the Tepache julep, featuring fermented pineapple beverage and mezcal, or spring for the $20 Ramos gin fizz, which is shaken vigorously to frothy perfection.

Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirits Lodge

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With an impressive whiskey selection and a patio overlooking Downtown’s Main Street, Captain Foxheart’s feels like a cozy neighborhood bar in the city’s center. Be sure to indulge at its long dark bar— a  great place to belly up and converse.

Miss Carousel

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With the vibe of your friend’s super cool industrial loft, but with cocktails, this local hangout spot offers an extensive spirits list and an adventurous plethora of house cocktails that appeal to just about anyone. Try the Birds & the Bees, featuring gin, Italicus bergamotto, yellow chartreuse, honey, and egg white.

Lola's Depot

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This dive bar is an institution for a reason. Affordable, strong, and no-frills, Lola’s purple glow shines like a halo to all cocktail seekers on the east side of Montrose.

The Lounge at March

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Nestled inside Goodnight Hospitality’s March, The Lounge is the perfect place to sample seasonal house-made vermouth and take in the gorgeous interiors. You don’t need to have a reservation for the restaurant, though — the Lounge takes bookings for just drinks.

Anvil Bar & Refuge

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The patron saint of Houston’s cocktail scene, Bobby Heugel’s Anvil continues to deliver expertly crafted cocktails in one of Houston’s best bars. Perfect for a first date or a quick drink with friends, this Montrose powerhouse showcases some of the city’s best vibes and bartenders. Whether you opt for something from their ever-changing list of eight original cocktails or a classic like a French 75, rest assured it will be made to perfection.

Poison Girl

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Whiskey with a side of pinball only means one thing: a great night. However you prefer your spirits — whether straight up, on the rocks, or dressed up pretty in one of H-Town’s best Old-Fashioneds, Poison Girl is bound to serve it up right.

Grand Prize Bar

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Since 2010, Grand Prize has delivered Montrose grunge and sharp cocktails south of I-59. Don’t bother driving and trying to park. A rideshare service or designated DD is the best way to ensure you can stay and enjoy all this bar has to offer.

Under the Volcano

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Long before the craft cocktail movement hit Houston, The Volcano was one of the few bars making every drink with hand-squeezed juice, including basic mixed drinks like the greyhound to more complicated cocktails like Green or Red, a tequila and rum drink mixed with muddled bell peppers and basil. The decidedly laid-back bar is also known for its frozen screwdrivers and Cuba Libres.

Monkey's Tail

Get tropical with one of Lindale Park’s brightest stars, which offers festive cocktails like the Fresca Cantarito, made with blanco tequila, rum, tamarindo, strawberry, and ginger beer, served in a clay pot; or their tequila-based It’s Not Easy Being Green, made with Midori, kiwi, coco cream, and manzanilla sherry. The cantina-like vibe is rounded out with a great selection of bar food, including pizza by the slice and the famous Chango burger served with Valentina mayo. 

Johnny's Gold Brick

With an inviting mid-century vibe, great music, and $10 classic cocktails, Johnny’s Gold Brick is a no-brainer when it comes to grabbing a cocktail. Plus, the bar gets into the Christmas spirit, transforming into Santa’s Wonderland when the holiday rolls around. Be sure to grab a reservation early as spaces fill up quickly during the holly jolly festivities.

Lei Low

Known proudly as one of the best tiki bars in the country, Lei Low takes its reputation very seriously. With no shortage of rum, paper umbrellas, and giant tiki drinking vessels, their perfectly playful cocktails never miss.

Eight Row Flint

A spread of hot dogs, wings, sliders, shots, cocktails, and beers at Eight Row Flint.
Going beyond drinks, Eight Row Flint and offers some pretty stellar bar food, too.
Agricole Hospitality

Credited with being one of the first bars in the country to serve the Ranch Water cocktail, Eight Row Flint has a monopoly on Houston’s drinking game with whiskey, beer, and tacos being just some of their specialties. Their frozen Negronis, though, are an unsung hero, as are their well-placed fans, which come in clutch with Houston’s abundant patio weather, making this Heights bar the perfect spot to grab a cold one outside.

A spread of hot dogs, wings, sliders, shots, cocktails, and beers at Eight Row Flint.
Going beyond drinks, Eight Row Flint and offers some pretty stellar bar food, too.
Agricole Hospitality

Kanpai Club

an array of tropical cocktails sitting on a bar, including a drink served in a coconut-shaped mug with a tiny umbrella
Kanpai Club’s cocktails offer a fun way to unwind.
Kanpai Club

Modeled after a Japanese alley bar, Hando’s little sister serves up sake and Japanese-inspired cocktails, like a rotating list of “frozakes” and matcha highballs. Looking to try out some drinks for less? Stop by after 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday for half off all cocktails.

an array of tropical cocktails sitting on a bar, including a drink served in a coconut-shaped mug with a tiny umbrella
Kanpai Club’s cocktails offer a fun way to unwind.
Kanpai Club

Permission

This luxurious bar is a whiskey lover’s dream. Featuring whiskeys from across the globe, Permission makes finding that elusive bottle of Weller, Blanton’s, or E.H. Taylor a little easier. Offering delightful espresso martinis and a bespoke gin and tonic, options for folks who might not be keen on brown liquor are plentiful.

The Ready Room

This Heights lounge keeps a low profile with minimal signage while letting its ambiance and classy cocktails do the talking. Fun Houston-inspired drinks like the Continental Zydeco, a mixture of gin, Pineau de Charentes, Raspberry Eau-de-vie, and orange bitters, and “house classics” like the espresso martini are bound to make you feel right at home. Love live music? Vibe out to jazz Thursday through Saturday (Note: the cover charge will run you $5 or $10 depending on the night). 

Better Luck Tomorrow

It’s safe to say that everything this bar does, it does it well. Helmed by Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu, BLT brings fresh and thoughtful cocktails to the Heights with charming specials that often change with the weather. Find half-off daiquiris when it’s over 100 degrees, half-off Irish coffees when it’s under 40, and weekly food offerings like pasta and steak nights.

Julep

Houston’s newest James Beard Award winner has been one of the crown jewels of the Houston cocktail scene for a hot minute. Try elegant riffs on their namesake cocktail like the Tepache julep, featuring fermented pineapple beverage and mezcal, or spring for the $20 Ramos gin fizz, which is shaken vigorously to frothy perfection.

Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirits Lodge

With an impressive whiskey selection and a patio overlooking Downtown’s Main Street, Captain Foxheart’s feels like a cozy neighborhood bar in the city’s center. Be sure to indulge at its long dark bar— a  great place to belly up and converse.

Miss Carousel

With the vibe of your friend’s super cool industrial loft, but with cocktails, this local hangout spot offers an extensive spirits list and an adventurous plethora of house cocktails that appeal to just about anyone. Try the Birds & the Bees, featuring gin, Italicus bergamotto, yellow chartreuse, honey, and egg white.

Lola's Depot

This dive bar is an institution for a reason. Affordable, strong, and no-frills, Lola’s purple glow shines like a halo to all cocktail seekers on the east side of Montrose.

The Lounge at March

Nestled inside Goodnight Hospitality’s March, The Lounge is the perfect place to sample seasonal house-made vermouth and take in the gorgeous interiors. You don’t need to have a reservation for the restaurant, though — the Lounge takes bookings for just drinks.

Anvil Bar & Refuge

The patron saint of Houston’s cocktail scene, Bobby Heugel’s Anvil continues to deliver expertly crafted cocktails in one of Houston’s best bars. Perfect for a first date or a quick drink with friends, this Montrose powerhouse showcases some of the city’s best vibes and bartenders. Whether you opt for something from their ever-changing list of eight original cocktails or a classic like a French 75, rest assured it will be made to perfection.

Poison Girl

Whiskey with a side of pinball only means one thing: a great night. However you prefer your spirits — whether straight up, on the rocks, or dressed up pretty in one of H-Town’s best Old-Fashioneds, Poison Girl is bound to serve it up right.

Related Maps

Grand Prize Bar

Since 2010, Grand Prize has delivered Montrose grunge and sharp cocktails south of I-59. Don’t bother driving and trying to park. A rideshare service or designated DD is the best way to ensure you can stay and enjoy all this bar has to offer.

Under the Volcano

Long before the craft cocktail movement hit Houston, The Volcano was one of the few bars making every drink with hand-squeezed juice, including basic mixed drinks like the greyhound to more complicated cocktails like Green or Red, a tequila and rum drink mixed with muddled bell peppers and basil. The decidedly laid-back bar is also known for its frozen screwdrivers and Cuba Libres.

Related Maps