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18 Essential Houston Cocktail Bars

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

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Houston is a drinker’s paradise. In addition to a flourishing scene of bars serving up fancy cocktails and top-quality spirits, there are also plenty of spots in the Bayou City to enjoy a simple beer and a shot, with a side of greasy bar food.

And thankfully, many of Houston’s best bars have recently reemerged after months-long COVID closures, giving the city’s denizens even more watering hole options.

But where does one find the finest drinks in town? Use this map as a guide to Houston’s 18 essential bars, ranging from revered cocktail haunts to casual, laid-back dives with quality libations.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Monkey's Tail

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5802 Fulton St
Houston, TX 77009
(713) 842-7188
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This Lindale Park spot offers tropical cocktails like the Tropic Like It’s Hot, made with grapefruit vodka, aontillado sherry, and coconut water; and the El Sabio, with blanco tequila, falernum, and pineapple. The cantina-like vibe is rounded out with a selection of bar food, including tacos, flautas and nachos.

2. Lei Low

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6412 N Main St Ste C
Houston, TX
(713) 380-2968
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Inarguably one of the country’s finest tiki bars, Lei Low is seriously dedicated to the Polynesian theme. The rum is always flowing heavily, and it’s mixed into cocktails that are equal parts thoughtful and playful, featuring fanciful garnishes like bananas carved to look like dolphins. Want to keep that adorable shark tiki mug? Take it home for $15.



Lei Low/Facebook

3. Eight Row Flint

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1039 Yale St
Houston, TX
(713) 880-8463
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With a focus on whiskey, beer, and tacos, it’s no surprise that Eight Row Flint is a perennial Houston favorite. The patio here is a neighborhood favorite, and the frozen cocktails are sippable year-round.

Eight Row Flint/Facebook

4. Kanpai Club

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518 W 11th St Suite 500
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 393-7425

The Heights newcomer is hidden in what was once a literal storage closet next to sushi bar Hando. Modeled after a Japanese alley bar, the menu include sake and Japanese-liquor cocktails, like the Sweet Gin Music, made with Roku Gin, Genepy, shishito pepeprs and lime.

5. Better Luck Tomorrow

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544 Yale St
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 802-0845
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In the Heights, Houston cocktail empresario Bobby Heugel and chef Justin Yu are cooking up bar magic. The cocktail menu at BLT is fresh and playful, and the famous “Party Melt” is the definition of the perfect bar food.

The "party melt" at Better Luck Tomorrow
The "party melt" at Better Luck Tomorrow
Jenn Duncan

6. Julep

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1919 Washington Ave Ste A
Houston, TX
(832) 831-2068
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Alba Huerta has long been known as one of Houston’s finest bartenders, and those skills are permanently on display at Julep. Enjoy inventive versions of the bar’s namesake cocktail, like a julep spiked with honeysuckle and coconut, or spring for the $20 Ramos gin fizz, which is shaken vigorously to frothy perfection.

7. Warren's Inn

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307 Travis St
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 247-9207

This longtime Downtown lounge has a worn-in feel, but still gives the impression of its once glory, with wood paneling, oversized chandeliers, tarnished mirrors, and a real juke box. The cocktails are strong and unfussy, and it is one of the few places in the city to get a proper Grasshopper, the cacao and creme de menthe cocktail that was popular in the 1950s.

8. The Pastry War

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310 Main St
Houston, TX
(713) 226-7770
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Yet another Bobby Heugel bar, The Pastry War serves up Houston’s best selection of agave-based spirits and cocktails designed to highlight the unique flavor profiles of each tequila and mezcal.

The Pastry War
The Pastry War

9. Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirits Lodge

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308 1/2 Main St
Houston, TX

Outside of having the best bar name in Houston, Captain Foxheart’s is also a haven for whiskey enthusiasts. The giant bar and equally expansive patio are surpassed only by the wide selection of spirits.

Captain Foxhearts/Facebook

10. Miss Carousel

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1201 St Emanuel St
Houston, TX 77003
(832) 582-7330
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This EaDo bar takes its cues from mid-century industrial design, and without an actual bar to sit at, feels more like a hotel lobby or someone’s spacious living room. Drinks run the gamuts from classic highballs to amaro-based concotions, like the Dead Man’s Handle, an elevated margarita with Aperol and orgeat.

11. Lola's Depot

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2327 Grant St
Houston, TX
(713) 528-8342

Arguably Houston’s finest dive bar, Lola’s keeps it real one hundred percent of the time. Pick a selection of tunes from the well-curated jukebox, and enjoy drinks that are as cheap as they are potent.

12. The Lounge at March

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1624 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006
(832) 380-2481
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This swanky new cocktail lounge, inside tasting menu restaurant March, offers the perfect place for an apertif, especially the house-made vermouth, served in a round porthole-style infuser stuffed with flowers and herbs. You don’t need to have a reservation for the restaurant though — the Lounge is now taking bookings for just drinks.

13. Anvil Bar & Refuge

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1424 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX
(713) 523-1622
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The O.G. of Houston’s flourishing cocktail scene, Bobby Heugel’s obsessively particular Anvil is still one of the city’s finest bars. In addition to the rigorous training program for its bartenders, this Montrose institution also offers a consistently solid selection of spirits, which produces truly ideal cocktails.

Anvil Bar
Anvil Bar and Refuge

14. Poison Girl

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1641 Westheimer Rd Ste B
Houston, TX
(713) 527-9929

Don’t spend all your money on the pinball machines at Poison Girl. Boasting the self-described best selection of American whiskeys in Texas, brown liquor is a much better choice here. Just drink it straight-up, or mix it into a summery bramble or one of the city’s best Old Fashioneds.

15. Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails

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3622 Main St
Houston, TX 77002

This MidMain cocktail bar hass two identities — coffee shop by day, cocktail bar by night. As a result, the drinks menu includes come of the best coffee cocktails in Houston, like the Betty Whizzle, made with coffee-infused rum, fresh cream and espresso.

16. The Toasted Coconut

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1617 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 485-4775
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This modern tropical bar and restaurant from the minds behind Nobie melts Asian-inspired eats with refreshing rum and juice drinks. The menu changes regularly, but standouts include the namesake drink, a sophisticated take on the piña coloda, or the refreshing Ocean Water, made with rum, passionfruit, coconut water and Topo Chico. Sit on the palm-lined patio and be instantly transported to an island escape.

17. Grand Prize Bar

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1010 Banks St
Houston, TX
(713) 526-4566

Outside of the tenuous parking situation, Grand Prize is a homey bar that doesn’t skimp on cocktail quality. Craving a specific cocktail, perhaps a solid daiquiri or well-mixed Manhattan? The bartenders here can definitely get it done.

Grand Prize Bar
Grand Prize Bar

18. Under the Volcano

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2349 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77005
(713) 526-5282
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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.

1. Monkey's Tail

5802 Fulton St, Houston, TX 77009

This Lindale Park spot offers tropical cocktails like the Tropic Like It’s Hot, made with grapefruit vodka, aontillado sherry, and coconut water; and the El Sabio, with blanco tequila, falernum, and pineapple. The cantina-like vibe is rounded out with a selection of bar food, including tacos, flautas and nachos.

5802 Fulton St
Houston, TX 77009

2. Lei Low

6412 N Main St Ste C, Houston, TX


Lei Low/Facebook

Inarguably one of the country’s finest tiki bars, Lei Low is seriously dedicated to the Polynesian theme. The rum is always flowing heavily, and it’s mixed into cocktails that are equal parts thoughtful and playful, featuring fanciful garnishes like bananas carved to look like dolphins. Want to keep that adorable shark tiki mug? Take it home for $15.

6412 N Main St Ste C
Houston, TX

3. Eight Row Flint

1039 Yale St, Houston, TX
Eight Row Flint/Facebook

With a focus on whiskey, beer, and tacos, it’s no surprise that Eight Row Flint is a perennial Houston favorite. The patio here is a neighborhood favorite, and the frozen cocktails are sippable year-round.

1039 Yale St
Houston, TX

4. Kanpai Club

518 W 11th St Suite 500, Houston, TX 77008

The Heights newcomer is hidden in what was once a literal storage closet next to sushi bar Hando. Modeled after a Japanese alley bar, the menu include sake and Japanese-liquor cocktails, like the Sweet Gin Music, made with Roku Gin, Genepy, shishito pepeprs and lime.

518 W 11th St Suite 500
Houston, TX 77008

5. Better Luck Tomorrow

544 Yale St, Houston, TX 77007
The "party melt" at Better Luck Tomorrow
The "party melt" at Better Luck Tomorrow
Jenn Duncan

In the Heights, Houston cocktail empresario Bobby Heugel and chef Justin Yu are cooking up bar magic. The cocktail menu at BLT is fresh and playful, and the famous “Party Melt” is the definition of the perfect bar food.

544 Yale St
Houston, TX 77007

6. Julep

1919 Washington Ave Ste A, Houston, TX

Alba Huerta has long been known as one of Houston’s finest bartenders, and those skills are permanently on display at Julep. Enjoy inventive versions of the bar’s namesake cocktail, like a julep spiked with honeysuckle and coconut, or spring for the $20 Ramos gin fizz, which is shaken vigorously to frothy perfection.

1919 Washington Ave Ste A
Houston, TX

7. Warren's Inn

307 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

This longtime Downtown lounge has a worn-in feel, but still gives the impression of its once glory, with wood paneling, oversized chandeliers, tarnished mirrors, and a real juke box. The cocktails are strong and unfussy, and it is one of the few places in the city to get a proper Grasshopper, the cacao and creme de menthe cocktail that was popular in the 1950s.

307 Travis St
Houston, TX 77002

8. The Pastry War

310 Main St, Houston, TX
The Pastry War
The Pastry War

Yet another Bobby Heugel bar, The Pastry War serves up Houston’s best selection of agave-based spirits and cocktails designed to highlight the unique flavor profiles of each tequila and mezcal.

310 Main St
Houston, TX

9. Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirits Lodge

308 1/2 Main St, Houston, TX
Captain Foxhearts/Facebook

Outside of having the best bar name in Houston, Captain Foxheart’s is also a haven for whiskey enthusiasts. The giant bar and equally expansive patio are surpassed only by the wide selection of spirits.

308 1/2 Main St
Houston, TX

10. Miss Carousel

1201 St Emanuel St, Houston, TX 77003

This EaDo bar takes its cues from mid-century industrial design, and without an actual bar to sit at, feels more like a hotel lobby or someone’s spacious living room. Drinks run the gamuts from classic highballs to amaro-based concotions, like the Dead Man’s Handle, an elevated margarita with Aperol and orgeat.

1201 St Emanuel St
Houston, TX 77003

11. Lola's Depot

2327 Grant St, Houston, TX

Arguably Houston’s finest dive bar, Lola’s keeps it real one hundred percent of the time. Pick a selection of tunes from the well-curated jukebox, and enjoy drinks that are as cheap as they are potent.

2327 Grant St
Houston, TX

12. The Lounge at March

1624 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

This swanky new cocktail lounge, inside tasting menu restaurant March, offers the perfect place for an apertif, especially the house-made vermouth, served in a round porthole-style infuser stuffed with flowers and herbs. You don’t need to have a reservation for the restaurant though — the Lounge is now taking bookings for just drinks.

1624 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

13. Anvil Bar & Refuge

1424 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX
Anvil Bar
Anvil Bar and Refuge

The O.G. of Houston’s flourishing cocktail scene, Bobby Heugel’s obsessively particular Anvil is still one of the city’s finest bars. In addition to the rigorous training program for its bartenders, this Montrose institution also offers a consistently solid selection of spirits, which produces truly ideal cocktails.

1424 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX

14. Poison Girl

1641 Westheimer Rd Ste B, Houston, TX

Don’t spend all your money on the pinball machines at Poison Girl. Boasting the self-described best selection of American whiskeys in Texas, brown liquor is a much better choice here. Just drink it straight-up, or mix it into a summery bramble or one of the city’s best Old Fashioneds.

1641 Westheimer Rd Ste B
Houston, TX

15. Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails

3622 Main St, Houston, TX 77002

This MidMain cocktail bar hass two identities — coffee shop by day, cocktail bar by night. As a result, the drinks menu includes come of the best coffee cocktails in Houston, like the Betty Whizzle, made with coffee-infused rum, fresh cream and espresso.

3622 Main St
Houston, TX 77002

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16. The Toasted Coconut

1617 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77006

This modern tropical bar and restaurant from the minds behind Nobie melts Asian-inspired eats with refreshing rum and juice drinks. The menu changes regularly, but standouts include the namesake drink, a sophisticated take on the piña coloda, or the refreshing Ocean Water, made with rum, passionfruit, coconut water and Topo Chico. Sit on the palm-lined patio and be instantly transported to an island escape.

1617 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77006

17. Grand Prize Bar

1010 Banks St, Houston, TX
Grand Prize Bar
Grand Prize Bar

Outside of the tenuous parking situation, Grand Prize is a homey bar that doesn’t skimp on cocktail quality. Craving a specific cocktail, perhaps a solid daiquiri or well-mixed Manhattan? The bartenders here can definitely get it done.

1010 Banks St
Houston, TX

18. Under the Volcano

2349 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005

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.

2349 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77005

Related Maps