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Fizzy “Pretty in Pink” cocktail in a champagne glass with lemon slice as a garnish.
Todos Santos promises flirty drinks and plenty of photo ops.
Lisa Gochman

Houston’s 12 Hottest Cocktail Bars, September 2022

Charitable tequila, CBD-infused elixirs, a spin on the classics, and so much more

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Todos Santos promises flirty drinks and plenty of photo ops.
| Lisa Gochman

As a cosmopolitan city in a Southern state, Houstonians know how to imbibe. While established drinking institutions like Anvil Bar & Refuge and Lei Low are considered essential for their top-notch cocktails, newer bars, restaurants with great drinks, and watering holes with exciting, boozy, and buzzy offerings are popping up all over.

So, here’s Eater Houston’s newly-revamped cocktail heatmap — a place where curious drinkers will find cheeky bubblegum martinis, late-night bites, CBD- (or THC) infused beverages, and masterfully-made cocktails.

Cheers.

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

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Wild | Coffee | Bar | Dispensary

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From the owners behind Grinder’s Coffee Bar, this coffee bar and hangout spot offers a buzz in more ways than one with creative and quirky cocktails, coffee concoctions, and alcohol-free elixirs that can be spiked with your choice of liquor, CBD, or Delta 8, a hemp-based THC. Pick your poison at its full bar, with knowledgable bartenders who are willing to dream up a drink on the spot, or choose from the extensive cocktail list. The picturesque Pink Loco, made with or without CBD, offers sweet and tart sips, while the gin-based Hinoi High Five, garnished with a hemp leaf, offers a refreshing vibe. Going for a virgin drink? Try the frozen coffee. It’s that good.

A bright pink and purple cocktail in a pineapple-shaped class, topped with mint, a pink flower, and circular orange peels hanging on a pineapple toothpick for a garnish.
Wild’s edgy drinks are all named after a strain of hemp or cannabis.
Wild Concepts

Trash Panda Drinking Club

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Opened last July, Lindale Park’s drinking destination is still buzzing with creative bar bites, like “trashy” quesabirria, pasta “noodz,” and “supa thicc” pizza slices, plus a firmly tongue-in-cheek cocktail menu, including the Bubblegum Martini, made with gin, hibiscus, lime, and “bubblegum broth,” and the cognac-based Cereal Killer, made with cereal milk, pineapple amaro, vanilla, and egg.

Heights & Co.

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In just months, this patio bar has become a fun neighborhood hangout spot, with a pagoda with mood-setting string lights, covered patio tables, and a refreshing cocktail list. Try the Mini Hulk Smash, a refreshing combination of bourbon, basil, ginger, lemongrass, and Topo Chico, or the gin-based Hipstrict, made with strawberry, lemon, and coconut. The bar food here also features filling appetizers and dishes like the cheesy spinach and artichoke dip and the steak frites, with sage-oil fries, all covered in a creamy herb-loaded au poivre sauce.

Patterson Park Patio Bar

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Nestled on White Oak Bayou Trail, Patterson Park operates like a snazzy and stylish adult playground. There are breathtaking views of Downtown, a living room-like parlor area, and indoor-outdoor bars outfitted with TVs, perfect for cheering on your favorite sports team. The impressive menu of craft beers and cocktails is also a draw, with Ranch Water on tap, lip-tingling Fantasma cocktails mixed with Ghost tequila, cooling frozen Picklebacks, Thai chili margaritas, and innovative takes on cocktail classics.

Todos Santos

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This tequila bar promises more than 40 types of agave-based spirits and photo-ops galore thanks to its interactive, neon decor. Try the Sandia margarita, a mix of fresh watermelon juice, lime, and serrano for a spicy kick, or the fizzy Pretty in Pink, a combination of Calirosa’s rosé tequila, lemon, and Prosecco.

Though Julep is certainly not new, this bar has yet to go out of style. The recent recipient of the city’s first national James Beard Award, this bar makes a mean Mint Julep, a refreshing gimlet, a classic Old Fashioned, and dozens of cocktails to choose from. Try more inventive or Southern-style renditions of your favorites, like the Tepache Julep, made with sous vide pineapple, white wine, mezcal, maraschino, raspberry, and tamarindo, or the Jungle Bird — a combination of aged and Blackstrap rums, Campari, pineapple, and lime juice. Take advantage of the Monday through Friday happy hour. From 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., house cocktails and house wines are half-off.

Angel Share

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At this charity bar, you’ll find a welcoming setup, an impressive selection of whiskeys, agave-based spirits, and rums, and all-day happy hours on Monday. The best part? You can drink with a feel-good purpose. Choose items from the charity menu, like the Raspberry Gingersnap, a combination of gin, raspberry syrup, and ginger beer. Then, cast your vote for one of four local charities. At the end of each month, Angel Share gives the winning charity with the most votes 100 percent of the proceeds from its menu. Now, who says drinking can’t make the world a better place?

Clarkwood

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Trendy but vintage, this Old Hollywood-esque bar in the Allen Parkway corridor offers the perfect backdrop while indulging in classic cocktails. Try Mason’s Mayfair, a mix of gin, Peychaud’s bitters, and Fever-Tree tonic, or take it up a notch with a house shot like the “Persian Cowboy,” made with vodka, orange liqueur, and Persian key lime.

A rounded white bar is lit up in the center of a room, surrounded by chair, and topped with bottles.
Houston’s Clarkwood bar offers a trendy but vintage setting for a spin on classic cocktails.
Cameron Jones

South Beach Houston

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With its recent reopening, South Beach is back in a major way, with an 8-foot tall crystal chandelier, new DJs weekly, stiff drinks, and enough space on the dance floor to boogie the night away.

South Beach’s dance floor, illuminated by strobe lights and its 450-pound crystal chandelier.
South Beach is the perfect place to grab a drink and lay it all out on the dance floor.
Michael Anthony

Located just upstairs of the iconic cocktail bar Anvil & Refuge, Bobby Yeugel has created a delightfully moody “cocktail apartment,” boasting more than 200 spirits, including lesser-known liqueurs, gins, European brandies, and a variety of Japanese distilled spirits — plus, a selective cocktail list of just 20 drinks. Go for an “originals” cocktail like the Pacific Rim, made with shochu, kiwi, and lime, or opt for a cocktail from the “classics and riffs” section, which features a rendition of an Old Fashioned, a sazerac, and Yeugel’s signature martini — made with two gins, vermouth, and accouterments.

Owners of the Toasted Coconut have reopened the bar’s speakeasy, Quiote. Hidden behind a wall of greenery, the new bar touts a separate cocktail list with a variety of sotol, mezcal, and tequila, plus a food menu with raw and roasted oysters, crudos, and heartwarming pozole. One note of caution: Though the bar accepts walk-ins from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Friday through Sunday, reservations are highly recommended to land a spot at Quiote’s 14-seat bar. But if all else fails, you won’t be mad at grabbing a drink at Toasted.

Lees Den

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Billed as an urban treehouse, the paradise vibes are a major draw at this quaint wine bar. But the cocktails aren’t too shabby either. The sparkling sangria, Elderflower Spritz, or the champagne cocktail, made with a brown sugar cube and house bitters, make for perfect patio companions. If you’re skipping alcohol for the night, try their zero-proof Watermelon Cooler, made with fresh watermelon, elderflower cordial, lime, mint, and soda. Don’t miss out on their happy hour, held 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Lees Den cocktail with a side of chips.
Lees Den offers cocktails made with fresh juices and a variety of wines by the glass or bottle.
Jenn Duncan

Wild | Coffee | Bar | Dispensary

From the owners behind Grinder’s Coffee Bar, this coffee bar and hangout spot offers a buzz in more ways than one with creative and quirky cocktails, coffee concoctions, and alcohol-free elixirs that can be spiked with your choice of liquor, CBD, or Delta 8, a hemp-based THC. Pick your poison at its full bar, with knowledgable bartenders who are willing to dream up a drink on the spot, or choose from the extensive cocktail list. The picturesque Pink Loco, made with or without CBD, offers sweet and tart sips, while the gin-based Hinoi High Five, garnished with a hemp leaf, offers a refreshing vibe. Going for a virgin drink? Try the frozen coffee. It’s that good.

A bright pink and purple cocktail in a pineapple-shaped class, topped with mint, a pink flower, and circular orange peels hanging on a pineapple toothpick for a garnish.
Wild’s edgy drinks are all named after a strain of hemp or cannabis.
Wild Concepts

Trash Panda Drinking Club

Opened last July, Lindale Park’s drinking destination is still buzzing with creative bar bites, like “trashy” quesabirria, pasta “noodz,” and “supa thicc” pizza slices, plus a firmly tongue-in-cheek cocktail menu, including the Bubblegum Martini, made with gin, hibiscus, lime, and “bubblegum broth,” and the cognac-based Cereal Killer, made with cereal milk, pineapple amaro, vanilla, and egg.

Heights & Co.

In just months, this patio bar has become a fun neighborhood hangout spot, with a pagoda with mood-setting string lights, covered patio tables, and a refreshing cocktail list. Try the Mini Hulk Smash, a refreshing combination of bourbon, basil, ginger, lemongrass, and Topo Chico, or the gin-based Hipstrict, made with strawberry, lemon, and coconut. The bar food here also features filling appetizers and dishes like the cheesy spinach and artichoke dip and the steak frites, with sage-oil fries, all covered in a creamy herb-loaded au poivre sauce.

Patterson Park Patio Bar

Nestled on White Oak Bayou Trail, Patterson Park operates like a snazzy and stylish adult playground. There are breathtaking views of Downtown, a living room-like parlor area, and indoor-outdoor bars outfitted with TVs, perfect for cheering on your favorite sports team. The impressive menu of craft beers and cocktails is also a draw, with Ranch Water on tap, lip-tingling Fantasma cocktails mixed with Ghost tequila, cooling frozen Picklebacks, Thai chili margaritas, and innovative takes on cocktail classics.

Todos Santos

This tequila bar promises more than 40 types of agave-based spirits and photo-ops galore thanks to its interactive, neon decor. Try the Sandia margarita, a mix of fresh watermelon juice, lime, and serrano for a spicy kick, or the fizzy Pretty in Pink, a combination of Calirosa’s rosé tequila, lemon, and Prosecco.

Julep

Though Julep is certainly not new, this bar has yet to go out of style. The recent recipient of the city’s first national James Beard Award, this bar makes a mean Mint Julep, a refreshing gimlet, a classic Old Fashioned, and dozens of cocktails to choose from. Try more inventive or Southern-style renditions of your favorites, like the Tepache Julep, made with sous vide pineapple, white wine, mezcal, maraschino, raspberry, and tamarindo, or the Jungle Bird — a combination of aged and Blackstrap rums, Campari, pineapple, and lime juice. Take advantage of the Monday through Friday happy hour. From 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., house cocktails and house wines are half-off.

Angel Share

At this charity bar, you’ll find a welcoming setup, an impressive selection of whiskeys, agave-based spirits, and rums, and all-day happy hours on Monday. The best part? You can drink with a feel-good purpose. Choose items from the charity menu, like the Raspberry Gingersnap, a combination of gin, raspberry syrup, and ginger beer. Then, cast your vote for one of four local charities. At the end of each month, Angel Share gives the winning charity with the most votes 100 percent of the proceeds from its menu. Now, who says drinking can’t make the world a better place?

Clarkwood

Trendy but vintage, this Old Hollywood-esque bar in the Allen Parkway corridor offers the perfect backdrop while indulging in classic cocktails. Try Mason’s Mayfair, a mix of gin, Peychaud’s bitters, and Fever-Tree tonic, or take it up a notch with a house shot like the “Persian Cowboy,” made with vodka, orange liqueur, and Persian key lime.

A rounded white bar is lit up in the center of a room, surrounded by chair, and topped with bottles.
Houston’s Clarkwood bar offers a trendy but vintage setting for a spin on classic cocktails.
Cameron Jones

South Beach Houston

With its recent reopening, South Beach is back in a major way, with an 8-foot tall crystal chandelier, new DJs weekly, stiff drinks, and enough space on the dance floor to boogie the night away.

South Beach’s dance floor, illuminated by strobe lights and its 450-pound crystal chandelier.
South Beach is the perfect place to grab a drink and lay it all out on the dance floor.
Michael Anthony

Refuge

Located just upstairs of the iconic cocktail bar Anvil & Refuge, Bobby Yeugel has created a delightfully moody “cocktail apartment,” boasting more than 200 spirits, including lesser-known liqueurs, gins, European brandies, and a variety of Japanese distilled spirits — plus, a selective cocktail list of just 20 drinks. Go for an “originals” cocktail like the Pacific Rim, made with shochu, kiwi, and lime, or opt for a cocktail from the “classics and riffs” section, which features a rendition of an Old Fashioned, a sazerac, and Yeugel’s signature martini — made with two gins, vermouth, and accouterments.

Quiote

Owners of the Toasted Coconut have reopened the bar’s speakeasy, Quiote. Hidden behind a wall of greenery, the new bar touts a separate cocktail list with a variety of sotol, mezcal, and tequila, plus a food menu with raw and roasted oysters, crudos, and heartwarming pozole. One note of caution: Though the bar accepts walk-ins from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Friday through Sunday, reservations are highly recommended to land a spot at Quiote’s 14-seat bar. But if all else fails, you won’t be mad at grabbing a drink at Toasted.

Lees Den

Billed as an urban treehouse, the paradise vibes are a major draw at this quaint wine bar. But the cocktails aren’t too shabby either. The sparkling sangria, Elderflower Spritz, or the champagne cocktail, made with a brown sugar cube and house bitters, make for perfect patio companions. If you’re skipping alcohol for the night, try their zero-proof Watermelon Cooler, made with fresh watermelon, elderflower cordial, lime, mint, and soda. Don’t miss out on their happy hour, held 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Lees Den cocktail with a side of chips.
Lees Den offers cocktails made with fresh juices and a variety of wines by the glass or bottle.
Jenn Duncan

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