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Clarkwood’s espresso martini topped with a torched marshmallow.
Houston’s cocktail game is strong.
Adrian Barboza

The 14 Hottest Houston Cocktail Bars, March 2022

Frozen tiki drinks, CBD-infused elixirs, a spin on the classics, and so much more

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Houston’s cocktail game is strong.
| Adrian Barboza

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 (and boozy) new 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.

Fitzcarraldo, Cowboy Surfer, Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge, East End Backyard, Tongue Cut Sparrow, EightyTwo, and Double Trouble Coffee & Cocktails have been removed to make way for newer bars like Clarkwood, Julep, ReikiNa, and Wild.

Cheers.

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

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Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Wild | Coffee | Bar | Dispensary

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2121 N Shepherd Dr Suite C
Houston, TX 77008
(346) 571-0453
Visit Website

From the owners behind Grinder’s Coffee Bar, this newly-opened coffee bar and hangout spot offers a buzz in more ways than one with creative and quirky cocktails, all-day 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, crafted by Ladies of Libation, which features a smoked Old Fashioned lit up before your eyes. 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 cannibis.
Wild Concepts

2. Space Cowboy

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100 W Cavalcade St
Houston, TX 77009

The hip Heights House Hotel off Cavalcade plays host to this spacey poolside bar, which serves up Ranch Water on tap and staycation-worthy drinks like the Pajaro, a take on the classic jungle bird cocktail. In for a quick hit? Try the watermelon-flavored rum jello shots with house-made tajin and lime, or get adventurous with the $9 mystery pouches, which contain “everything you need to regret your night.” “Space” hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. May the force be with you.

3. Diversion Cocktails

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7202 Long Point Rd
Houston, TX 77055

This sister bar to chef Brandon Silva’s tasting restaurant Degust includes cocktails made with ingredients from local urban farms and an immersive, rotating drink menu that features unlikely pairings. The spicy, refreshing “Tequila #2,” features cabernet and Texas peaches. The “Bone Marrow” includes citrus bitters, a pepper tincture, and you guessed it — bone marrow, and the bourbon and cognac-based Cereal Milk cocktail features a mix of house-frosted corn flakes, and milk, coriander, with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla that tastes like breakfast.

a cocktail served in a chocolate mug and garnished with seashells.
Diversion’s Day at the Beach cocktail features a dark rum and gin, mixed with Texas peach cordial, and a house tarragon cream sauce.
Diversion

4. Shoot the Moon

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8155 Long Point Rd
Houston, TX 77055
(281) 888-4801
Visit Website

This new pour-your-own bar boasts more than 80 taps of beer, wine, and batch cocktails, and allows diners to serve themselves anywhere from one ounce to a full pour — meaning you can try various options before committing to a full glass. Food-wise, STMs menu includes delicious thin-crust pizzas and sharable plates that’ll keep you eating.

5. Trash Panda Drinking Club

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4203 Edison St
Houston, TX 77009

Lindale Park’s drinking destination offers creative bar bites, like black hummus made with black garbanzo beans and chaat masala, and “trashy” quesabirria, plus a firmly tongue-in-cheek cocktail menu, including the Bubblegum Martini, made with gin, hibiscus, lime, and “bubblegum broth.”

6. Kanpai Club

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

Heights handroll sushi restaurant Hando is notoriously small, but the restaurant has converted an unused hallway next door into a bar that’s perfect for late-night eats or a few cocktails while waiting to be seated at the restaurant. Inspired by alley bars in Japan, this cozy spot serves drinks with ingredients like yuzu, umeboshi, and Japanese whiskey, plus small bites from Hando’s kitchen.

7. ReikiNa

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799 Town and Country Blvd Suite 200
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 305-8799
Visit Website

Book your reservation for this Japanese restaurant’s rotating tasting menu, or hang out in its charming lounge area to enjoy sophisticated cocktails like the Toki Old Fashioned, the fish house punch — a combo of peach brandy, cognac, dark rum, ginger and citrus — or the tequila-based Momiji, made with a ginger liqueur, Grand Marnier, orange, carrot and lemon juice, and turmeric. End on a sweet note with the “Lights Out” cocktail, made with Cafe Du Monde Liqueur, Baileys, Kahlua, and whipped coconut, or go zero-proof with a hibiscus punch or tangerine dream mocktail. The lounge is open from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

8. Julep

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1919 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007
(832) 371-7715
Visit Website

This stunning cocktail bar earns its name with a mean house Mint Julep, a refreshing gimlet, a classic Old Fashioned, and dozens of cocktails to choose from that are artfully made. 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.

9. Georgia James Tavern

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777 Preston St
Houston, TX 77002
(281) 846-6938
Visit Website

This more affordable, casual offshoot of chef Chris Shepherd’s luxe steakhouse Georgia James offers a list of rye, whiskey, and scotch, plus a menu of “boundary-pushing” cocktails, including the gin-based Two Who Flew, made with Basil Eau de Vie, lemon, blanc vermouth, raspberry Peychauds, and egg white, and a booze-free CBD cocktail with ginger beer, cinnamon, lime, and pomegranate.

10. Clarkwood

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3201 Allen Pkwy Suite 190
Houston, TX 77019

Trendy but vintage, this Old Hollywood-esque bar in the Allen Parkway corridor offers the perfect backdrop while indulging in classic cocktails. Try Clarkwood’s gin and tonic, made with peppercorn and sage, or take things 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

11. Night Shift

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3501 Harrisburg Blvd Suite A
Houston, TX 77003

This no-frills bar in the Greater East End puts the focus squarely on the cocktails, with a deep menu of expertly-made classics and inventive creations. Try the “Night in Marfa,” made with Hickory-smoked whiskey, chocolate liqueur, coffee, and mole bitters, or the frozen cucumber-watermelon-mint cocktail “Walking After Midnight.” As the name implies, Night Shift also caters to the after-midnight crowd, serving bites like yuca fries, churros, gas station burritos, and crispy fried enchiladas potosinas until 2 a.m. daily. Be sure to check out their specials, like Burger Mondays, Brazilian Steak Wednesdays, and the pre-shift happy hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. when drinks are half-off.

12. White Rhino

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319 Milby St
Houston, TX 77003
(832) 962-8816
Visit Website

This sustainability-focused East End bar has Tulum-like vibes and a menu of cocktails influenced by tropical flavors, as well as a large yard for social distancing and a rotation of food trucks. The bar plans to donate a portion of its sales to conservation efforts, specifically organizations working with endangered species like white rhinoceroses.

13. Bar No. 3

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3410 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 517-1001
Visit Website

Debate whether Frank Hebert’s novel “Dune” is better than the recent film adaptation over inspired drinks, like the “Melange,” featuring a spiced rum, espresso, and white sesame milk, or the “Truthsayer,” a straightforward mix of gin, honey, lime, cardamom, and sparkling wine. Then take it outside onto the outdoor patio, and enjoy light bites like duck confit gumbo, lamb kafta, and chickpea fries served with a parmesan aioli by the fire.

14. Good Vibes

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1329 E Broadway St
Pearland, TX 77581
(832) 569-4141
Visit Website

A longtime Galveston chef has brought a bit of the island to Pearland with Good Vibes. The family-friendly burger joint serves up classic beach and tiki-style drinks like the hurricane, Bahama mama, and a variety of margaritas, including a coconut mojorita. Signature cocktails like the rosemary gin gimlet, the cucumber martini, and the coffee and vanilla-infused jolly roger martini are enough to keep your taste buds entertained.

1. Wild | Coffee | Bar | Dispensary

2121 N Shepherd Dr Suite C, Houston, TX 77008
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 cannibis.
Wild Concepts

From the owners behind Grinder’s Coffee Bar, this newly-opened coffee bar and hangout spot offers a buzz in more ways than one with creative and quirky cocktails, all-day 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, crafted by Ladies of Libation, which features a smoked Old Fashioned lit up before your eyes. 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.

2121 N Shepherd Dr Suite C
Houston, TX 77008

2. Space Cowboy

100 W Cavalcade St, Houston, TX 77009

The hip Heights House Hotel off Cavalcade plays host to this spacey poolside bar, which serves up Ranch Water on tap and staycation-worthy drinks like the Pajaro, a take on the classic jungle bird cocktail. In for a quick hit? Try the watermelon-flavored rum jello shots with house-made tajin and lime, or get adventurous with the $9 mystery pouches, which contain “everything you need to regret your night.” “Space” hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. May the force be with you.

100 W Cavalcade St
Houston, TX 77009

3. Diversion Cocktails

7202 Long Point Rd, Houston, TX 77055
a cocktail served in a chocolate mug and garnished with seashells.
Diversion’s Day at the Beach cocktail features a dark rum and gin, mixed with Texas peach cordial, and a house tarragon cream sauce.
Diversion

This sister bar to chef Brandon Silva’s tasting restaurant Degust includes cocktails made with ingredients from local urban farms and an immersive, rotating drink menu that features unlikely pairings. The spicy, refreshing “Tequila #2,” features cabernet and Texas peaches. The “Bone Marrow” includes citrus bitters, a pepper tincture, and you guessed it — bone marrow, and the bourbon and cognac-based Cereal Milk cocktail features a mix of house-frosted corn flakes, and milk, coriander, with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla that tastes like breakfast.

7202 Long Point Rd
Houston, TX 77055

4. Shoot the Moon

8155 Long Point Rd, Houston, TX 77055

This new pour-your-own bar boasts more than 80 taps of beer, wine, and batch cocktails, and allows diners to serve themselves anywhere from one ounce to a full pour — meaning you can try various options before committing to a full glass. Food-wise, STMs menu includes delicious thin-crust pizzas and sharable plates that’ll keep you eating.

8155 Long Point Rd
Houston, TX 77055

5. Trash Panda Drinking Club

4203 Edison St, Houston, TX 77009

Lindale Park’s drinking destination offers creative bar bites, like black hummus made with black garbanzo beans and chaat masala, and “trashy” quesabirria, plus a firmly tongue-in-cheek cocktail menu, including the Bubblegum Martini, made with gin, hibiscus, lime, and “bubblegum broth.”

4203 Edison St
Houston, TX 77009

6. Kanpai Club

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

Heights handroll sushi restaurant Hando is notoriously small, but the restaurant has converted an unused hallway next door into a bar that’s perfect for late-night eats or a few cocktails while waiting to be seated at the restaurant. Inspired by alley bars in Japan, this cozy spot serves drinks with ingredients like yuzu, umeboshi, and Japanese whiskey, plus small bites from Hando’s kitchen.

518 W 11th St Suite 500
Houston, TX 77008

7. ReikiNa

799 Town and Country Blvd Suite 200, Houston, TX 77024

Book your reservation for this Japanese restaurant’s rotating tasting menu, or hang out in its charming lounge area to enjoy sophisticated cocktails like the Toki Old Fashioned, the fish house punch — a combo of peach brandy, cognac, dark rum, ginger and citrus — or the tequila-based Momiji, made with a ginger liqueur, Grand Marnier, orange, carrot and lemon juice, and turmeric. End on a sweet note with the “Lights Out” cocktail, made with Cafe Du Monde Liqueur, Baileys, Kahlua, and whipped coconut, or go zero-proof with a hibiscus punch or tangerine dream mocktail. The lounge is open from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

799 Town and Country Blvd Suite 200
Houston, TX 77024

8. Julep

1919 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007

This stunning cocktail bar earns its name with a mean house Mint Julep, a refreshing gimlet, a classic Old Fashioned, and dozens of cocktails to choose from that are artfully made. 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.

1919 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007

9. Georgia James Tavern

777 Preston St, Houston, TX 77002

This more affordable, casual offshoot of chef Chris Shepherd’s luxe steakhouse Georgia James offers a list of rye, whiskey, and scotch, plus a menu of “boundary-pushing” cocktails, including the gin-based Two Who Flew, made with Basil Eau de Vie, lemon, blanc vermouth, raspberry Peychauds, and egg white, and a booze-free CBD cocktail with ginger beer, cinnamon, lime, and pomegranate.

777 Preston St
Houston, TX 77002

10. Clarkwood

3201 Allen Pkwy Suite 190, Houston, TX 77019
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

Trendy but vintage, this Old Hollywood-esque bar in the Allen Parkway corridor offers the perfect backdrop while indulging in classic cocktails. Try Clarkwood’s gin and tonic, made with peppercorn and sage, or take things up a notch with a house shot like the “Persian Cowboy,” made with vodka, orange liqueur, and Persian key lime.

3201 Allen Pkwy Suite 190
Houston, TX 77019

11. Night Shift

3501 Harrisburg Blvd Suite A, Houston, TX 77003

This no-frills bar in the Greater East End puts the focus squarely on the cocktails, with a deep menu of expertly-made classics and inventive creations. Try the “Night in Marfa,” made with Hickory-smoked whiskey, chocolate liqueur, coffee, and mole bitters, or the frozen cucumber-watermelon-mint cocktail “Walking After Midnight.” As the name implies, Night Shift also caters to the after-midnight crowd, serving bites like yuca fries, churros, gas station burritos, and crispy fried enchiladas potosinas until 2 a.m. daily. Be sure to check out their specials, like Burger Mondays, Brazilian Steak Wednesdays, and the pre-shift happy hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. when drinks are half-off.

3501 Harrisburg Blvd Suite A
Houston, TX 77003

12. White Rhino

319 Milby St, Houston, TX 77003

This sustainability-focused East End bar has Tulum-like vibes and a menu of cocktails influenced by tropical flavors, as well as a large yard for social distancing and a rotation of food trucks. The bar plans to donate a portion of its sales to conservation efforts, specifically organizations working with endangered species like white rhinoceroses.

319 Milby St
Houston, TX 77003

13. Bar No. 3

3410 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006

Debate whether Frank Hebert’s novel “Dune” is better than the recent film adaptation over inspired drinks, like the “Melange,” featuring a spiced rum, espresso, and white sesame milk, or the “Truthsayer,” a straightforward mix of gin, honey, lime, cardamom, and sparkling wine. Then take it outside onto the outdoor patio, and enjoy light bites like duck confit gumbo, lamb kafta, and chickpea fries served with a parmesan aioli by the fire.

3410 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006

14. Good Vibes

1329 E Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581

A longtime Galveston chef has brought a bit of the island to Pearland with Good Vibes. The family-friendly burger joint serves up classic beach and tiki-style drinks like the hurricane, Bahama mama, and a variety of margaritas, including a coconut mojorita. Signature cocktails like the rosemary gin gimlet, the cucumber martini, and the coffee and vanilla-infused jolly roger martini are enough to keep your taste buds entertained.

1329 E Broadway St
Pearland, TX 77581

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