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A series of spacey cocktails served at Roswell’s.
Roswell’s Saloon serves spacey cocktails in an intergalactic, black-lit setting.
Becca Wright

Houston’s Hottest Cocktail Bars, June 2023

Celebrate with spacey cocktails from Roswell’s, the warm Vietnamese dish-inspired Pho Cup’d cocktail from Diversion, or go for Ranch Water with plenty of tapas-style bites from Eight Row Flint

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Roswell’s Saloon serves spacey cocktails in an intergalactic, black-lit setting.
| Becca Wright

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 espresso martinis, late-night bites, and masterfully-made cocktails.

This list has been updated to include Roswell’s Saloon, Diversion, and Verde Garden.

Cheers.

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

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The Heights Social

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The first fully indoor bar to open on West 20th St. in the Heights boasts more than 8,000-square-feet of indoor fun. Find espresso martinis on tap, a live DJ, plus a festive weekend brunch where a champagne cart makes its rounds, serving up high-end bubbles by the glass.

A pink cocktail in a tall glass.
Heights Social offers a number of cocktails on tap.
Brian Kennedy

Diversion Cocktails

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Located in Northeast Houston, this cocktail lounge has built a reputation for inventive cocktails you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy a clarified espresso martini; the savory Pho Cup’d, a warm whiskey cocktail made with bone broth, gin, and orange liqueur that’s inspired by the Vietnamese soup, or try the spice-infused Chutney Flight, which comes with a vodka-based cocktail mixed with curry, mango, tamarind, mint, chili, citrus, and yogurt, with a pairing of mango, tamarind, and mint-cilantro chutneys for added flavor.

Heights & Co.

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This patio bar has quickly become a reliable neighborhood hangout. Find a pagoda with mood-setting string lights, covered outdoor seating with patio games, a dark and romantic indoor bar, and a quality cocktail list. The Mini Hulk Smash is a refreshing combination of bourbon, basil, ginger, lemongrass, and Topo Chico, while the gin-based Hipstrict is made with strawberry, lemon, and coconut. No need to hurry off — the bar offers a worthy food menu with dishes like cheesy spinach and artichoke dip and steak frites, with sage-oil fries covered in a creamy herb-loaded au poivre sauce.

EZ's Liquor Lounge

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Neighboring its sister concept, Coltivare, EZ’s is a Heights haunt from Agricole Hospitality. Like its name suggests, guests can take it easy here, as the bar offers a casual, albeit well-appointed, space in which to drink and snack. Go for the dulce de leche Old Fashioned or a Hillbilly high ball and take in a game of pool, before stretching out on the back patio.

A pool table surrounded by tables at EZ’s.
EZ’s boasts a large outdoor patio and a pool table.
Mikah Danae

Bayou Heights Bier Garten

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As a follow up from the team who operate Wooster’s and Heights Bier Garten in Houston, it’s no surprise Bayou Heights Bier Garten has quickly become one of the hottest drinking destinations, day and night. Anchored by a central courtyard, the bar boasts dedicated areas for guests to explore its various beverage programs, which include coffee, beer and wine, and cocktails, and its menu of hearty bar snacks curated by chef Teddy Lopez.

A nighttime shot of a crowded patio with fire pits.
The crowds pack into the open-air courtyard at Bayou Heights Bier Garten.
Dustyn Zenner

Though Julep is certainly not new, this bar has yet to go out of style. The 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 other cocktails. The bar slings far more than booze — chef Calvin Miller’s menu packs substantial eats, like Dr. Pepper-braised short ribs, mussels in green gumbo broth, roasted oysters, and a cheddar cheeseburger with hatch chile relish.

Rhapsody Bar

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Located inside the recently opened Lyric Market food hall at Lyric Center, Rhapsody Bar has become a welcomed escape for Downtown’s corporate crowd. Guests looking to wait out rush hour traffic can take advantage of themed nights, like Trivia Thursdays and Friday’s live jazz happy hour; then, peruse the various food stalls for a bite.

A row of martinis on the bar.
Rhapsody Bar inside Lyric Market is open at 11 a.m. daily.
Brandon Holmes

Verde Garden

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In addition to its tantalizing ceviches, addicting salsa flights, and enchiladas, this Tex-Mex beer garden is a surefire drinking destination. Verde Garden features two rooms — one in which guests can order a beer from its bar with numerous taps, and another where margaritas and cocktails are made fresh on the spot. Try the signature Verde margarita, a herbaceous frozen made with mint and parsley. Channel a Mexican beach with Tulum Vibes — a frozen drink made with vodka, white cacao, lemon, and passionfruit with a kick of habanero — or go for the El Toxico, a smooth mix of sotol, dry vermouth, cassis, Aperol, and decanter bitters that makes for an easy sip. Then, enjoy outside on its charming patio.

Bandista

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Speakeasy-style bars continue to intrigue Houstonians, and Bandista is one of the most polarizing among them. Hidden behind a bookcase within the Four Seasons Hotel, the 20-seat bar with a moody, old-world atmosphere is known for its elevated take on classic cocktails. Try the Vesper with a bump of caviar, or the Pimm’s cup poured out of a vintage canteen.

A bookcase opening up to Bandista.
Bandista is hidden behind a bookshelf within the Four Seasons Hotel.
Four Seasons Hotel Houston

Eight Row Flint - East

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Regardless of how many visits you’ve paid to Eight Row Flint in the Heights, you’ll want to check out the bar’s second outpost in Second Ward, which is conveniently located along the METRORail’s Green Line. Expect familiar favorites like the bar’s beloved Ranch Waters and Old Fashioned, along with some new, and interesting cocktails created exclusively for this location. The tapas-styled menu is also a welcomed addition, with pork belly and octopus tacos, Oaxaca cheese quesadilla with tortillas made with fresh masa, elote ribs, and a mean cheeseburger.

Two shrimp tacos on a black plate.
Baja popcorn shrimp tacos at Eight Row Flint.
Mikah Danae

Located just upstairs from the lauded cocktail bar Anvil & Refuge, Bobby Heugel 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. 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.

An illuminated back bar with bar stools.
The dark and moody setting at Refuge.
Jenn Duncan

Roswell’s Saloon

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One of Space City’s newest watering holes is certainly on brand. Shawn Bermudez, co-owner of the Burger Joint and the Taco Stand, finally opened Roswell’s in May, offering a black-lit, spacey setting to enjoy cosmic drinks like the Pale Blue Dot, and the Crop Circles cocktail, which features elote syrup and a extraterrestrial marking on top. The cocktail lounge also trades in typical happy hours for “sunset hours,” inviting guests in from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. to enjoy $6 cocktails and watch as the celestial-themed bar comes alive.

The Pale Blue Dot cocktail, served in a sphere glass with a straw.
Roswell’s Saloon
Becca Wright

Winnie's

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This Mid-Main bar and restaurant garners lots of attention during the holiday season with its over-the-top Christmas decor and Insta-worthy drinks, but it’s a solid choice year-round. Find classic cocktails alongside more adventurous creations like the Frozen Peach Bourbon tea Icee, or the head-turning Pornstar Martini chest, which combines vodka and passionfruit vanilla cordial with a bottle of bubbles and is served in a treasure chest with a sparkler.

Hidden behind a curtain this bar by the owners of the Toasted Coconut touts a separate cocktail list with a variety of sotol, mezcal, and tequila, plus a food menu with crudo and heartwarming pozole. One note of caution: The bar accepts walk-ins only, but if you can’t manage to secure a seat, you won’t be mad at grabbing a drink at Toasted while you wait.

The Heights Social

The first fully indoor bar to open on West 20th St. in the Heights boasts more than 8,000-square-feet of indoor fun. Find espresso martinis on tap, a live DJ, plus a festive weekend brunch where a champagne cart makes its rounds, serving up high-end bubbles by the glass.

A pink cocktail in a tall glass.
Heights Social offers a number of cocktails on tap.
Brian Kennedy

Diversion Cocktails

Located in Northeast Houston, this cocktail lounge has built a reputation for inventive cocktails you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy a clarified espresso martini; the savory Pho Cup’d, a warm whiskey cocktail made with bone broth, gin, and orange liqueur that’s inspired by the Vietnamese soup, or try the spice-infused Chutney Flight, which comes with a vodka-based cocktail mixed with curry, mango, tamarind, mint, chili, citrus, and yogurt, with a pairing of mango, tamarind, and mint-cilantro chutneys for added flavor.

Heights & Co.

This patio bar has quickly become a reliable neighborhood hangout. Find a pagoda with mood-setting string lights, covered outdoor seating with patio games, a dark and romantic indoor bar, and a quality cocktail list. The Mini Hulk Smash is a refreshing combination of bourbon, basil, ginger, lemongrass, and Topo Chico, while the gin-based Hipstrict is made with strawberry, lemon, and coconut. No need to hurry off — the bar offers a worthy food menu with dishes like cheesy spinach and artichoke dip and steak frites, with sage-oil fries covered in a creamy herb-loaded au poivre sauce.

EZ's Liquor Lounge

Neighboring its sister concept, Coltivare, EZ’s is a Heights haunt from Agricole Hospitality. Like its name suggests, guests can take it easy here, as the bar offers a casual, albeit well-appointed, space in which to drink and snack. Go for the dulce de leche Old Fashioned or a Hillbilly high ball and take in a game of pool, before stretching out on the back patio.

A pool table surrounded by tables at EZ’s.
EZ’s boasts a large outdoor patio and a pool table.
Mikah Danae

Bayou Heights Bier Garten

As a follow up from the team who operate Wooster’s and Heights Bier Garten in Houston, it’s no surprise Bayou Heights Bier Garten has quickly become one of the hottest drinking destinations, day and night. Anchored by a central courtyard, the bar boasts dedicated areas for guests to explore its various beverage programs, which include coffee, beer and wine, and cocktails, and its menu of hearty bar snacks curated by chef Teddy Lopez.

A nighttime shot of a crowded patio with fire pits.
The crowds pack into the open-air courtyard at Bayou Heights Bier Garten.
Dustyn Zenner

Julep

Though Julep is certainly not new, this bar has yet to go out of style. The 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 other cocktails. The bar slings far more than booze — chef Calvin Miller’s menu packs substantial eats, like Dr. Pepper-braised short ribs, mussels in green gumbo broth, roasted oysters, and a cheddar cheeseburger with hatch chile relish.

Rhapsody Bar

Located inside the recently opened Lyric Market food hall at Lyric Center, Rhapsody Bar has become a welcomed escape for Downtown’s corporate crowd. Guests looking to wait out rush hour traffic can take advantage of themed nights, like Trivia Thursdays and Friday’s live jazz happy hour; then, peruse the various food stalls for a bite.

A row of martinis on the bar.
Rhapsody Bar inside Lyric Market is open at 11 a.m. daily.
Brandon Holmes

Verde Garden

In addition to its tantalizing ceviches, addicting salsa flights, and enchiladas, this Tex-Mex beer garden is a surefire drinking destination. Verde Garden features two rooms — one in which guests can order a beer from its bar with numerous taps, and another where margaritas and cocktails are made fresh on the spot. Try the signature Verde margarita, a herbaceous frozen made with mint and parsley. Channel a Mexican beach with Tulum Vibes — a frozen drink made with vodka, white cacao, lemon, and passionfruit with a kick of habanero — or go for the El Toxico, a smooth mix of sotol, dry vermouth, cassis, Aperol, and decanter bitters that makes for an easy sip. Then, enjoy outside on its charming patio.

Bandista

Speakeasy-style bars continue to intrigue Houstonians, and Bandista is one of the most polarizing among them. Hidden behind a bookcase within the Four Seasons Hotel, the 20-seat bar with a moody, old-world atmosphere is known for its elevated take on classic cocktails. Try the Vesper with a bump of caviar, or the Pimm’s cup poured out of a vintage canteen.

A bookcase opening up to Bandista.
Bandista is hidden behind a bookshelf within the Four Seasons Hotel.
Four Seasons Hotel Houston

Eight Row Flint - East

Regardless of how many visits you’ve paid to Eight Row Flint in the Heights, you’ll want to check out the bar’s second outpost in Second Ward, which is conveniently located along the METRORail’s Green Line. Expect familiar favorites like the bar’s beloved Ranch Waters and Old Fashioned, along with some new, and interesting cocktails created exclusively for this location. The tapas-styled menu is also a welcomed addition, with pork belly and octopus tacos, Oaxaca cheese quesadilla with tortillas made with fresh masa, elote ribs, and a mean cheeseburger.

Two shrimp tacos on a black plate.
Baja popcorn shrimp tacos at Eight Row Flint.
Mikah Danae

Refuge

Located just upstairs from the lauded cocktail bar Anvil & Refuge, Bobby Heugel 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. 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.

An illuminated back bar with bar stools.
The dark and moody setting at Refuge.
Jenn Duncan

Roswell’s Saloon

One of Space City’s newest watering holes is certainly on brand. Shawn Bermudez, co-owner of the Burger Joint and the Taco Stand, finally opened Roswell’s in May, offering a black-lit, spacey setting to enjoy cosmic drinks like the Pale Blue Dot, and the Crop Circles cocktail, which features elote syrup and a extraterrestrial marking on top. The cocktail lounge also trades in typical happy hours for “sunset hours,” inviting guests in from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. to enjoy $6 cocktails and watch as the celestial-themed bar comes alive.

The Pale Blue Dot cocktail, served in a sphere glass with a straw.
Roswell’s Saloon
Becca Wright

Winnie's

This Mid-Main bar and restaurant garners lots of attention during the holiday season with its over-the-top Christmas decor and Insta-worthy drinks, but it’s a solid choice year-round. Find classic cocktails alongside more adventurous creations like the Frozen Peach Bourbon tea Icee, or the head-turning Pornstar Martini chest, which combines vodka and passionfruit vanilla cordial with a bottle of bubbles and is served in a treasure chest with a sparkler.

Quiote

Hidden behind a curtain this bar by the owners of the Toasted Coconut touts a separate cocktail list with a variety of sotol, mezcal, and tequila, plus a food menu with crudo and heartwarming pozole. One note of caution: The bar accepts walk-ins only, but if you can’t manage to secure a seat, you won’t be mad at grabbing a drink at Toasted while you wait.

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