By Corey Deiterman
By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Sonya Harvey
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Nathan Smith
Sidecar PubHoused in a strip mall on the northwest edge of town, this party-hearty club has European pretensions evidenced by a large selection of across-the-pond brews and foreign banknotes inlaid in the bar. Every Thursday through Saturday, three or four young alt-rock or metal bands share bills, though occasionally roots rockers and Texas country acts also appear. A pool table dominates the game room off to the side of the stage. 11202 Huffmeister, 281-807-4040.
Silver Eagle Club 4302 Reed Rd., 713-738-7573.
Silver SlipperThis venerable establishment in Fifth Ward's old Frenchtown neighborhood has served up a spicy blend of zydeco and blues for more than 40 years, dating back to when the Cormier family patriarch simply called it Alfred's Place (a favorite hangout for Clifton Chenier and Lightnin' Hopkins in the '60s). Today his son Curley features real-deal zydeco every Friday and Sunday, plus a fusion of blues, classic R&B and jazz (usually performed by own his band, the Gladiators) on Saturdays. 3717 Crane, 713-673-9004.
Six DegreesThough its long, narrow layout helps it capture the feel of a New York or Chicago (read: big-city) bar, Six Degrees doesn't stop there. No name is posted above the door of the former Dusk Bar, and upon entering, you are greeted on the right by a towering wall full of concert posters, ranging from early Wire gigs to R.E.M. stadium tours. On the left is the lengthy bar, the wall behind it stocked full with a selection of great wines, all dressed in a weathered contemporary design and bathed with the same subdued lighting that prevails throughout. The foosball table in the back serves those with weak attention spans, and the drinks will surely do the rest. 911 Franklin, 713-228-2990.
SlainteThe folks at Slainte want you to feel like you're in a "real" Irish public house. While the warmth of the woodsy and slate decor does set it apart from its downtown brethren, the crowd is pretty much what you're gonna find up and down Main Street, and you're much more likely to hear the Pet Shop Boys than the Pogues. One thing Slainte has going for it is its New Orleans-style upstairs balcony, from which you can watch the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful in the nonstop Main Street parade. There's a decent selection of beers and whiskeys as well. 509 Main, 713-222-1033.
The Social Lushly decorated though it may be, the interior of this Washington Avenue hangout is secondary to its expansive patio. A great modern decor and minimalist furniture pepper the gated-in area, which comes complete with its own bar and a giant Absolut bottle courtesy of the Art Guys. Music depends on whatever the rotating DJs see fit to spin; house predominates, but since dancing is not a priority here, other styles are also occasionally on offer. Very chic, very laid-back and — on some nights — very long lines. 3730 Washington Ave., 713-426-5585.
Sound ExchangeIt's a record store by day, but the employees lose their High Fidelity music-snob attitudes and reveal themselves as the scene boosters they really are by night, when they open up the old house to live music after retail hours. From death metal to free jazz, Sound Exchange hosts performances that are always mind-expanding, far beyond the mainstream and that can't be found anywhere else in the city. Or, as they put it in their own words, "Presenting unlistenable music to an uncaring public for 25 years. Does your band make people run from the room? Book a show with us." (BYOB) 1846 Richmond, 713-666-5555.
The Speakeasy This downtown hole-in-the-wall, housed in what was long the Beer Cellar, doesn’t have a sign outside, but it doesn’t need one to attract a late-night crowd. For those who want some downtime from the pulsing techno beats that rule Main, the Speakeasy lives up to its name by offering a quiet atmosphere and relaxed exposed-brick surroundings. The ample drinks provide alcoholic solace to a haggard-looking, albeit well-dressed (read Montrose-like), clientele. An unobtrusive jukebox and pool table upstairs provide additional distraction. Don’t miss the back patio — chilling with a drink under the skyscrapers, you’ll swear you were in Manhattan. 110 Main, 713-547-0566.
Spinnaker’s 310 Texas Ave., Kemah, 281-538-0051.
Spoke’s Ice House 9802 Old Galveston Hwy., 713-910-3844.
SRO Champions 6982 FM 1960, 281-537-0697.
SRO Woodlake 2517 S. Gessner, 713-952-1999.
Stafford Icehouse 3230 S. Main, 281-261-9633.
The Stag's Head The tiny, quaint English pub made famous by numerous PBS murder mysteries is becoming a thing of the past in its native land, and that fact makes this big Houston Brit-pub more authentic than you might think. Booths and tables surround a central bar in the wood-paneled room where twentysomethings congregate for their pints. Karaoke is a big drawing card here, as are the occasional alt-country live shows and the weekend "fry-ups" -- for the non-limeys among us, that's a hearty English breakfast of Canadian-style bacon, sausage and eggs -- that are served until afternoon. 2128 Portsmouth, 713-533-1199.
The Standard Lounge Martinis are the name of the game at this upscale San Francisco-style club. The clientele hovers around the comfortable suede furniture inside to the outdoor patio, where — were it not for the Texan twangs and loud but unobtrusive techno — you might think you just rolled up on a Princeton mixer. The crowd, however, is unpretentious, albeit rather cliquish. There’s not a whole lot of cross-crowd pollination, but a novel environment and a refreshingly remarkable drink menu make it all seem worth it. 2707 Fountain View, 832-252-1400.
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