By Jef With One F
By Bob Ruggiero
By Corey Deiterman
By Marco Torres
By Angelica Leicht
By Angelica Leicht
By Charne Graham
Bareback Bar & Ice House 19940 Kuyendahl, 281-353-7501.
Bar Fly and Drink BarAs it's nestled in a cove behind The Breakfast Klub, most folks don't know Bar Fly is even there, and that's the way the clientele likes it. The vibe here reminds one of the old Metropol downtown, except the crowd is better dressed (mostly service industry folks) and the music is hip-hop (both old and new school). We came in through a back door via Drink Bar (the same folks own both), but we couldn't really tell if we were supposed to enter that way or not. It added to the feeling we were "discovering" something, even though Bar Fly has been open a couple of years. The vibe is relaxed, and the place is super-comfortable. Let's hope it stays that way. 3718 Main, 713-522-9985.
Bartini This multifaceted club is the new kid on the Montrose block, but it has what it takes to go the distance. Downstairs two well-stocked bars flank a recessed dance floor where one’s boogie can and will be gotten on. The trip upstairs is almost like a voyage to another dimension, flashing lights and jackhammer beats giving way to a softer, more opened-out space, with claustrophobia-curing windows and yet a third bar, this one offering frozen drinks and a wide selection of cigars. Cameras implanted downstairs give upstairs patrons a view of their more energetic peers, beckoning them back to the wild life from the relative serenity on high. 1318 Westheimer, 713-526-2271.
Bayou Bar & Grill 1026 S. Eighth, La Porte, 281-471-6363.
Beaches11718 Grant Rd., 281-655-4290.
Beamer Place 12057 Beamer Rd., 281-464-8825.
The Belmar The self-proclaimed “Mediterranean in the middle of the metropolis” lives up to the moniker, in that European and house beats, often delivered by a live DJ, inundate the bowels of this new Greenway-area bar/lounge. Free pizza during their generous happy hour certainly reminds one that he/she need not remember to bring a huge stack of traveler’s checks, however. A haven for the 25-and-up River Oaks set, the bar remains unpretentious even though the cars in the parking lot might suggest otherwise. An attentive waitstaff and large patio with comfy wicker chairs allows for a laissez-faire approach to bargoing. 2710 Richmond, 713-526-5667.
Belvedere One thing’s for sure about this gaudy watering hole: If you belong here, you’ll know it sooner than later. This trendy Uptown Park hot spot is the logical spawn of The Social, which has the same owners. Well-to-do thirtysomething revelers smoke cigars and rehash the vicissitudes of the stock market during the early evening, but as the shadows lengthen, the already-generous drinks begin to appear more copious and the workaday scene devolves into the predictable “Come here often?” landscape. Also, for you Jehovah’s Witnesses, beware that hidden cameras snap photos of patrons that are then displayed on a larger screen behind the bar. It’s like those cameras that embarrass you at AstroWorld, but without all the mullets. 1131 Uptown Park Blvd., 713-552-9271.
Big Dog Ice House 214 Sheldon Rd., 281-457-0334.
The Big EasyModeled after the blue-collar social and pleasure clubs that dot New Orleans, the Big Easy brings some down-to-earth charm and soul to one of Houston's most off-puttingly high-toned areas. The focus here is on local blues and zydeco artists -- the living legends from Houston's heyday as one of the country's top blues towns -- and the club's high volume level and physical intimacy offer patrons the chance to put these titans under a visual and aural microscope. 5731 Kirby, 713-523-9999.
Big John’s 1001 Dairy Ashford, 281-584-1631.
Big John’s Sports BarThis place is one giant rec room, and we mean that in a good way. Scoot around on the rolling miniature armchairs to get a better view of the continuous banks of various-sized TVs, play darts or pool, watch digital Centipede bravely take on digital Millipede, or just let the appetizers and beer flow like, well, appetizers and beer. Arrive early enough and you can head for the back to splay out on the comfy couch, just like at Mom’s house. All this under the benevolent gaze of a towering cardboard cutout of Big John Wayne himself. Ya heard me right, pilgrim. 6150 Wilcrest Dr., 281-498-3499.
Big Texas Dance Hall & Saloon 803 E. NASA Rd. 1, Webster, 281-461-4400.
Blanco's Sprawling over a couple of acres of prime River Oaks real estate is this anomaly -- a bona fide if tiny Texas dance hall. Every Thursday and Friday (another oddity about Blanco's is that it's always closed on Saturday), the rustic-looking room is transformed into a sea of Stetsons, under which rowdy, back-slapping Shiner- and Lone Star-fueled locals can be found getting their boot-scoot on. Don't expect to hear any Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney clones here -- in fact, don't even mention their names unless you attach an expletive. This place is as Texas-centric as the Alamo gift shop. 3406 W. Alabama, 713-439-0072.
Blondie’s 1026 S. Eighth, La Porte, 281-471-6363.
Blue Door Saloon6535 FM 1488, Magnolia, 281-259-8024.
The Blue Lagoon 1248 Witte, 713-468-9398.