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
By Craig Hlavaty
West Alabama Ice HouseLess a bar than a perpetual backyard barbecue, the breezy, open-air Alabama Icehouse has been quenching the thirst of beer-starved Montrosians since 1927 -- the same year Lucky Lindy made his famous flight and Al Jolson warned America, "You ain't seen nothin' yet." And believe it or not, 75 years later, the vibe there remains the same. It's still a blue-collar place to knock back a social beer after work and discuss the great affairs of the day and the tawdry gossip of the neighborhood. Fridays in summer the icehouse offers free grilled hot dogs, and live country bands take to the small outdoor stage. In winter, they unfurl plastic walls and trot out the space heaters, and patrons repair indoors for pool and jukebox tunes. 1919 W. Alabama, 713-528-6874.
Westfields by the Railroad 21119 W. Hardy Rd., 281-821-2021.
Westfield’s on the Lake 1453 Point Aquarius Blvd., Conroe, 281-821-2021.
West University Community Center 6104 Auden, 281-347-3235 or 281-495-2923.
Whiskey BarAs if the impressive interiors of the Hotel Icon aren't enough on their own, Whiskey, the bar in the lobby's balcony, has a flavor and design all its own. With a secluded, incense-heavy room off to the side known as the Opium Den setting the tone, even its presence as a balcony bar can't prevent it from being covert. The seating at Whiskey is open, with chairs centered around small tables throughout the room, but with its dark, plush interior and dim lighting, the sections remain distant from one another, making Whiskey a perfect escape for kissin' couples. 220 Main, 713-224-4266.
Whiskey Blues Three or four nights a week, this upscale roadhouse features live music by Houston-area and touring Texas music acts ranging from alt-country to blues and rock. It simultaneously gives locals a chance to see acts normally booked in Houston right on the island, and offers Houston bands a chance to develop a wider following. It's actually two clubs in one: The bands play in the half of the building that doubles as a coffee bar by day; the adjacent room houses a cool stand-up bar and booths decorated with murals depicting Texas music legends. 502 25th St., Galveston, 409-766-1600.
Whiskey Dick’s 4455 W. Beltway 8 N., 713-466-7777.
Whiskey River 2107 N. Houston Ave., Humble, 281-446-3500.
Willie’s Grill & Ice House 17492 Northwest Fwy., 713-937-0456.
Woodlake Pub 68 Woodlake Square, 713-787-0099.
Woodrow’s 3111 Chimney Rock, 713-784-2653.
Wortham Theater Center Breathtaking lobbies welcome you to this theater complex. The 2,367-seat Alice and George Brown Theater hosts Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera, while Da Camera and Society for the Performing Arts get down in the 1,100-seat Lillie and Roy Cullen Theater. 500 Texas, 713-237-1439.
Wunderbar "Wicked" Wednesday nights are more packed here than in most other clubs, with wall-to-wall people, all dressed nicely (dress code: no jeans or kicks). At this established neighborhood bar, the younger folk (early twenties and up) cruise the front, where new-school R&B plays with a touch of old-school and zydeco. Most of the older folk (up to late fifties) hang around the back room, where the reverse ratio of old-school-to-new prevails. Musicians play live on Fridays and Saturdays, and the Hayes Bar-B-Que truck waits outside for anyone hungry after a night of clubbing. 3124 Old Spanish Trail, 713-522-7009.
Wunsche Bros. CafeThe Wild West lives on in this 100-year-old, immaculately preserved former railway hotel in Old Town Spring. Though the surroundings are twee -- a faux village of "shoppes" selling knock-off Shaker furniture, brooms with folksy slogans on them and jars of potpourri -- the vibe inside the swinging doors is pure Texas. During the week and before sundown, the saloon is famed for its delicious burgers and excellent chicken-fried steaks, but after dark singer-songwriters and Shiner Bock are more on the minds of the well-scrubbed and affluent north Houston clientele. 103 Midway, Spring, 281-350-1902.
Yaga'sIf Galveston is the place where Houston loves to party, then Yaga's is party central. Especially during Mardi Gras, weekend nights find Yaga's packed with locals and road-trippers alike jammed onto the small sunken dance floor or people-watching. In the spring and summer, the serious strutting is done at the outdoor bar/patio on the Strand. Though Yaga's is more associated with good times and its cool T-shirts, often forgotten is the fact that some damn good bands from Austin and Houston -- mainly reggae/ska, blues/R&B or alt-rock -- provide the tunes. 2314 Strand, Galveston, 409-762-6676.
Zimm’s, 4321 Montrose Blvd., 713-521-2002.
The Zone 2216 N. Alexander Dr., Baytown, 281-428-5754.
GAY & LESBIAN GAY-FRIENDLY
Brazos River Bottom A great place to bring out-of-towners since the sight of two cowboys two-stepping across the dance floor really seems to say "Texas -- the 21st century." The main room has multiple bars and can get pretty loud. The crowd is much more diverse than one would think given BRB's reputation as "The Cowboy Bar." Chances are you'll see an Armani Exchange T-shirt dancing with some pearl snap buttons and guess what -- the world didn't implode! The real find at BRB is the smaller, self-contained side bar. Here you can pump money into a jukebox, play George Jones and pine about "the one who got away." 2400 Brazos, 713-528-9192.
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