By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
This is the older, more subdued sibling of the Midtown sports bar. It's on Washington but not that part of Washington, to be clear. On Tuesday nights, the place gets packed for its storied cheeseburgers and cheap-ass beer, which means something on the order of $1 pints of domestics. So you can get loaded on beef, fried onion rings, and beer, on what is arguably the most boring and sad night of the week. Sold!
Happy hours: Monday through Friday 2-7 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Just on the inner lip of the Beltway at Westheimer, this Westchase wine bar is perfect for relaxing after work or meeting friends on a leisurely weekend evening. In addition to selling wine (and wine lockers, for the truly ambitious), Vintropolis also has a vast selection of import beers and microbrews as well as an excellent assortment of cigars. But lest you think this place caters to the snooty type, check out the darts and shuffleboard tables. If you're hungry, take advantage of the great neighboring restaurants in the Carillon Center, who all deliver to Vintropolis free of charge.
Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3-7 p.m.
Absolve Wine Lounge
920 Studemont St.
Absolve Wine Lounge is one of the newer wine bars in town — just four months old — but with a happy hour like this, it shouldn't go anywhere for a long time. The bartenders strive to make this place "a neighborhood bar," and judging by the number of regulars that show up here, it appears they've pulled it off. Don't be fooled by the retail strip location; Absolve is worth the trip. Happy hour features select wines for $7 a glass and cheaper, along with $2 beers and $4 sangria. Food plates go for about $3.
Happy hours: Seven days a week 4-7 p.m.; all day Wednesday.
Max's Wine Dive
Max's takes pride in joining wine with gussied-up versions of home-style comfort food. The restaurant is known for dishes like fried chicken (with jalapeño and buttermilk marinade) and an egg sandwich (with truffle oil and sea salt). These are great choices to pair with the happy hour drink specials — $5 wine and $2 Lone Star (nice touch). Or try the happy hour food menu, which features several selections under $10, including pulled pork sliders and turkey bites.
Happy hours: Monday through Thursday 4-7 p.m.; Friday 1-7 p.m.
The Continental Club on Main Street offers not only a liquid happy hour, but also an aural one. Each night the roots and boots club serves up live music ranging from rockabilly, tango piano, shit-kicking Americana and roof-raising tribute acts. Mondays are held down by Glover Gill, while Tuesdays are reserved for the Umbrella Man, one of Houston's unsung roots-rock gems. On Thursday nights, Beetle has the crowd squealing with a nearly three-hour set of spot-on Beatles covers.
Happy hours: Thursday and Friday 6-9 p.m.
Dan Electro's Guitar Bar
1031 E. 24th St.
Out in the Heights, blues jams and searing licks rule the roost at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar. Named after the legendary line of guitars and amps, Dan's is most famous for its tucked-away ambience and Thursday night blues jam, which attracts folks from all corners of the Houston map.
Happy hours: Thursday 7-9 p.m.; Friday 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Last Concert Cafe
1403 Nance St.
Last Concert Cafe is one of the city's last bastions of roots and jam rock, and since 1949 it has been serving some of the best Mexican food in town as well. Each night of the week, just yards from I-10, you will find someone out on the back patio strumming a guitar or holding court on the venue's large backyard stage. During happy hour, you can snag $2.50 margaritas and $2 Shiner Bocks. Lately Wednesday nights have been graced by local singer-songwriter Clory Martin, who is a frequent collaborator with Runaway Sun's Andrew Karnavas.
Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3-6 p.m.
Rebels Honky Tonk
The music here isn't of the live variety, but the people-watching more than makes up for it. The DJ spins all your favorite modern country tracks, and every now and then he sneaks in a Steve Earle cut to keep you on your toes. It's RodeoHouston all year round at Rebels Honky Tonk, where you can wear your best Tony Lamas and Rockies any night of the week without fear of looking utterly insane. Ladies Night on Wednesday is aided by specials like $2 you-call-its and domestic beers, which last all night, so you should have no excuse not to be chatty with that something-something in the corner.
Happy hours: Wednesday and Thursday 9 p.m-2 a.m.
Anyone who has tried to park at the Chuy's on Westheimer after work knows that the place is forever bumpin'. The crowds cram into the bar area to swill $3.50 margaritas and nosh on free nachos in Chuy's famous Austin-style atmosphere, packed with Elvis memorabilia. There's something downright addictive about the frozen margs at Chuy's, but if they aren't your thing, there are also $2.50 domestic beers and $6.50 Texas martinis made with tequila and jalapeño-stuffed olives. What's that? $6.50 isn't a good deal? Just try one, you'll see what we mean.