Best Patio (2000)

The Terrace on Main, Warwick Hotel

Houston boosters are fond of reminding the uninitiated that Bob Hope once said the view from the Warwick penthouse was the most beautiful he had ever seen. If only the Main Street Coalition had as juicy a celebrity quote about the hotel at street level. Light rail or no light rail, the coalition hopes to turn Main Street into Houston's "signature boulevard," lined with plazas, parks, shops, sidewalks and (would you believe?) pedestrians. And if the plans are for more places like the Terrace, then we're all for it. From the wrought-iron chairs atop its sweeping staircase, you can nurse an expensive cocktail and take in a veritable panorama of high culture and Houston civility. To the south is the gurgling Mecom Fountain. Across Main Street, behind a shady tangle of live oaks and sculpture, is the classical facade of the old Museum of Fine Arts building. And to the north, toward downtown, is the animated side of Houston's building-of-the-moment, Rafael Moneo's new Beck building for the MFA. Perhaps we should invite Mr. Hope to stop by for a drink.

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