Best Hotel Bar - 2004
Whiskey Bar at Hotel Icon Achingly hip hotels have been springing up all over Houston like crabgrass. Really hip crabgrass, of course. One of the hippest is Hotel Icon, housed in the beautifully restored, 93-year-old Union Bank Building (which, in Houston years, qualifies as prehistoric). And the best part of the Icon is the Whiskey Bar, a local version of the Los Angeles-based chain. Tucked away on the balcony, up a small and tight staircase, are the beautiful people and those who are trying to be. The tiny place gets cramped on weekends, as downtown visitors -- especially those coming in on the light rail line that's just steps away -- come to somehow gawk and act cool at the same time. During the week the atmosphere is more sedate, as business travelers fuel up for their road-warrior battles. But sipping something icy as you lounge in plush seats and people-watch in this darkened hideaway is good just about anytime.