Best Hidden Bar Houston 2008 - Carolyn's
We really mean what we say when we call this place hidden — it's on the side of a crumbling strip mall on an obscure side street off Willowbend Boulevard, which is never one of the first streets you think of when you think Houston nightlife. And then there are the train tracks nearby. Still, this little beer joint has two things going for it: an amazing jukebox compiled by somebody with a doctorate in honky-tonk and a concentration in Cajun/swamp-pop studies — as exemplified by its inclusion of damn near the complete works of Gary Stewart and Cookie and the Cupcakes. And it also sports one of the most amazing bar murals in town. One wall is entirely given over to a stylized study of a West Texas town dwarfed by a mountain range, with one of the peaks in full volcanic eruption. The aging biker and roughneck regulars have never met a stranger, so belly up and grab a can of Bud while it's still the American thing to do.