AVANTGARDEN Customer Appreciation Night happens every Thursday at AvantGarden and New Year's Day is no exception; the free admission and cheap drink specials bring in large and diverse crowds who gather in the patio/courtyard out back, which is illuminated overhead with sparkling lights, putting out a festival vibe.
In the upstairs lounge, local comics will be performing in an event called "GODDAMMIT!", and based on that title and some of the comics scheduled, you can probably expect a lot of politically incorrect humor. We have seen the organizer, Gabe Bravo, do some stand-up at another bar in town and he is pretty funny himself. Comedy show starts at 9:45 pm, customer appreciation starts at 10 p.m.
411 Westheimer, avantgardenhouston.com
BEER MARKET CO. If you love beer and football, you probably could do a lot worse than heading over to Beer Market Co. on New Year's Day. They have more than 30 TVs to watch the college bowl games on and a jaw-dropping 365 different brews to choose from, one of the largest selections in the city. They also have upscale bar food, with the "Mac 'N Cheese Burger" and the "Brew Pretzels with Real Ale 'Hans Pils' Cheese Dip" among the current favorites. Beer Market opens up early at 11 a.m. to keep the party going.
920 Studemont, beermarketco.com
D&T DRIVE INN You could start your new year off with a free beer if you head on over to D&T Drive Inn; the bar is clearing off their beer board (a program where patrons can buy a beer for a friend) and any unclaimed brews left up on the chalkboard come New Year's Day are being given away on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 1 p.m. (One beer per customer, please.) In addition, during this First Annual D&T Jubilee, the kitchen will be churning out cabbage, black-eyed peas, and pork belly and rice for your dining pleasure; Clint Broussard of KPFT's Blues in Hi-Fi will provide music starting at 2 p.m.
1307 Enid, Web site
DOWN THE STREET If you have not been to this new Heights-area bar yet, New Year's Day is a good time to start. They open up at 10 a.m., and are having a Hangover Brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The food is likely to be good, as the owners are foodies at heart; as far as we know, this is the only place in town that serves a pizza like the Larkin, which is topped with smoked duck breast, cherry glaze, fresh pears, crumbled blue cheese and pesto. The rest of the daily menu is equally impressive if you decide to show up later in the day.
5746 Larkin, downthestreethouston.com
HONEYMOON CAFE & BAR The Honeymoon downtown opens up at 11 a.m. and will be serving its regular brunch items like soft scrambled eggs on rye and Croque-Madame, as well as New Year's Day special Hoppin' John, a traditional Southern black-eyed peas and rice dish. If you want to keep the party going from the night before, try some of the brunch cocktail specials available until 4 p.m., or if you've had your fill of alcohol, get a cup or two of some of their tasty coffee.
300 Main, thehoneymoontx.com
JULEP Julep will be open their regular hours from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., so head on over to try the iconic centuries-old Southern mixed cocktail the Mint Julep or one of several variations, including the Rock & Rye, Spiced and Sparkling juleps. If juleps aren't your thing, no worries; there are plenty of other handcrafted specialty cocktails to choose from here as well as a fine selection of wines, spirits and craft beers. If you have an appetite, the seafood served here includes oysters, bay scallops, clams, lobsters, prawns and caviar, or try the pickled quail eggs or rabbit rillette served in pantry jars.
1919 Washington, julephouston.com
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MANGO'S Yes, as previously reported, Mango's is shutting down, with an all-day farewell show scheduled for March 28. In the meantime, a whole slew of shows are still being scheduled at this storied venue, including a New Year's Day bill headlined by Springfield, Mo. outfit Free at Last. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. and is a steal at only a $5 cover charge, as attendees can also slam about to United Races, Primal League, Brain Dead, Paranoid Chant and Hard Strike.
403 Westheimer, mangoshtx.com
STONE'S THROW If you and a group of your friends are still thirsty after a night of partying, try the Stone's Throw Punch here; available in punch bowls of two different sizes, they serve either 2-3 or 5-6 people. In addition to a full bar and selection of wine, champagnes and craft beers, Stone's offers up original cocktails like the Ginger Rogers and Santa Pocas, as well as Bacon Bourbon Caramel Corn and Spicy Mixed Nuts for snacking. Stone's Throw opens at 4 p.m.
1417 Westheimer, stonesthrowhouston.com
SUPER HAPPY FUN LAND Super Happy Fun Land opens up for the Annual Hangover Party on New Year's Day, so come on out for free mimosas, Bloody Marys, cornbread, black-eyed peas and cabbage; also feel free to bring food that you would like to share with others as well. Spoken-word artists, poets and comedians will be performing, and everyone in attendance is invited to come on up to the mike and take a turn.
Local musical performers include the eclectic Antonio Eye & the SpaceWar Music Band, psychedelic blues-rockers Lone Star Hippie and singer-songwriter Ceefor Ebrahimi of The C4 Band, as well as indie hard-rockers Civeta Dei from Wallis out in Doors open at 8:30 p.m., with a $5 cover charge. Flakey's Pizza on the back patio will open up as well.
3801 Polk, superhappyfunland.com
WALTERS DOWNTOWN Houston indie pop/rock band Belvoir headlines the club tonight, with doors set to open at 7 p.m. and the show starting at 8. Other acts playing include fellow Houstonians Forever Miles, a rock duo made up of brothers Adrian Martinez and Andrew Martinez; New Orleans' Paper Bison; Katy's Stevie Menjivar; New Holland, who play "bedroom folk" from Houston via New Orleans; Mystic Merkaba; and Nashville garage/psych/punk outfit Mouth Reader. Start the New Year off right by supporting some local and not-so-local music.
1120 Naylor, waltersdowntown.com
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