Perhaps you had a long day and are looking to unwind with a little solo time. Maybe you love alcohol but loathe idle chit-chat. Or perhaps you’ve simply alienated everyone in your orbit. Whatever the reason, sometimes hitting the bar alone is the way to go. These are the best bars to drink alone in Houston.
10. SHAKESPEARE PUB
You know the best way to eliminate the awkwardness that sometimes comes with going to a bar alone? Simple – venture out to a bar that showcases local live music seven days a week (a highlight is the Sunday night blues jam). In addition to daily music, Shakespeare offers up a monthly 20-ounce “beer of the month” for $4 and pool tables. It’s the perfect venue for solos in the mood for live music and a hidden Houston treasure. (14129 Memorial, shakespearepub.net)
9. THE GINGER MAN
Those looking for a little solitude can relax (indoors, on the front patio or in the rear beer garden) at one of Rice Village’s chillest bars. And those looking to strike up some intellectual conversation can likely find someone in the mood to engage in a little banter. Not to mention the more than 50 beers on tap from around the world, as well as an array of bottled beers. (5607 Morningside, thegingerman.com/Houston)
8. LEON’S LOUNGE
The oldest bar in Houston, Leon’s was closed for much of 2015 while it underwent a change in management. Since its reopening late last year, Leon’s has upgraded and updated while maintaining what made it so special in the first place. The bar remains low-key and classy, the whiskey selection remains among the finest in Houston and the craft cocktails are on-point. Leon’s also routinely hosts DJ nights and comedy shows, and it’s a perfect spot to strike up interesting conversations with fellow bar patrons. (1006 McGowen, facebook.com/LeonsLounge.Est.1947)
7. SAINT DANE’S BAR & GRILLE
When Saint Dane’s opened eight years ago, the owners made it clear they were looking to found the ideal neighborhood bar, one that catered to locals (many of whom venture out alone) looking to find their own Cheers. They succeeded in spades, since Saint Dane’s offers up jovial staff, friendly regulars and reasonably priced bar food. It’s also a rarity in Midtown – a bar that gets packed but never feels overly trendy. And for those looking to avoid their friends but who are still in the mood for company, Saint Dane’s took its name from its owners’ respective dogs – a Saint Bernard and a Great Dane. So yeah, it’s about as dog-friendly as things get. (502 Elgin, saintdanes.com)
6. JOHNNY’S GOLD BRICK
A relative newcomer to the Houston bar scene, Johnny’s has been open only a little more than a year. During that time, it has quickly established itself among the best bars in the greater Heights area. And with good reason, considering Johnny’s serves up some of the finest cocktails in town (the Old Fashioned is a particular favorite, as is the Moscow Mule). Combine that with a rotating list of monthly cocktails, as well as a hip but low-key vibe, and Johnny’s is tailor-made for small parties, even parties of one. (2518 Yale, treadsack.com/johnnys)
5. PIMLICO IRISH PUB
The ideal spot for trivia geeks looking to get over a case of the Mondays, Pimlico is one of many bars that partner with Geeks Who Drink for weekly trivia. But whereas some bars are overrun with trivia types on certain nights, Pimlico’s Monday trivia is low-key, laid-back and ideal for solo players looking to have a few drinks and stimulate their minds. Pimlico, among the more authentic Irish pubs in Houston, also features daily drink specials, sports on TV, and weekly steak nights and live music. (810 Waugh, pubhouston.com)
Sunny’s is a no-frills kind of place, but that’s what many regulars love about it. The drinks are affordable and strong, and the bartenders serving them up are friendly and attentive. Sunny’s is a dive in the most positive sense of the word and is the ideal spot for downtown workers looking to blow off a little steam after a long day at the office, as well as those who want to let rush hour simmer down before heading home. (902 Capitol, 713.224.3200)
3. NEIL’S BAHR
Why spend a night in playing video games alone when you can venture out and do the same at one of Eado’s best bars? Tee up some Goldeneye or WWE action on the Nintendo 64, play an arcade game or sidle up to the bar and watch an episode of The Simpsons (the series runs on a loop at the bar). Do so while knocking down a craft beer or cocktail at a bar that adeptly pays tribute to all things geek culture. (2006 Walker, neilsbahr.com)
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2. THE MAPLE LEAF PUB
Of all the “major four” groups of sports fans, hockey fans may well be the most passionate. And considering that many hockey diehards found their way to Houston from somewhere else, Maple Leaf Pub – which bills itself as Houston’s Home for Hockey – often hosts an array of solo transplants who come out to support their favorite NHL team. Couple that with weekly events like a Texas Hold ’Em tournament and trivia night, and you have an ideal spot for solo types looking for a little entertainment, and perhaps a little company. (514 Elgin, themapleleafpub.com)
1. LOLA’S DEPOT
You will not find a better people-watching experience in Houston. Punks, hipsters, old folks, business types – they all flock to Lola’s for cheap booze and rich culture. This bar is welcoming as all get-out, mostly because of the friendly bartenders, many of whom have worked at Lola’s for years. Whether you're chatting with staff or fellow patrons, or even just enjoying a night of talking to no one at all, Lola’s ranks among the best solo bars in town. (2327 Grant, 713.528.8342)