Bar dining is no longer just for the lonely traveler. Sitting at the bar is a great option for a first date, pre-gaming for a night of revelry, a quicker alternative when you've forgotten to make reservations, or a good way to scope out a new restaurant without committing to a full-service experience. Most restaurants recognize that guests who frequent the bar want something more to munch on than a questionable bowl of community peanuts. Thankfully, we have some great bar bites around the city. Here is a list of ten bar bites worth sinking your teeth into.
Axis Lounge, 2222 West Loop
Located inside The Royal Sonesta Hotel, Axis Lounge is available for noshing every day from noon until 1 a.m. The bar boasts a fantastic selection of bourbons and other spirits. Chef Robert Graham recently launched a new menu that includes burrata, carnitas pizzadilla, tuna tartare and charred shishitos. Not to be missed is the chicken liver pâté with local honey and crispy baguettes, or the 44 Farms brisket and mac 'n' cheese nachos.
Bovine & Barley, 416 Main
Bovine & Barley’s U-shaped bar with the mild glow of HTX in the background is the perfect spot to partake in its beef-centric menu. Choose one of more than 30 beers to wash down your choice of brisket tacos, steak on a stick or skillet queso topped with chorizo. Highly recommended is the beef on a rock with sliced rib eye served with a hot rock, which allows diners to cook the beef to the desired temperature.
Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith
The 777 menu at Brennan’s was designed to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. Available in the bar and courtyard daily from 2 to 7 p.m., the menu features a rotating selection of wines, cocktails and bites for just $7. The current menu showcases oysters and crawfish in tasty dishes such as Texas Creole Oyster “BLT,” Bayou Grilled Cheese and the incredible Crawfish & Sweet Corn Maque Choux.
Caracol, 2200 Post Oak No. 160
Caracol’s coastal cuisine and beachside ambience make bar dining a breeze. No trip to Caracol is complete without an order of the restaurant's famous wood-fired Gulf oysters drenched in chipotle butter and paired with a glass of sparkling wine. These delicious treasures are half-priced during happy hour along with a selection of $7 bites, which include sopes, taquitos, chicharrones and molletes.
Le Colonial, 4444 Westheimer
This upscale Vietnamese restaurant has a comfortable upstairs lounge and bar with two balconies. The full menu is available at dinner, or from 5 to 7 p.m. you can order some of Le Colonial's most popular items for just $8. Among the delectable tidbits available are the Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi), the cold summer rolls (goi cuon) and the signature crispy spring rolls (cha gio).
Milano Bar, 800 Sorella Court
Milano Bar is located just below Radio Milano in the trendy CityCentre. Amidst the craft cocktails and the herbs often lit on fire is a carefully curated bar menu from chef Hernandez that's served daily from 4 to 10 p.m. Stand-out menu items include the salmon tartare, lamb burger, pizza and crispy fried shrimp with avocado marmalade and habanero barbecue sauce.
The Pastry War, 310 Main
One cannot live on tequila alone, said no one ever. In all seriousness, The Pastry War does not serve pastries, but does offer spiced grasshoppers and worm salt-coated oranges. Luckily, if you find yourself in need of more nourishment than insects, The Pastry War has some of the best tamales for late-night munching. Made specially for The Pastry War and delivered daily, the tamales come in orders of three in either pork or chicken.
Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Multiple locations
Bar 79 is the classy and intimate lounge located inside Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. Fine wine and handcrafted cocktails are served alongside an assortment of mouthwatering bar bites. Notable items include tempura lobster tail, escargot, bacon-wrapped scallops and fried asparagus topped with crabmeat. There’s even a bar-friendly version of the lounge's famous pork chop that comes in easy-to-eat bites.
Robard’s Steakhouse, 2301 North Millbend
This Woodlands steakhouse may be known for its dry-aged steaks, but at the bar its seafood dishes really shine. The raw bar features oysters, tuna poke and tuna carpaccio. Seafood cocktails can be ordered individually or in a flight of four that includes shrimp cocktail, lobster parfait, Yucatan shrimp and avocado crab. The seafood tower with shrimp, oysters, lobster and crab makes for one impressive bar bite.
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Underbelly, 1100 Westheimer
The bar menu at Underbelly pays homage to chef Chris Shepherd’s favorite dishes from chefs who have inspired him. Six different dishes ranging from hog and hominy poutine to Peche’s smoked fish dip can be enjoyed in Underbelly’s rustic bar area. However, the must-have dish is Shepherd’s famous braised goat and dumplings with tender shredded goat in a rich and spicy gojuchang sauce.