Since 1979, Pride Houston has been celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies with Pride Week, and this year, the Carnivale-themed bash is bigger than ever. Beginning Friday, June 20, venues across the city will host events honoring our LGBT community, culminating with the Pride Festival and Pride Parade on Saturday, June 28.
The majority of Pride Week events take place in the Montrose neighborhood, which, fortunately, is packed with great places to refuel your body, sate your appetite and whet your whistle. For those unfamiliar with the neighborhood, we've compiled a handy guide to some of the best spots for food, booze and (much needed) caffeine in and around the festival area.
So don your favorite feathered headdress and hit the town, and enjoy some of these spots along the way.
Most of the Pride Houston celebrations take place in the evening, and late nights of partying can leave a person feeling pretty rough in the morning. The following places have all the food, caffeine and water (remember to hydrate!) you'll need to get you through the week.
Agora 1712 Westheimer Open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily If you need a little hair of the dog the morning after a night of partying, Agora has both booze (beer and wine) and coffee to pick you up. There's no kitchen at Agora, but there are plenty of pastries to satisfy a sweet tooth and a calm, quiet atmosphere to soothe that hangover headache.
Blacksmith 1018 Westheimer Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Blacksmith isn't exactly a quiet, calming place in the morning; In fact, it's quite the gathering place due to its excellent coffee and super satisfying eats. Swing by the small coffee shop and get some joe to go on your way to neighborhood pride events.
Common Bond 1706 Westheimer Open Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The new kid on the block is already popular for its outstanding baked goods, but the coffee bar is also getting a lot of deserved attention. Tables can be hard to come by, and the popularity means there's sometimes a long line, but the coffee and croissants are totally worth it.
Empire Cafe 1732 Westheimer Open Sunday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. You'll find far more than just coffee at Empire Cafe, as the restaurant boasts an extensive food and cocktail menu as well. The coffee is reasonable (for Montrose) and you can order a plain cup with no thrills to take on-the-go.
Té House of Tea 1927 Fairview Open Monday, Friday, Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For those who need a little extra boost but don't like coffee, there's Té House of Tea, a funky, super chill spot for just about every type of tea you can imagine. Most of the food is vegetarian and vegan friendly with an emphasis on local, organic ingredients. This story continues on the next page.
Food All that celebrating is bound to make you hungry. Or maybe you just want to stake out a spot to watch the parade while you chow down. Either way, these restaurants are sure to satisfy (though check the parade route before you make plans to make sure your spot is on the way).
Aladdin 912 Westheimer Open Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Voted one of the most underrated restaurants in Houston by our readers, Aladdin is a great spot for quick and easy Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. The puffy pita bread is made in-house and the smoky baba ghanoush is not to be missed.
Baby Barnaby's 602 Fairview Open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The miniature version of local chain Barnaby's, this Fairview cafe is very LGBT-friendly and often very crowded. But the food is consistently fresh and fast, and every Barnaby's patio welcomes dogs and humans alike. Note: This is not along the parade route.
Brasil 2604 Dunlavy Open Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Quick, healthy, flavorful cuisine featuring a little something to please everyone is the mission of this Montrose cafe. From omelets and waffles to burgers and pizza, there's a great variety of dishes at Brasil, and great people watching to boot.
Katz's Deli & Bar 616 Westheimer Open 24 hours The best thing about Katz's is that it's open 24 hours. No matter what time of day or night you find yourself in need of sustenance, Katz's is there with traditional Jewish deli food and a mind-boggling array of other options.
Paulie's 1834 Westheimer Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For comforting, high-quality Italian food, look no further than neighborhood favorite Paulie's. All the pasta is made in-house, and the "small" salads and half orders of main dishes will probably keep you full and happy no matter how much dancing you do after. Note: This is just barely outside the parade route.
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Booze Let's be real: A lot of Pride Week revolves around revelry, and a party ain't a party without a few drunken anecdotes to retell during next year's festival. While there are a number of great gay bars in town, these spots don't specifically cater to the LGBT community. They all embrace the crowd, though, and will be great places to party throughout Pride Week.
Anvil Bar & Refuge 1424 Westheimer Open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily Houston's first craft cocktail bar will no doubt be a popular stop on the way to Pride events throughout the week. During happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 5 p.m., all cocktails on the "100 List" are half off.
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Boheme 307 Fairview Open Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Though the flatbread pizzas and smoked jalapeño hummus make Boheme a great place to eat, the cheap wine, beer and cocktails make it an even better place to drink. Grab your friends and relax on the sprawling patio with Boheme's frozen sweet tea cocktail, perfect for day drinking.
Hay Merchant 1100 Westheimer Open Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Because it shares a kitchen with Underbelly, Hay Merchant is as good a place to eat as it is to drink, but why fill up your belly with food when you can take advantage of one of the best craft beer lists in town?
Lola's Depot 2327 Grant Open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily Lola's is consistently one of the cheapest bars in Montrose and also one of the weirdest. Come here when you're looking to save money and lose memories, in the best possible way.
Poison Girl 1641 Westheimer Open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily Poison Girl feels similarly dive-y to Lola's, but the hipster bar happens to have one of the best selections of American whiskey in town. It can be hard to find a place to sit--either inside or out--on the weekends, so make friends with the random folks at a table and share the space. You'll be glad you did.