Fitzgerald's
After a hot, sweaty night of dancing and slamming to punk rock legends the Queers on the bottom level of Fitzgerald's, a group of tough-looking teenage girls waited in line for the bathroom. As they leaned against the wall, wiping their Manic Panic hair out of their eyes, they couldn't help but check out the three women in their late twenties who were waiting for the bathroom as well. Shouldn't these older chicks be at an after-work happy hour, knocking back martinis and discussing their retirement plans? Or racing home to get dinner ready for the kids? The curiosity got to be too much for one troubled youth, who finally got up the courage to ask the age of one older woman as she walked out of a stall and headed for the sink. "I'm 28," the woman announced, wiping her hands on a paper towel. "And I will always go to shows." As she sauntered out, the sense of awe lingering in the bathroom was palpable.

The Wine Bucket is part fancy boutique, part bar -- which may be one reason it's such a comfortable place to drink alone. The store adds an air of casualness to the dimly lit bar. So you can stop in for a glass of wine after a day of shopping or working (depending on your lot in life), and there's nothing sad about it. More important, though, especially for women: No one will bother you if you decide to settle into one of the little tables surrounded by four hefty chairs. Each is a world unto itself, a place to savor an expensive glass of wine, a plate of Danish Brie and a moment to yourself.

The Wine Bucket is part fancy boutique, part bar -- which may be one reason it's such a comfortable place to drink alone. The store adds an air of casualness to the dimly lit bar. So you can stop in for a glass of wine after a day of shopping or working (depending on your lot in life), and there's nothing sad about it. More important, though, especially for women: No one will bother you if you decide to settle into one of the little tables surrounded by four hefty chairs. Each is a world unto itself, a place to savor an expensive glass of wine, a plate of Danish Brie and a moment to yourself.

These days, it's hard for a smoker to enjoy himself. Even sitting in the smoking section of a restaurant, puffers get accusing stares. The fact is, lighting up in a big room is kind of like peeing in a swimming pool: The whole shebang gets contaminated. That's why there's nothing like smoking at the Last Concert Cafe. Its back area has big tables with plenty of room between them, and overhead, there's only sky. You can sit back, light a smoke and puff away, guilt-free. Best of all, let's just say the laid-back clientele is smoker-friendly. They're more interested in hula-hooping, dancing with their eyes closed and smoking their own stuff than in bothering you.

Last Concert Cafe
These days, it's hard for a smoker to enjoy himself. Even sitting in the smoking section of a restaurant, puffers get accusing stares. The fact is, lighting up in a big room is kind of like peeing in a swimming pool: The whole shebang gets contaminated. That's why there's nothing like smoking at the Last Concert Cafe. Its back area has big tables with plenty of room between them, and overhead, there's only sky. You can sit back, light a smoke and puff away, guilt-free. Best of all, let's just say the laid-back clientele is smoker-friendly. They're more interested in hula-hooping, dancing with their eyes closed and smoking their own stuff than in bothering you.

This seafood restaurant/saloon stands out as a NoDo rarity: a bar with a commitment to live music. John Evans has enjoyed a long Thursday-night residency here, and if you add to that frequent gigs by Greg Wood, Jimmy's Pawn Shop and Little Screamin' Kenny, it's plain to see that this isn't a stuffed-shirt kind of place. This is a bar where you can knock back the bocks and get rowdy. With seemingly every other night spot in downtown chasing the velvet-rope crowd, St. Pete's stands out as a place to relax. In fact, with all the mounted game fish and nautical gear on the walls, you just might think you were back at the dearly departed Live Bait.
This seafood restaurant/saloon stands out as a NoDo rarity: a bar with a commitment to live music. John Evans has enjoyed a long Thursday-night residency here, and if you add to that frequent gigs by Greg Wood, Jimmy's Pawn Shop and Little Screamin' Kenny, it's plain to see that this isn't a stuffed-shirt kind of place. This is a bar where you can knock back the bocks and get rowdy. With seemingly every other night spot in downtown chasing the velvet-rope crowd, St. Pete's stands out as a place to relax. In fact, with all the mounted game fish and nautical gear on the walls, you just might think you were back at the dearly departed Live Bait.
Beer? Check. Shot specials? Check. Half-naked women flailing about in a tub of vanilla pudding? Checkmate! Thursday night is now "Pudding Night," thanks to this venerable Katy club, which invites the gorgeous women of the Association of Pudding Wrestling to get down 'n' dirty for your pleasure. Matches run from about 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. But be sure to get there by 8 p.m. to buy raffle tickets (three for $5). The winner of the drawing gets to hose down the women in the patio shower at the end of the night. Even if you don't get that honor, this is still a good deal: Buttery nipples, kamikazes and well tequila shots are only $2. Drink enough, and you'll be seeing double -- that's twice the pudding wrestling.

R & R Sports Bar & Grill
Beer? Check. Shot specials? Check. Half-naked women flailing about in a tub of vanilla pudding? Checkmate! Thursday night is now "Pudding Night," thanks to this venerable Katy club, which invites the gorgeous women of the Association of Pudding Wrestling to get down 'n' dirty for your pleasure. Matches run from about 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. But be sure to get there by 8 p.m. to buy raffle tickets (three for $5). The winner of the drawing gets to hose down the women in the patio shower at the end of the night. Even if you don't get that honor, this is still a good deal: Buttery nipples, kamikazes and well tequila shots are only $2. Drink enough, and you'll be seeing double -- that's twice the pudding wrestling.

It's Sunday. The work week stretches ahead, and from this vantage point, it seems as endless as the universe itself. Piled on to the sense of doom is a sense of regret -- for having spent too much money, kissed an idiot or lost your cell phone over the weekend. You could go to bed early with a good book so you'd be all fresh and eager tomorrow. Or you could party on; after all, booze is the best cure for the Sunday blues. And the alcohol flows freely on Sundays at Sherlock's Pub. Treat your depressed self to $4 domestic pictures, $1.50 well drinks, $1.75 call drinks, $1.75 Shiner pints and $1.50 house wine. Best of all, there's free pool and live music all night long. In this economy, a good deal always pulls in a nice crowd, and folks flock to Sherlock's. If you drink enough, you might start believing it's still Saturday.

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