At first glance, the Big Easy's vicelike grip on the category seems too easily clinched. For a city like Houston, with a sizable amount of blues history, there's a surprising paucity of clubs devoted to the genre. The Dead Club Scythe has killed off the little joints (Miss Ann's Playpen, Silky's) and more upscale venues (Billy Blues, Cactus Moon) with equal vengeance. But no one beats the Big Easy for sheer down-home, roadhouse (albeit on Kirby Drive) funkiness. This no-frills venue boasts a dependable list of local blues and blues-rock regulars (Luther & the Healers, Jeremiah Johnson, Rick Lee, the Mighty Orq) as well as Sunday nights reserved for zydeco. Under the auspices of owner and genuine blues fan/harpist Tom McClendon, the large living-room-size club appeals to the chair listeners and the dance-floor bump-and-grinders equally. Plus, most nights have no cover charge -- which leaves you all the more money to spend at the bar, or on the peerless jukebox.
Readers' choice: The Big Easy