Bitterman's Market Square Bar & Grill
Photo by Houston Press Staff
This consistently unassailable downtown watering hole-cum-burger joint has a secret weapon, ambience-wise: If it's getting too crowded inside, a quick hustle through the unassuming back door lands you in the equivalent of a medieval fairyland. Surrounded by mesmerizingly high walls covered with creeping vines and intricate molding, entering this courtyard is like stepping into a three-dimensional coffee-table book, where conversation flows like the beer that somehow magically tastes even better.
If you can't find what you're looking for on Westheimer, it probably doesn't exist. This central artery is home to world-class restaurants and cozy lunch spots, shopping that'll suit any budget (the Galleria, antique malls, curio shops, international bazaars), a major university, street festivals, public parks and parades. The thoroughfare ambles across some of the richest and poorest neighborhoods and ebbs from four lanes to one and a half, past roadside fruit stands and ominous warehouses, over train tracks and under freeways, through the heart of downtown and into the shadow of suburbia. Like the city it bisects, Westheimer has it all; you have only to travel it to see for yourself.
We were going to give this award to your mom, but then we remembered the James Turrell Skyspace at the Quaker meeting house in the Heights. Every Friday night, the Friends open the Skyspace, a square hole in a concave ceiling, and welcome visitors to sit back and watch day turn to night. You can't actually see the sun setting, but you do see the sky getting darker and darker, and the occasional bird or airplane fly by as well. The mood is one of quiet contemplation, the perfect end to a hectic week.
Many people who click on Anus.com aren't looking for philosophical treatises, but porn seekers just might end up finding enlightenment. A.N.U.S., an acronym for American Nihilist Underground Society, was started back in the '80s by privileged, countercultural hacker-slackers and pranksters from River Oaks, whose taste for highbrow philosophy and lowbrow metal music is featured on the text-heavy site. The writing is by turns opaque and obnoxious, and the sheer amount of it is dizzying. So why the name A.N.U.S, anyhow? "Adults have a tough time talking about shitting," says the site's founder and main contributor, who calls himself Goat and writes under the handle Vijay Prozak. "But you need your anus as much as your mouth and your brain." Dude, that's heavy.
Looking down on Houston from the fancy restaurant high atop the Hilton Hotel downtown can lead you to ooh and aah. But looking up at the city from street level is even better, especially when viewed through French artist Jean Dubuffet's zany, cartoonish sculpture at the corner of Louisiana and Lamar in the skyline district. Dubuffet's work, a seven-piece sculpture of squiggly shapes and towering totems painted in bold stripes and set in a crude circle, appears odd and misplaced as only public art can. But step inside its warped walls and you'll be viewing downtown with a new set of eyes. The artwork doubles as a jungle gym, with caves to climb through and nooks to hang from. It frames the sky, the street, the public library, City Hall and the surrounding glass towers, replacing their staidness with childlike exuberance. Check out every angle. Just be careful not to hurt your neck.
It's midnight on Saturday, going into Sunday. It's high time to wind the party down and steer your mind over to matters relaxing and/or spiritual. And there's no better way to do that than to spin your radio dial over to KCOH, where Mister Misty ushers you from party-time to prayer-time with marvelous aplomb. Speaking over a sanctified organ that plays "Misty" for you, the veteran record jock murmurs, soothes and damn near hypnotizes you with his suggestions. "Sit down in your favorite chair, with your favorite person, and fill your favorite glass with your favorite drink," he whispers. In a world where most radio DJs are paid to read cards and then shut the hell up, it's a rare treat to hear one put on a performance -- especially one as good as this.

Best Of Houston®

Best Of