With the recent Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, it's important to recognize and appreciate the history and importance of early Houston gay bars like The Ripcord, which opened back in 1980, when our city was not as tolerant toward the LGBT community as it is now. Ripcord is the oldest leather bar in Texas, and for any club to last this long, whether gay or straight, it has to be doing lots of things right; cheap drinks, a jukebox, a pool table and the large outdoor patio keep the regulars coming back. Ripcord has something of a reputation for being scary and appearing seedy to the uninitiated, but the bartenders and patrons are a welcoming and friendly bunch and the overall atmosphere is one of acceptance and tolerance toward all people; you don't have to be into the leather and Levi scene to drop in for a drink. In fact, the Ripcord can feel more like a neighborhood place than a leather bar much of the time, since it now has show-tune sing-along and trivia nights in addition to the theme nights catering to various fetishes throughout the month.
READERS' CHOICE: JR's Bar & Grill