Alamo Drafthouse - Vintage Park

Movie theaters are constantly stepping up their games. Everywhere you go, there are bigger screens, fancier menus and reclining seats, no matter if you're paying $8 or $30 for a ticket. The competition is fierce, but in the end, the Vintage Park outpost of the Alamo Drafthouse remains on top because of its focus on what matters most: movies. A crazy idea, to be sure, and one the friendly staff supplements with solid food and drinks, but the Drafthouse has always put movies front and center. With pre-show entertainment you won't see anywhere else and screenings of cult as well as current films, the Alamo Drafthouse continues to create a moviegoing experience unlike what you'll find anywhere else.

READERS' CHOICE: Alamo Drafthouse

You can't escape politics this year. No matter what apps you're using, no matter what channel you're on, hell, no matter where you're sitting, someone is saying something about this year's election. The members of A More Perfect Union probably didn't mean to be part of that trend when they picked their name, but this is one phrase we're always happy to hear. Whether the words conjure up thoughts of the Constitution or an alternative rock band from Pearland, the name just makes you feel good. If we can all agree on anything, it's that we need to strive toward A More Perfect Union.

Heights Cigar Lounge
David Rozycki

There are fewer and fewer establishments in the world where a person can enjoy a stogie without violating an ordinance or inciting a tiny riot. That's why a place like the Heights Cigar Lounge — with its leather recliners and sofas, its impressive walk-in humidor, and its friendly, welcoming vibe — is so vital. It's an oasis, a reprieve from the every day hustle and bustle, where you can sit back, relax and enjoy your Arturo Fuente in peace.

For 15 years Nameless Sound has made Houston a more sonically interesting spot. The music education non-profit is rooted in inclusion, whether it's offering children, adults or homeless communities the chance to learn improvised music techniques, or bringing creative music heavy hitters to town to play concerts and teach workshops. For Nameless Sound's classes, director David Dove brings together participants of all skill levels and sculpts a group lesson that encourages contributions in a non-judgy environment. For the 2015-2016 season, the concert-organizing arm of the modest yet powerful outfit presented legendary free jazz pianist Dave Burrell, Scottish free improv vocalist Maggie Nicols and Australian trio The Necks.

Hear that? That's the sound of another pretentious cocktail-cove opening, where mixologists, not bartenders, serve you $12 drinks that inexplicably contain an egg and take half an hour to engineer. And if that's your thing, the Inner Loop is your promised land. But if you like actual bars, you'll love this unassuming joint jammed in the corner of a faceless strip mall, as if the other tenants don't want to play with it. Hunters has a little stage for live music and karaoke, a shuffleboard table, a large patio and a heavenly Thursday steak night. This place is for grown-ups who want a cold beer after a hard day.

READERS' CHOICE: Anvil Bar & Refuge

Simone on Sunset

Tucked between a pair of small-homes-turned-businesses just off Kirby, Simone on Sunset is easy to miss. The gate is lined with greenery and fronted by a cobblestone driveway. Walking onto the patio feels like strolling onto someone's property, which is what gives Simone such a cozy, neighborhood vibe. The bar has a wide selection of wine, beer and cocktails, along with a full menu of pizzas and wine bar fare. Weeknights at happy hour are ideal, but even on weekends, Simone feels more like your neighbor's backyard than a Rice Village bar.

Simone on Sunset

Tucked between a pair of small-homes-turned-businesses just off Kirby, Simone on Sunset is easy to miss. The gate is lined with greenery and fronted by a cobblestone driveway. Walking onto the patio feels like strolling onto someone's property, which is what gives Simone such a cozy, neighborhood vibe. The bar has a wide selection of wine, beer and cocktails, along with a full menu of pizzas and wine bar fare. Weeknights at happy hour are ideal, but even on weekends, Simone feels more like your neighbor's backyard than a Rice Village bar.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Already a phenomenal museum thanks to permanent exhibitions of dinosaur bones, precious gems and Egyptian artifacts, the Houston Museum of Natural Science upped its game this year with "Amber Secrets: Feathers from the Age of Dinosaurs." Showcasing Burmese amber that contains feathers, creatures and plant life from about 100 million years ago, the exhibition offers clues about the origin of flight and introduces new species of termites (including the terrifying Gigantotermes rex). No other amber exhibition in the world is as scientifically important or unique as "Amber Secrets," making this one a big win for Houston.

READERS' CHOICE: Houston Museum of Natural Science

To get an idea of how one half — the red part — of the country thinks and feels, don't wait until late morning to crank the dial to Rush Limbaugh. Local boy Michael Berry, who can be heard during the week from 8 to 11 a.m. and again from 5 to 7 p.m., is the best at what he does. On air, the self-anointed "Czar of Talk Radio" chats H-Town and national politics in a compelling, no-nonsense manner. Off the mic, the former Houston City Council member is a busybody who's often sprinting around town to make various speaking engagements and running his Redneck Country Club, a honky tonk and social club out in Stafford that hosted a Ted Cruz party during this year's Super Tuesday.

PJ's Sports Bar

If you're dying to belt out some Pasty Cline but the thought of singing for a room full of strangers makes you queasy, head to P.J.'s Sports Bar on Wednesday and Friday nights for low-pressure karaoke in an intimate space. Upstairs from the bar you'll find a little area where you can croon that tune you've been practicing in the car for weeks. The crowd is welcoming, but bringing along your own cheering section never hurts. On that note, "Good job, you!"

READERS' CHOICE: Spotlight Karaoke

Best Of Houston®

Best Of