The Houston Galleria opened for business in November of 1970 and is the biggest mall in the state of Texas; in case you’re new in town or have been living under a rock, it's known for its high-end boutiques and department stores that sell expensive items. The Galleria is such a big landmark that the area around it has become known as the Galleria area, or Galleria/Uptown; the Uptown District is centered along Post Oak Boulevard, Westheimer and the Galleria. The bars on this list are close enough to the mall to be considered located in the area, though not all are in Uptown proper. Did everybody get that? Basically, all of these places are pretty close to the Galleria.
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(Note: This list is in alphabetical order)
Belvedere looks like a nightclub and lounge you might see down in Miami Beach; one of the most popular nights here is Latin Thursdays, when people enjoy dancing to salsa music played by resident DJ Little Martin. Belvedere has bottle service and a VIP room you can rent out for $500 if you want to host a private party for yourself and 50 friends; they have a nice patio lounge you can hang out in for free as well. Belvedere is the kind of place where young attractive people come to dance all night and party while sharply dressed; it’s a nice spot for people-watching any night they are open, no matter what the theme is on the particular night you visit. (1131 Uptown Park, belvedereinfo.com)
CONCERT PUB GALLERIA
The Concert Pub Galleria hosts mainly hard rock and metal tribute acts who pay homage to bands like AC/DC, Judas Priest and KISS, among others; on some nights you’ll find bands that play cover songs from many different bands all night, with '80s and '90s music usually being in the regular rotation. This is a fun place if you’re into this type of music and the crowd usually lets loose and gets a little rowdy; you can also step outside to a large patio deck where a DJ is usually playing some dance or hip-hop music, often with videos. Other weekly events include karaoke and Texas Hold’ Em tournaments; the bar has also always had a strong Texans fan base that shows up on game days decked out in full team regalia, ready to drink beer and eat fried food while cheering on the home team. (5636 Richmond, samsconcertpub.com)
DAVE & BUSTER'S
Hipsters may roll their eyes at the mention of the place, but we feel kind of sorry for people who can’t have some kind of fun in a place full of video games and alcohol. Yep, Dave & Busters is a national chain, which is one of the big strikes against it for some people, but it’s fun to visit every now and then and feel like a kid again; it is one of the closest things going to a throwback to the old arcades from the '80s, besides the great Joystix Classic Games and Pinballs downtown, of course. Dave & Busters does have one advantage over them, since it's open 7 days a week and Joystix only opens up to the public the first and last Friday of the month. If you are broke and want to kill some time, drop in during Power Hour, 4:30-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, when 60 minutes of video-game play will cost you only $10.
(6010 Richmond, daveandbusters.com)
This honky-tonk owned and operated by a former firefighter features weekly live performances from musicians, including singer-songwriters and bands that play Texas music, country and other genres, like rock and pop. Patrons can watch the performances from up above in a small balcony, take a seat at one of the tables down below, or get out on the dance floor while the music plays. Up-and-coming artists as well as more established local and touring acts play at Firehouse; the bar features an old retired fire truck parked out front, and inside the building you’ll discover the rustic country décor, including some cowboy boots hanging from the ceiling. Open-mike night here is on Wednesdays, and the best performers can win substantial prizes. (5930 Southwest Fwy., firehousesaloon.com)
The interior of Muldoon’s is small, cozy, and dark, and the music is not turned up too loud so you can enjoy a conversation with a friend; the main reason most people visit, however, is to enjoy the large wood patio deck outside, which is shaded with beautiful old oak trees. Muldoon’s serves craft beers and cocktails and makes good hot toddies you can enjoy when the weather gets cooler; there is also a fine bourbon selection here and a cigars available to enjoy with a drink when you visit. There is no kitchen but a Beck’s Prime is located right next door; a Houston Public Library location is nearby as well if you want to check out something to read on the patio. (2611 Augusta, facebook.com/Muldoons)
THE RICHMOND ARMS
This British pub serves up favorites like fish & chips, bangers & mash, and Scotch eggs, in addition to their large selection of beers from around the world on tap and in bottles. Richmond Arms is the favorite bar of a lot of Brit expats living in Houston, as well as locals who have caught on to the charms of the place; the look and feel here is how we imagine a pub in England would be, as it is definitely not a gimmicky theme bar. They have darts here of course, a large outdoor patio in front, and plenty of TVs to watch football (soccer) on. The pub's other huge draw is their Wednesday quiz night, starting at 7:30 p.m; come on out and test your knowledge of sports, music, geography, entertainment, current events, history and more and you can win some cool prizes. (5920 Richmond, richmondarmsonline.com)
RON'S PUB & WHITE HORSE INN
This neighborhood strip-center dive bar is home to many local regulars who enjoy playing darts and watching football matches (again, soccer to us Americans) on TV; these regulars can seem a little standoffish at first, but if you stick around long enough and drink enough beers with them they will open up and you will probably make some new friends. The interior is dark and there is a small secluded patio out back if you want to take a little break to smoke for a bit; a juke box is available and live music is played here on some special occasions. Ron’s is basically a no-frills place to hang out and drink with all pretensions left behind. (1826 Fountainview, ronspubhouston.com)
Once home to Houston’s venerable Club 6400 and too many other clubs to mention here, Stereo Live has upgraded the sound and lighting system to a superior quality and hosts top EDM DJs from around the world, along with the expected massive foam and laser-light parties. Stereo Live also hosts hip-hop shows, rock concerts, dance competitions, fashion shows and more; they have three unique spaces at the location available for events, including the main room, an outside terrace, and a loft. A lot of shows come through here, so check the calendar on Stereo Live’s Web site for all of the details; we should mention that there are seven bars located throughout the venue, this being a bar list and all. (6400 Richmond, stereolivehouston.com)
THE WEST END
The West End has a massive patio that can seat more than 400 people, making it a good spot for after work get-togethers and parties; the clientele is largely made up of young professionals and business people who work in the Galleria area. The bar food menu here is extensive, so you can get burgers, wings, fish and chips, and a whole lot more; there is A Clockwork Orange theme going on here, with images inspired by the film on employees' T-shirts, menus and signs, but the bar itself looks nothing like the Korova Milk Bar — maybe a little Duke of New York Pub, for all you Kubrick fanatics. Join their pub club to become a “droog” and earn points towards free appetizers, West End merchandise and even a trip to a brewery of your choice in Europe, including air fare and hotel. (5320 Westheimer, westend-houston.com)
Wild West is a country nightclub and dance hall where people go to two-step and drink cheap domestic longneck beers. If you are a native Texan, you probably know what to expect from a place like this; if not you might be in for a little bit of culture shock. Like most country bars, there is also some line dancing going on to certain songs, and the DJs take some breaks from playing purely country music with some pop, dance and hip-hop sets thrown in throughout the night; mostly country music is played here, of course. Coming up on September 16 is the Miss Wild West 2015 competition; on most weekend nights you can buy some barbecue that is sold out in the parking lot. (6101 Richmond, wildwesthouston.com)