C & F DRIVE INN The C & F stands for Cortez and Family, and this Heights neighborhood ice house has indeed been run by the Cortez family since opening in 1987. A loyal crowd of regulars made up of people from the neighborhood and beyond drop in for the cheap drinks and laid-back, friendly atmosphere. A game of pool costs only 50 cents, but if you knock the ball off the table you are required to put a dollar into the jukebox; when the weather warms up the large back yard allows for barbecues and games of horseshoes and washers. Football is popular here, and former University of Texas Heisman winner and Houston Oilers legend Earl Campbell even stopped in for a beer once.
6714 N. Main Street
CARLOS'S BEER GARDEN Okay, this ice house is actually in Webster, not Houston proper, but the next time you are in the Clear Lake-area it is definitely worth checking out. Open since 1978, Carlos's has a very friendly, welcoming vibe, and feels like a neighborhood backyard patio party in the summer; even during this colder time of the year, the regulars-made up of both blue-and white-collar workers, college students from nearby UH-Clear Lake, and retired folks-will make you feel welcome. You can even get a haircut at the barber shop located a few steps away when you drop by.
18018 Texas 3, facebook.com/carlossbeergarden
THE DAVENPORT (CLEAR LAKE) Many of you have no doubt visited The Davenport on Richmond Avenue, but did you know about this second location out in Clear Lake? If you live out in the area or are visiting nearby you should drop in; like its big sister location this relaxing lounge has a variety of nearly 50 specialty martinis to choose from. A friendly crowd of regulars enjoys the generously poured drinks here; when you stop by check out the lengthy list of cocktails and shots with colorful names like "Jonestown Kool-Aid" and "Alien Secretion."
1235 Clear Lake City Blvd, facebook.com/TheDavenportLounge
DOWN THE STREET This new Heights-area neighborhood bar looks like an old rustic Texas icehouse, with a dog-friendly seating area out front and dirt-covered parking lot, but Down The Street serves liquor and has a full bar to go along with their impressive collection of wines and beers, many of which come from Texas breweries. The regulars include young adults who have recently moved to the area as well as longtime residents; the menu here is sure to please the foodies in your group.
5746 Larkin St, facebook.com/DownTheStreet
MOJEAUXS LOUISIANA DRINKERY Located across the street from Warehouse Live, this New Orleans/Cajun-themed bar is a good place to stop by before or after a concert, or anytime, actually. There are five categories of Hurricanes served here (get it?), each named after hurricanes that have hit the Houston area in the past. All are made with Don Q Cristal Rum, and each increases the number of additional liquors added as the categories increase. In addition to the Hurricanes, a full line of Cajun cocktails are served here, and when you visit, treat yourself to some tasty traditional New Orleans dishes like chicken and sausage gumbo, red beans and rice, and Cajun-spiced Boudin.
2024 Rusk St., mojeauxsld.com
MOVING SIDEWALK This new downtown cocktail bar is named after a band that Billy Gibbons was in before ZZ Top; Billy even stopped by to check the place out once shortly after they opened, according to one of the bartenders. The name also reflects the sidewalk out in front on Main near Congress, which has become very busy with all of the bars opening up in the area. You can get good beer or wine here, but the main reason to visit is to try some of the specialty handcrafted cocktails; the amount of attention and care put into each drink is impressive. They take their mixology very seriously here.
306 Main, facebook.com/MovingSidewalk
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PIMLICO IRISH PUB Pimlico may be one of the most authentic Irish bars in Houston. In fact, the owner himself is from Dublin, where his father owned a bar of the same moniker in the '60s through the '70s; it took its name from the street it was located on, just a few blocks from the Guinness beer brewery. Paying tribute to the world-renowned Irish beer, a fence outside has been branded with the famous Guinness logo, and Guinness posters and memorabilia adorn the walls and shelves, along with other items from Ireland. When you visit, try some authentic Irish bar snacks like Smiths scampi fries and Tayto cheese & onion potato chips.
810 Waugh Dr., pimlicopub.com
RED OX BAR & GRILL The Red Ox Bar & Grill's mantra is "Food People Love," and favorites include the Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Mexican Burger with chorizo and jalapenos; vegetarians will be pleased with the Portobello mushroom fajitas and spinach enchiladas. Red Ox is from the former owners of closed Montrose Mexican restaurant Bocados, and they have resurrected favorite Bocados menu items like the chicken empanadas, chicken flautas, and their popular fajitas here as well. Wash all of this food down with the Texas beers and wines offered here, as well as the signature Red Ox Prickly Pear Margaritas.
811 Collingsworth St., redoxgrill.com
RE:HAB BAR ON THE BAYOU This friendly bar located on the banks of Little White Oak Bayou, a few minutes drive from Downtown or the Heights, features a large backyard with picnic tables, a big court for playing washers and a fire pit. The weather might be a little too cold for hanging outside right now, so stay inside the bar if you like; the Mitch Jacobs Band, Texas Johnny Boy and blues legend Milton Hopkins play here on a regular basis, and while there is never a cover, the bands appreciate tips.
1658 Enid, rehabar.com
WESTWIND CLUB Housed in a traditional Texas country dancehall-style building in Northwest Houston, Westwind is now the oldest running honky-tonk in Houston after Blanco's in River Oaks closed in 2013. Speaking of Blanco's, Westwind is now hosting a lot of artists who regularly played there, including the Cornell Hurd Band, Jesse Dayton, and the Derailers, among others. The club is big enough to accommodate the two-steppers out on the dance floor on Saturday nights, but small enough to feel like an intimate neighborhood bar during the afternoon happy hour.
5905 Guhn Rd, westwindclub.com
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