Save for designated drinking holidays such as New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, Thanksgiving weekend may very well be the most boozy of all the holidays. For many, it marks a four-day weekend, perhaps a chance to host family/friends or head elsewhere to visit those same friends and family.
Of course, cramped quarters can lead someone to go stir crazy, as is custom during the holiday season. Fortunately, for those who find themselves ready to break free this Thanksgiving weekend – perhaps to roll solo, maybe catch a game or catch up with old friends, whatever the reason – the Houston bar scene has you covered, no matter your holiday mood.
Thanksgiving is perhaps the ideal weekend for Millennial types to catch up with old high school and college friends. For those young enough to still enjoy a wild night on the town, there is perhaps no better 1-2 combo than Concrete Cowboy and Clutch Bar. For starters, the two are located across the street from one another, so – oncoming traffic notwithstanding – stumbling across the street amid a gang of festival holidaygoers isn’t too much of a trek. Secondly, for those looking to cut loose for the holidays, perhaps in the company of another, Concrete Cowboy and Clutch certainly don’t lack for available singles. (Concrete Cowboy, 5317 Washington, concretecowboybar.com; Clutch Bar, 5334 Washington, clutch-bar.com)
Perhaps you’re also the type looking to catch up with family and old friends, but aren’t necessarily looking to do so amid the company of hundreds of jam-packed well-wishers. Look no further than Lei Low and Eight Row Flint, two of the best bars in the city. The drinks are strong, the staffs are courteous and bartenders at both establishments, simply put, know what the hell they’re doing. Plus, Lei Low and Eight Row are subdued enough to the point where actual conversation is encouraged and available. Check out the Mai Tai at Lei Low or the Old Fashioned at Eight Row while reveling in the holidays; you won’t be disappointed. (Lei Low, 6412 North Main, leilowhtx.com; Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale, agricolehospitality.com/eight-row-flint)
Midtown is littered with up-tempo bars and nightclubs with dress codes. Little Woodrow’s, meanwhile, offers all the fun of Midtown with none of the pomp and circumstance. The dress code is relaxed, the drinks are reasonably priced, the patio is spacious, and sports are on television. It’s a lively atmosphere for sure, but not so much that chatting with friends and family is an obstacle. The weekly turtle races may be gone until 2018, but Thursday night at Woodrow’s in Midtown still makes for one heck of a holiday night out. (2306 Brazos, midtown.littlewoodrows.com)
Thanksgiving weekend not only marks a time to relax and socialize; it also marks one of the best football weekends on the calendar. You’ve got three NFL games on Thanksgiving day/night and a full slate of action on Sunday. Couple that with rivalry weekend in college football, and it’s pigskin-palooza in the coming days. Check out the gridiron action at McIntyre’s, which literally boasts a TV at every turn, or at Christian’s on White Oak, one of the best sports bars in town. Christian’s also serves up one of the best burgers in the city, while McIntyre’s always has a food truck or two on-site outside its spacious patio. (McIntyre’s, 1230 West 20th, mcintyreshouston.com; Christian’s Tailgate, 2820 White Oak, christianstailgate.com/heights)
Sure, spending Thanksgiving with family was great, but you’ve had enough company for one day and are looking to venture out for a solo outing. Do so by enjoying what may be the best Old Fashioned in town at Johnny’s Gold Brick. The bar is mall, the vibe laid-back and the cocktails are top-notch. Johnny’s is a place you can get away from the holidays for a bit, all the while enjoying one of the better bars Houston has to offer. (2518 Yale, Treadsack.com/johnnys)
Not a football fan, but still looking for a little nightlife? Get down on some old-school arcade games, maybe even some Nintendo 64, at Neil’s Bahr, which was made by gamers, for gamers. Located just east of downtown, Neil’s Bahr is the perfect place to grab a cocktail or cold beer, plop down on one of the bar’s couches and let your mind clear for a spell while enjoying a little Goldeneye or any variety of video game from an era when video games weren’t so damn complicated. (2006 Walker, neilsbahr.com)