Bayou City

Houston’s 10 Best Bars Open Around Thanksgiving

Contrary to popular belief, not every bar in Houston is open on Thanksgiving Day, so we present you with this list of the best bars open on Turkey Day; these places are all open on Wednesday as well, for those of you who need to de-stress a little bit the day before as well as the day of meeting up with your family. These are also good places to take any relatives or friends in from out of town whose company you enjoy. It’s always good to get out of the house for a while in the evening, don’t you think? (Note: This list is in alphabetical order.)

Anvil Bar & Refuge will open at 4 p.m. as normal on Wednesday, and then a little later at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day so you can head out there after all of your relatives have cleared out for the day. Opened in 2009, Anvil became a trendsetting place almost immediately thanks to its menu of 100 classic cocktails made with high-quality spirits and ingredients, as well as its own original tasty craft-cocktail creations. This is the place to be adventurous and try stuff that you may have never even heard of before; the bartenders here are very knowledgeable and can help you make the right selection for you and your friends. Anvil also offers up meat and cheese plates and other high-quality items to snack on while enjoying your cocktails; a fine selection of craft beers, wines, and champagnes are also available.  (1424 Westheimer,

Stop by Wednesday for Brewery Night at Flying Saucer and buy their “Turkey of the Year” specialty glass, which will feature the person they think is most deserving of the title this year. On Thanksgiving Day they'll be tapping Sierra Nevada 2013 starting at 6 p.m.; get there early if you want some because once it’s gone, it’s gone. If you're not too stuffed from Thanksgiving dinner, try one of the 12-inch pizzas or other bar food served up here, otherwise stick to the selection of beers, which is truly amazing and can help you erase any painful memories you may have acquired earlier in the day with your relatives during Thanksgiving dinner. Or bring your relatives with you if you like them, of course.  (705 Main,

JR’s Bar & Grill is probably Houston’s most famous gay bar; this longtime Montrose establishment has been at the center of gay nightlife in our fair city for many years now. On Wednesday night come out for drink specials like $1.75 vodka until 7 p.m. and $3.50 premium frozen drinks, among others; on Thursday JR’s hosts their Annual Thanksgiving Feast from 1:30-4:30 p.m. featuring a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, followed by desserts and coffee. This is always a nice gesture from JR’s, and a good place for members of the Houston LGBT community and supporters to come out and celebrate the holiday together.(808 Pacific,

Lola’s Depot will open up at 4 p.m. as usual on Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day, with friendly Big John behind the bar; opened in 1982, this is Houston’s ultimate dive bar, and still counts among its loyal regulars people who have been hanging out there since the '80s. In recent years the bar has had a resurgence, as a whole new generation of thrill-seekers has discovered the place thanks to social media and funny reviews on Yelp; the atmosphere is that of a dirty punk-rock bar, yet at the same time it is truly a neighborhood bar that appeals to a whole cross-section of the larger Montrose population. It is hard not to have a good time here under the influence of heavily poured drinks or cheap Lone Stars and PBRs in the company of friendly faces; feel free to bring in some Thanksgiving leftovers to share if you like.  (2327 Grant,

Downtown's Lone Star Saloon will be open during its usual hours on Wednesday starting at 1 p.m. and at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to give you time to eat your meal with the family before heading over and getting your drink on; one of Houston’s legendary dive bars, the Lone Star is located across the street from a large Metro bus terminal and in close proximity to the city’s Greyhound station. Because of its location you meet some interesting characters; some who have just arrived in town and are either a little road-weary or who are genuinely infected with wanderlust and enjoy rambling across our nation. Not exactly the type of place you want to take your parents, it reminds us of the kind of gritty urban bars you might see in a Martin Scorsese movie set in New York City during the 70s, with a Texas twist. Don’t visit here expecting a large craft beer selection or inventive martinis; stick to domestic beers and well whiskey and you’ll do just fine.  (1900 Travis,

Nick’s Place is one of the best sports bars in Houston and it is also the best place to watch college and NFL football on Thanksgiving this year (that isn't your couch), as it opens at 11 a.m. and has plenty of TVs so you can watch any or every game that is on. Nick’s has been around for more than 20 years now and truth be told the place looks a little worn and divey, but that is part of the charm of the place; it's authentic and real as the sports fans who call the place home, and it is definitely not a plastic corporate place. And if you hate turkey you can indulge in the Italian food here instead, particularly the pizza, which is outstanding.   (2713 Rockyridge,

This British pub plans on opening up at 2 p.m. on Turkey Day, as three football games, or soccer games as we Americans call them, are scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m; Richmond Arms will even have the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tuned in on one of the TVs at 2 p.m. if that sort of thing is your bag. All of the scheduled NFL and college American football games will be shown here as well later in the day; the kitchen will be closed, but the draft beer and full bar will be served up as per usual. This is a cool place for British expats and friends to gather on this American holiday; show up a day earlier on Wednesday and you can catch the Houston Rockets take on the Memphis Grizzlies at 7 p.m.   (5920 Richmond,

Rudyard’s will be open on Wednesday for a live-music event dubbed “Megsgiving” to benefit Meg Michelle, who has been diagnosed with MS and needs help paying her medical bills; donate here if you can’t make it out to the show. Bands performing include Modfag, The Freakouts, Killer Hearts, Dead Roses, and Hell's Engine; you might wake up with a Thanksgiving Day hangover after experiencing this rock and roll party. Speaking of Thanksgiving, Rudz will open at 5 p.m. on the holiday; although no special events are scheduled you can still come out as usual and eat one of their famous cheeseburgers or other bar food (if you have saved some room in your stomach). Go ahead and wash it down with a few of the many local and national craft beers sold here.  (2010 Waugh,

Warren’s Inn will be open on Wednesday as usual at 11 a.m. and at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day; this is a Houston institution, with a cozy, welcoming atmosphere that is a nice place to escape to once you have had enough turkey for the day and want to get out of the house for a bit. Located in a historical building, Warren’s features include chandeliers, large mirrors, a catbird-seat gazebo and low lighting with a few Christmas lights strewn about for good measure. It's just a cool, casual place to hang out and it has an authenticity about it; the martinis served here have a reputation as being quite potent. Be sure and check out the bar's eclectic jukebox and let some of the old tunes available take you on a journey back in time.  (307 Travis,

Mild weather is forecast for Houston this Thanksgiving, with a high of 77 degrees, so heading on over to this legendary Texas icehouse with its outdoor seating seems like a good idea; they probably won't have to worry about putting up the plastic walls or bringing out the space heaters. No special plans are scheduled for the holiday, but West Alabama does open up at noon and you can bring your turkey and trimmings with you and share it with others if you like; open since 1928, this place is truly a Houston institution and it’s basically a big, backyard-party place where people come to grab some cold beers, sit on shaded picnic tables and enjoy good conversation with friendly and approachable patrons and their dogs. If you need to burn off some Thanksgiving-meal calories, challenge your friends or strangers to a game of basketball, ping-pong or bean-bag toss out back.  (1919 W. Alabama,
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David Rozycki
Contact: David Rozycki