Now that spring has arrived and the weather is nice, it's time to venture outside and enjoy it before the extreme heat of summer arrives and many of us retreat to the comfort of indoor air conditioning. Drinking beer and eating outside on patios is the thing to do this time of year for many, and these bars have got you covered.
Note: This list is in alphabetical order.
BIG STAR BAR This friendly Heights neighborhood dive bar has a checkerboard floor, beat-up but comfortable furniture, red lights and a jukebox with a great music selection inside; outside, a gigantic patio awaits you and we always seem to meet interesting people who like to engage in intelligent conversation out there when we visit. Though winter is over and the fire pits outside may have ended now, keep an eye out for crawfish boils, food trucks, live music and "Chicken Shit Bingo" to liven things up on the patio this spring. Feel free to bring along your dog to hang out with you and your friends out on the patio as well.
1005 W. 19th, bigstarbar.com
CARLOS'S BEER GARDEN This open-air ice house has been in business since 1978 and probably is not well-known to people outside of the Clear Lake area, but it is worth making a trip out for, or at least drop in if you are in the area. Carlos's is another classic Texas ice house where regulars gulp down mostly domestic beers (there are a few craft brews on tap) while eating bar food like chicken-fried steak sandwiches and burgers.
Carlos's has a very friendly, welcoming vibe, with a crowd of regulars that includes both blue- and white-collar workers, college students from nearby UH-Clear Lake, and retired folks; it often feels like a neighborhood backyard patio party. With the nice weather, the garage doors are left open and you can sit out on the extended back patio as well; crawfish is being served now through mid-June.
18018 Texas 3, facebook.com/carlossbeergarden
CEDAR CREEK CAFE Cedar Creek Café was indeed built next to a little creek that flows out in front of it; the large outdoor patio is inspired by Austin's Hill Country and although some have poked a little fun at it for trying to be a little too much like Austin, we have to admit that Cedar Creek's scenic patio is a pretty cool spot for afternoon drinking and into the evening and night as well. The "Bad Ass Burgers" and "Big Ol' Wangs" (that's chicken wings) are among the popular dishes to be washed down with craft beers, and Cedar opens up early at 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sundays for breakfast items like chicken and waffles and frozen mimosas. Live music is played out on the patio on Saturdays from 4 to 8 p.m. for your listening pleasure this time of year as well.
1034 W. 20th, cedarcreekcafe.com
COTTONWOOD This Garden Oaks neighborhood bar has a large outdoor seating area with picnic tables where you can sit with friends and gulp down a few craft beers while trying some of the popular food like the Squirrel Master Burger, a Poblano stuffed burger topped with a jalapeno fried egg, pepper jack cheese and bacon. Cottonwood's beer list is always being updated and the craft cocktails and wine selection is equally impressive.
For your amusement there is foosball, cornhole/bean bag toss, giant Jenga and a bocce court; the bar is also dog-friendly so bring your four-legged friend along with you. Cottonwood has an impressive lineup of live music coming up in April, with Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Robert Kuhn and Libby Koch among the acts scheduled to perform; there is never a cover.
3422 N. Shepherd, cottonwoodhouston.com
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