Houston's Top 10 College Bars

As our sister blog Eating...Our Words does, from time to time Rocks Off will be giving your our picks for the top taverns in various Houston-area neighborhoods. Of course, the lines can be porous, but here anything with a TABC license that cannot reasonably be considered either a restaurant, coffeehouse or live-music venue is fair game.

10. KOMODO'S PUB Komodo's may not be terribly close to any particular college campus, but the laid-back little dive bar still manages to attract a plethora of college-age barflies. Be that as it may, they're usually well-behaved, so we'll let 'em stay and knock back a few with the olds if they want to.

2004 Baldwin, 713-655-1501, facebook.com/komodos-pub

9. THE GINGER MAN PUB Perhaps it's the Ginger Man's great beer selection -- craft, local, bottle, draft, or whatever tickles your fancy -- that college kids can find that keeps them coming back. Or perhaps it's the picnic tables that look out onto trendy Rice Village that keep its cozy beer garden hopping. Whatever the draw, the college kids love the Ginger Man, and even though we're well past our college age, we love it too.

5607 Morningside, 713-526-2770, houston.gingermanpub.com

8. PUB FICTION Pub Fiction ain't just for those hip young Midtown professionals anymore. Perhaps it's the overabundance of sports on TV, or the jagerbombs that flow like water inside those hallowed walls, but something about this massive space has the college kids flocking here like drunken moths to a jager-filled flame. It's a dance-y, sporty, beer-and-shots kind of place, which is perfect when you're looking for a break from the books. Or a break from Spring Break.

2303 Smith, 713-400-8400, pubfiction.com

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7. CECIL'S PUB Cecil's laid-back vibe makes perfect sense for the college crowd. There's a good mix of folks -- certainly not all are college students -- but most patrons pass up collared shirts and dress pants for flip-flops and T-shirts, so dressed-down attire fits right into the mix. The liquor is cheap, there's a massive front porch to hang out on, and the $1 margarita night is perfect to ease the pain of being broke-as-a joke after paying that massive tuition bill.

600 W. Gray, 713-527-9101, facebook.com/cecils-pub

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6. KELVIN ARMS Beers, beers, and more beers. Kelvin Arms, Houston's only "Scottish" pub, is a hangout for college kids galore. Whether they come here for the Belhaven on tap, the steak night, the frozen Jack and Cokes, or the scotch and whiskey list, it matters naught. The point is they come in droves to hang out in the Kelvin Arms and wax poetic about their lives while knocking back a pint or six, and the Kelvin welcomes them with open arms in return.

2424 Dunstan, 713-528-4739, kelvinarmspub.com

5. LITTLE WOODROW'S RICE VILLAGE This Rice Village staple is full of college kids, and it's presumably a combination of the pretty bartenders, pretty patrons, and wallet-sparing prices on adult libations. Broke college kids need beer too, guys, and they flock here to lap up Miller Lite and jagermeister like there's no tomorrow. Thank God that there's no class on Friday, or they'd be hurtin' something fierce from their Woodrow's debauchery every Thursday night.

5611 Morningside, 713-521-2337, littlewoodrows.com

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4. BRIAN O'NEILL'S TRADITIONAL IRISH PUB Another Rice Village bar, Brian O'Neill's, also caters to the area's college crowd. Rarely will you drive by here and not see the crushing mass of college kids who inhabit it -- they spill out onto the covered patio, drinks in hand -- seemingly every night of the week. It's a booty-shakin', hook-up-if-you-dare kind of place, a perfect spot to live up those college years to the best of your ability.

5555 Morningside, 713-522-2603, brianoneills.com

3. MARQUIS II If you've never stepped foot in this nondescript little bar on the outskirts of Rice Village, you're not alone. You'd really have to be in the college-crowd know to find it, but once you step inside, it's like being transported to another realm. With multilevel bar seating and wood paneling on all the walls, illuminated by a few neon lights here or there, Marquis II has a bit of a trailer meets strip-club feel: dark, dank, and kinda porn-y. The graffiti-covered bathrooms drive that point home well, as do those obnoxiously potent drinks.

2631 Bissonnet, 713-522-2090, marquis2.com

2. CELLAR BAR Nary a night will you find Cellar Bar free of the University of St. Thomas students who frequent it. They've got to be keeping the place in business at this point, using up all the karaoke spots and bustin' a move to the random tunes that fill the air in this divey little bar. Cellar Bar is pretty great, in a house-party meets actual establishment kind of way. You can play drunken Wii, challenge randoms to game of pool, or warble karaoke to your hearts content, and no one will judge. College-bar perfection.

3140 Richmond, 713-528-6435, facebook.com/thecellar.bar

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1. THE DEN A campus as massive as UH Main needs a decent bar -- in case you get thirsty between classes, of course -- and luckily, the Coogs have one. The Den doesn't top this list solely because it's on a college campus, though. Even if it were transported to another part of the city, The Den would still be a solid bar, with a rotating beer list, ample amounts of liquor, and cheap happy-hour prices to boot.

The Coog fans and college students keep the crowd an interesting mix, and if you happen to stumble in on karaoke night, you won't be sorry. Just think of it as your own personal version of Old School, pop that collar, and join in the fun.

4835 Calhoun, 281-888-4299, uhdenbar.com


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