As our sister blog Eating...Our Words does, from time to time Rocks Off will be giving you 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.
We think you should know that we're cheerily humming about that naughty ol' Mrs Robinson while writing this. Everyone likes cupcakes. And cougars.
One little confession to make, though. We may have stretched the definition of "bar" on this one a bit, but only in the sense that restaurant bars are on here. But still. Ignore the steaks being served around you and go straight for the liquid diet at those bars. You won't regret it.
10. HOWL AT THE MOON Look, we don't know why. We don't know how. All we know is that every time Rocks Off has gone to Howl at the Moon, we've been impressed by the fact that there are so many cougars on the prowl. Perhaps it's the massive 24-ounce "bone drinks," the even more massive 86-ounce buckets of booze, or the scroll-like list of shots and bombs that attract frat-aged prey, but something keeps this cougar den ripe for the picking.
612 Hadley, 713-658-9700, howlatthemoon.com
9. SAMBUCA A place with a drink named "Cougar Cool-Aid" and live music every night? Even if it wasn't filled to the brim with the Mrs. Robinson types, it would be worth a shot. But luckily, it is full of cougars on the hunt. Touted as a "rockin' dinner club," Sambuca is that, and so much more. These cougars are relatively harmless unless you're a handsome young gent, in which case you're on your own against those claws.
909 Texas, 713-224-5299, sambucarestaurant.com
8. 13 CELSIUS WINE BAR Wine bars make the best cougar hangouts, don'tcha know? 13 Celsius may be a major cougar den, but don't expect the kind of rowdy, attention-grabbing kind of antics you'll find at some other places on this list. The cougars at this little chill wine bar are of the refined sort, so put on your big-boy pants, comb your hair, and brush up on your wine-ordering skills to make sure you look like a good catch when you saunter up to the bar.
3000 Caroline, 713-529-8466, 13celsius.com
List continues on the next page.
7. PETE'S DUELING PIANO BAR Classic-rock covers busted out via dueling pianos? How could the more refined ladies not want to hang out here? This small(ish) bar is always packed with cougars and piano-bar fans alike, and it can get pretty rowdy, but really that's a good thing. There lack of space ensures you'll brush up against one of the ladies you're lookin' for at some point during the night.
1201 Fannin, 713-337-7383, petesduelingpianobar.com
6. CAPS PIANO BAR Caps is nothing like our previous piano bars -- Howl at the Moon and Pete's are much more chaotic -- so don't expect to roll in here and start downing boneyards or shots. It's a cozy little bar, full of an older, more refined crowd, but younguns are still welcome to join in and appease the cougars who prowl this place. Just don't order anything that involves Jagermeister -- it's whiskey or nothing here.
2610 Briar Ridge, 713-784-0024
5. TASTING ROOM UPTOWN We may be listing the Uptown Tasting Room location, but really, any Tasting Room you visit is full to the brim with our favorite feline on the prowl. Again, wine. It's like the cougar version of warm milk. Comforting for the soul. So is music, and the Tasting Room does a good job of providing it, although we once saw a guy here who performed an acoustic version of Sublime's "Date Rape." That was weird, but the cougars are worth it.
1101 Uptown, 713-993-9800, tastingroomwines.com
List continues on the next page.
4. FUAD'S If you've never heard of Fuad's, you're not alone, but you're missing out big-time. In the same strip center as The Palm, it's a fantastic little-bitty restaurant with no menus and a chef who comes out to take the order from each table. Play stump the chef here; you can't win.
We aren't here to talk about food, though. We're looking for cougars, and you'll find them in Fuad's back bar, which is the closest you'll come to watching a live scene from Dallas in the '80s. The big hair, oil money, and cougar antics are the best part of this place. Whenever we eat here, we ask for a table by the bar to observe. Maybe one of these days we'll be brave enough to just go to the damn bar instead, but until then we'll just watch the cougar hunt go down.
6100 Westheimer, 713-785-0130
3. RINGSIDE AT SULLIVAN'S The name of the bar at Sullivan's Steakhouse is a totally appropriate moniker, really, given the amount of cougars prowling this circus.
4608 Westheimer, 713-961-0333, sullivansteakhouse.com
2. SMITH & WOLLENSKY Yes, Smith & Wollensky is a steakhouse, but it's also got one of Houston's best cougar bars. We've literally never been in this bar without spotting at least one table of cougars on the prowl, and the bar stays open quite late, so we can imagine it only gets better as the night goes on. Lots of good wine and an interesting crowd keep these ladies coming back night after night, we'd guess.
4007 Westheimer, 713-621-7555, smithandwollensky.com
List continues on the next page.
1. THE PALM Happy hour at The Palm is something that everyone should experience at least once; happy hour for cougar hunters is something that needs to be experienced weekly, because it is the pinnacle of the Houston cougar dens. The crowd at The Palm is older in general, which makes sense given its expensive wine and expensive steaks and all, but The Palm's bar is dripping with the best kind of cat around.
The competition is hardly stiff, either, considering that this place does attract a more refined crowd. Just try to act a bit cultured, or you'll look way out of place in this Cheers for the elite.
6100 Westheimer, 713-977-2544, thepalm.com
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.