Houston's Top 10 Martini Bars

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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. DOWNING STREET Downing Street is "technically" a whiskey and cigar bar, but did you know they also have a list of specialty martinis a mile long? From Blood and Sand, a Chivas-based OJ and cherry concoction to the sugary-sweet Milky Way, Downing Street has martinis down to a science, even the pineapple-Infused vodka martini. Yum.

2549 Kirby, 713-523-2291, downingstreetpub.com

9. CEZANNE JAZZ CLUB Not only is Cezanne one of Houston's top jazz rooms, it's also home to one of its best martinis. Step into this intimate, swanky bar filled with the sound of sweet, sweet jazz, and Cezanne's killer martinis will transport you well out of this century back into something way more Gatsby-ish and cool.

4100 Montrose, 832-592-7464, cezannejazz.com

8. LOUNGE AT BENJY'S Perhaps there's a slight bit of line-bending on this list with the inclusion of benjy's, but honestly, it counts since it's technically the lounge at benjy's, and they have some seriously killer martinis up in that attic bar space. Try a Citrus Blossom cause yum, or take advantage of the fact that benjy's wants you to be creative and encourages you to create your own signature martini. Such freedom, such deliciousness.

2424 Dunstan, 713-522-7602, benjys.com

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7. BLUE AT BRENNER'S Until you've had the Pear Martini surrounded by the miles and miles of lush green landscape at Blue, you really haven't had a proper martini. If pears aren't your bag, try the Fresh Berry Martini or ask your bartender to whip you up something a little special. Don't be intimidated by the idea of a hefty price tag, either -- stop by during happy hour, when martinis are available for the rock-bottom price of $5.

1 Birdsall, 713-868-4444, brennerssteakhouse.com

6. RESERVE 101 Reserve 101 may have a hefty whiskey list -- as in more than 280 types -- but don't get it twisted. They know how to make a martini; after all, it's Reserve 101 Whiskey and Martini Bar? Not only do their martini menu whet your whistle, you can do so during Reserve's four-hour happy hour on the weekdays, when signature cocktails are half price. Try a Hemingway.

1201 Caroline, 713-655-7101, reserve101.com

5. FEDORA LOUNGE A bar with the name Fedora should know a thing or two about a good martini, and Fedora Lounge in West U doesn't disappoint. The mood is always chill, thanks in part to the mature crowd and the live jazz most nights, and you can always expect your Lemon Drop to be created with the utmost care. Martini-bar perfection.

2726 Bissonnet, 832-581-3232, facebook.com/thefedoralounge

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4. THE DAVENPORT (CLEAR LAKE) How could The Davenport, whose moniker boasts a cute little martini glass as an accent, not make a Top 10 martini bars list? The hip sister location to the hallowed Richmond lounge boasts 30 to 40 signature martinis, which always seem to come in glasses that are three times bigger than normal. Worth the drive down 45.

1235 Clear Lake City Blvd, 281-461-3283, thedavenportlounge.com

3. WARREN'S INN What can we say about Warren's that you don't already know? Yeah, we thought so. It's a fantastic little hole in the wall with the friendliest bartenders and the stiffest cocktails ever-- very much including those deadly martinis. Trust us on this one; many a Houston Press staffer has attempted to test those waters to our peril. But we keep coming back.

307 Travis, 713-247-9207

2. THE STATE BAR & LOUNGE The State Bar downtown is by no stretch of the imagination a martini bar; drinks like the Communist, an OJ, cherry brandy, or the gin and lime juice combo make this place the quintessential place to indulge in some martini madness. If vodka tickles your fancy in a way that gin doesn't, don't worry. There are plenty of vodka-based martinis to choose from. We suggest the Cucumber Martini, though. Refreshing and stout.

909 Texas, 713-229-8888, thestatebar.com

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1. ZIMM'S MARTINI & WINE BAR Zimm's isn't just a martini bar; it's a fancy-schmancy martini bar that serves stiff, innovative drinks and features deep house music from resident DJ Curtis Morton, which is a sexy change of pace from the martini-bar norm. But the martinis aren't the only thing here that are pure art; so are the wall decorations, some of which come directly from the owner's private collection.

4321 Montrose, 713-521-2002, zimmsbar.com


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