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. MAPLE LEAF PUB Maple Leaf has an extensive beer selection, plenty of stiff drinks, and Canadian hockey on TV most nights. And if watchin' those toothless badasses smack around the puck ain't your thing, you can always challenge someone to a game of darts or Foosball to stay occupied. Thursday nights are the Geeks Who Drink nights, so wear your trivia hat and kick the ass of some stranger in the room with your useless knowledge. Oh, and you can always bring Rover with you, if you aren't quite up to going completely solo.
514 Elgin, 713-520-6464, themapleleafpub.com
9. THE DIRT Oh, Dirt Bar, how we love thee, even when ridin' solo? It's dark, dank, and full of loud-ass rock music, which means it's perfect for downing a pint of beer when your chatty +1 bails out. There's no need to make small talk at Dirt; hell, you couldn't hear yourself if you tried. But if you somehow feel lonely in spite of the noise, their tatted, spiky bartenders are the perfect friend stand-ins. Just don't expect to understand a word they say over the music -- perhaps resort to hand signals.
1209 Caroline, 713-426-4222, dirtbar.com
8. DARKHORSE TAVERN Darkhorse may be situated on the uber-crowded Washington corridor, but don't let that stop you from lazing the night away here sans friends. The bars surrounding Darkhorse are hardly indicative of what you'll find here -- rather than being a dancey-dance club full of trendy folks, it's a laid-back, Cheers kind of atmosphere, with a jukebox and some pretty decent beers on tap. No body glitter in this place; it's all chill, all the time. Oh, and as a bonus? The drinks are way cheap.
2207 Washington, 713-426-2442, dhtavern.com
List continues on the next page.
7. CAPTAIN FOXHEART'S BAD NEWS BAR & SPIRIT LOUNGE If you haven't found your way to Bad News Bar yet, perhaps you should ditch the crowd your with and check it out alone. And we mean it -- there's a chance you won't all fit in the tiny little dive all at once. That's a good thing, though. It means that Bad News' small space is generally full of people in the know, who are drinking fancy smart-people cocktails like Amaya Old Fashioneds. So go on -- make a new friend or two. You won't be sorry.
308 Main, twitter.com/badnewsbar
6. RED LION PUB Please don't confuse the Red Lion for a faux British pub -- it's legit, baby. From the huge beer and cider selection (we love a good cider) to the tasty pub food, the Red Lion has its British-transplant thing down to a bar science. Perhaps that's because the owner spends all of his time checking on the patrons, chatting about everything from the service to the quality of your libations. So if you're afraid of flying solo, the Red Lion is the place to get your feet wet, especially when a cheeky Brit grabs the bar stool next to you and waxes poetic about life in these United States.
2316 S. Shepherd, 713-782-3030, redlionhouston.com
5. LOLA'S DEPOT Oh, Lola's. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways. Well, for starters, your cheap, strong drinks and great music selection make us happy, even when we're alone. Your vibe is so chill, your walls are so decorated, and we can people-watch all those happy hours away while sipping on your $1.75 libations. For those reasons and more, we can hardly be cajoled into leaving our post at the bar and heading wherever our friends are. Why would we want to leave this dive bar utopia? There are no greener pastures.
2327 Grant, 713-528-8342
List continues on the next page.
4. MOON TOWER INN Beers, burgers, Battlestar Galactica. Moon Tower Inn has two of those things (guess which two) and has them en masse, along with some fancy-schmancy hot dogs and a massive patio on which you can kick back and enjoy whatever you're having. Friends? You don't need no stinkin' friends!
3004 Canal, 832-266-0105, facebook.com/bigweeniestyles
3. THE FLAT We'll go just about anywhere, even alone, if it offers frozen mojitos the way The Flat does. But that's only part of the reason drinking here alone is cool. Between the cushy chairs, the badass DJs, and some of our favorite bartenders around, you won't look or feel out of place knocking back a few frozen drinks alone. Also, the samosas are the greatest things since sliced bread, so do go ahead and order some. You won't even have to share.
1701 Commonwealth, 713-521-3528, barflathouston.com
2. BIG TOP LOUNGE A place as eclectic as Big Top Lounge is begging to be experienced by just me, myself and I. The kitschy decor is a thing of madness and beauty, and no one will give a damn when you pull up a barstool and order a beer for one. Just try to keep the dancing with yourself to a minimum, mmkay? We know it's hard, when there's such a great sound coming from the musicians or DJ's that are housed under the Big Top, but still.
3714 Main, 713-529-9666, bigtoplounge.com
See Houston's best bar for solo fliers on the next page.
1. ABSINTHE No one's gonna judge you for popping into this mysterious little lounge all by your lonesome. They'll just pour you a drink -- try a Hallucinating Melon or a Green Fairy if you're brave -- and let you stay awhile. It's a great place to nestle into a dark corner and just enjoy the vibe. There's no expectations at Absinthe. It's all licorice-flavored libations and killer bar food, all the time, with a little bit of music for good measure.
609 Richmond, 713-528-7575, absinthelounge.com
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