Rocks Off Sets You Straight On Musical Happy Hours

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On newsstands now - or soon, depending on where in the metro area you live - you will find the Houston Press' new cover story, "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" - a guide to Jimmy Buffett's discography our city's varied, vibrant happy-hour scene, in which Rocks Off had some input. Naturally, we covered the musical and hipster-friendly happy hours. It's what you get for wearing cutoff shorts to work every day. As far as musical happy hours go in Houston, few if any start directly at 4 or 5 p.m., the norm for most happy hours. However, all the ones we mention are free at the door, but some may start closer to 7 or even 9 p.m., as with the Umbrella Man. Always make sure to check the venue's Web site to see what the haps is. We pointed to the scenes over at Continental Club and the Last Concert Café as some of the most happening. CC's Monday-night Glover Gill tango piano session and Tuesday's Umbrella Man throwdowns never disappoint, and you can't forget Beetle's free show on Thursdays that always brings out the dancing people. Each Friday night, the venue rotates a cast of cover and tribute bands to sate the crowds from 7 until 9 p.m. This Friday, the Allen Oldies Band hits the stage, and next week you can catch Molly & the Ringwalds' triumphant return. Chase Hamblin's Picture Book, his British Invasion tribute band, always hustles in a decent group too.

The granddaddy of the bunch, Last Concert Café not only has amazing Mexican food in front, but two stages out back for music. Wednesday nights Clory Martin has been holding down the fort starting at 7 p.m. She is a frequent collaborator with Runaway Sun's Andrew Karnavas at some acoustic duo shows they put down around town. Imagine a smokier Norah Jones and you get the idea.

North Shepherd wine bar Block 7 has free music every Sunday evening as well. They have Sunday residencies running all month, with Andrew Karnavas and Robert Ellis taking the first and second Sundays of each month, and special guests rounding out the last two Sabbaths.

If you can't make it to a live-music gig for happy hour, plenty of jukeboxes around town are begging for your change at the quitting hour. A favorite at the Press office is the one down the street inside Lone Star Saloon. We can score a double shot of George Strait and Steely Dan after a hard day at the office for around $2. They also have Creed in there, and we plead the Fifth as to whether or not we have played "Torn" while alone at the bar drinking our night away.

You can always count on the box over at Alice's Tall Texan to make your night better. The thing is chock-full of Strait, Patsy Cline and almost every major Tex-Mex group you can imagine. The bar's goblets of Lone Star, coupled with all the sad songs and waltzes, make Tall Texan a Rocks Off-recommended haunt.

Of course, not all jukes are supposed to be forlorn. The one at Boondocks has enough filthiness to keep happy hour sleazy. The bar's happy hours are lively ones too, especially with the spot's new and expanded patio.

Sunday nights up there are getting to be a blast too, with the free barbecue on the pit outside. New Order, Mickey Avalon, Jay-Z, and the stray Stone Roses album all round out Boons' motley collection "I Wanna Be Adored" makes perfect post-work fodder.

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