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. ALLEY KAT BAR & LOUNGE Surfacing in the spot that used to house that lovely little dive the Mink, Alley Kat is a suited-up, adult version of its former inhabitant. Now sparkly-clean, with a jazz-infused musical bent, Alley Kat hasn't lost the allure (or killer cocktails) that kept the Mink going -- just spruced it up a bit.
3718 Main, 713-874-0722, facebook.com/thealleykathouston
9. DOUBLE CROSS LOUNGE Double Cross is a chic little lounge that is an offshoot of another chic little lounge, Hearsay, so it was bound to acquire a mad following once the doors opened late last year, with uber-friendly bartenders pride themselves on their ability to whip up those signature martinis and craft cocktails. Even if the place is often ass-to-elbows, the vinyl nights and Tito's on tap are worth the fuss. And if sub-arctic vodka turns you off, the craft-beer selection -- quite a bit of which hails from Texas -- ain't half bad either.
114 Gray, 713-526-3423, facebook.com/doublecrosslounge
8. SAINT DANE'S BAR & GRILLE A dog-friendly Midtown bar with a taco night and a steak night? No, it's not a mirage, it's Saint Dane's. One of the area's most easily accessible bars, it's away from Midtown's main drag, which adds to its charm. Saint Dane's massive selection of frozen margaritas makes this garage-door that much more tolerable in Houston's sweltering humidity for about 11 months of the year.
502 Elgin, 713-807-7040, saintdanes.com
List continues on the next page.