Night Life

UPDATED: Top 10 Downtown Bars, Clubs & Ice Houses

As does our sister blog Eating...Our Words, 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.

UPDATED (May 28, 10 a.m.) to correct some information about Char Bar.

10. Shay McElroy's Laid-back and inviting, Shay McElroy's is a great place to relax after a long day, chock full of friendly bartenders, good pours and interesting people. Just across the street from Chase Tower, its cozy, quiet ambiance makes it a perfect spot for pre-gaming or coming down after a long night on the town. It's never too packed, so feel free to bring some friends and snag a big table outside.

909 Texas, 77002, 713-223-2444,


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9. The Dirt This dimly lit, grungy rocker bar plays host to one of Houston's most eclectic crowds. Located across the street from House of Blues and within walking distance of Toyota Center, The Dirt is one of the best spots in town to grab a few (more) drinks after a concert or a Rockets game.

Drinks are served to patrons from behind a circular, granite countertop, and the only places where you can see a damn thing are the smoking section and the photo booth. The pours are friendly, as are Dirt's staff and regulars. And sometimes, you're just in the mood for a Rim Job, so head on down to The Dirt and get yourself one.

1209 Caroline, 713-426-4222,

8. Char Bar Formerly Still a tailor shop, Char Bar still has a shoeshine booth inside. and there's even a rotating clothing rack in the back. These days, however, the kind of clothing alteration you're most just as likely to get on site is if you spill a drink on yourself.

Have yourself a craft cocktail and ask one of the bartenders tell you about the pub's history. It's just next door to Warren's, too, so you won't have to go far when you're ready for a change of scenery.

305 Travis, 713-222-8177


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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever