5 Places to Watch the Pride Parade

The annual Pride Parade, held in Montrose since 1979, remains the largest parade in Houston (not to mention the largest Pride Parade in the entire Southwest). And it's certainly our most festive. After all, what other parade gives you a half-naked rollerblading Batman tossing condoms and Mardi Gras beads?

Camping out on the sidewalk prior to the parade's start at 8:15 p.m. is a tradition for the young and heat-tolerant, however. I have long since moved past that stage. The first year of Anvil Bar & Refuge's operation, I found a wonderfully quiet air-conditioned perch to watch the parade pass by the plate glass windows, cocktail in hand. Those halcyon days are long past, however, as Anvil was as busy as I'd ever seen it during last year's parade.

Despite this, I still like Anvil as a parade-watching destination -- just be sure to get there early for a seat. Here are five more perches for you to consider if you're coming down to the 'Trose for the parade on Saturday evening.

5. El Real Tex-Mex Cafe

You might not get any A/C here, but you'll get a killer view of the parade as it winds down Westheimer. You'll also get plenty of margaritas, chips and salsa as you enjoy the evening.

4. Bacchus

This new wine bar on Dunlavy is hosting a customer appreciation party starting at 6 p.m., with happy hour specials until 9 p.m. Get a belly full of wine and walk the one short block from Bacchus to the parade afterwards; just remember to bring a folding chair.

3. Hugo's

This may not seem like the most obvious choice for the evening, but that's why I like it. Hugo's fabulous margaritas pair well with the equally fabulous parade going on outside. Just make sure to get a seat by the giant plate glass windows (and did I mention the valet parking?).

2. Tomo Japanese

No one thinks about poor Tomo (and that could be because its sushi is just so-so). But its decently sized patio fronting the Westheimer curve is prime property during the Pride Parade. Besides, enough sake can make any sushi taste good -- and you're really there for the floats anyway.

1. Katz's Deli

Located at the terminus of the parade route, Katz's two-story restaurant is perfect for catching not only the merry end of the parade but also for sucking down a day's worth of calories in its delicious cheesecake shake. (But you can always dance those calories off later at the huge Prideapalooza party down the street at Mango's and Avant Garden).

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Katharine Shilcutt