Bar Beat

The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 5 Bar Food

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Whether you call it pub grub or just bar food, it's always good to have an ace in your pocket: a place where you know the food will be just as good as the beer, and not just a greasy means of soaking up the excess alcohol in your system. For purposes of this category, we excluded bars that are more well known as restaurants, such as The Red Lion or The Queen Vic, and tried to keep the list to joints that are bars first.

5. The Bull & Bear

Despite the presence of spots like The Red Lion and the Richmond Arms, The Bull & Bear is still my favorite little English pub in town. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's a warm mahogany embrace on the inside, with all the UEFA games and Boddington's you could ever want. The menu is huge, too, but I suggest focusing on the English classics: Cornish pasties, cottage pies and the mound of chicken curry that feeds two. And remember to ask for a bottle of brown sauce to complete your meal.

4. Blanco's

Our own Mike Smith claims that Blanco's has the best cheap burgers in town. (I disagree, and still maintain that those are found at either Burger Park or Cream Burger.) But the burgers at this honky tonk are still pretty good, especially considering they're only $4 each. For the stout of heart and stomach, I recommend the saddle dogs: hot dogs and cheese rolled up in a flour tortilla and deep-fried, State Fair-style. They're huge and heavy, but you can twirl it all off on Blanco's dance floor.

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Katharine Shilcutt