Bar Beat

Labor Day Weekend Fun at Houston Restaurants and Bars

Float on the water. Fire in the sky.
Float on the water. Fire in the sky. Photo courtesy of Barge295

You've worked all through the summer while your Facebook page lit up with your friends' travel photos from white sandy beaches or European bistros. Well, Labor Day is here and it's time for those who labor to take a three day weekend for themselves. You don't want to sweat it out over a hot grill cooking weenies and dawgs for Aunt Bertha and her new (but really old) boyfriend.

The forecast is for rain in the Houston area anyhoo, so take a break from the relatives or pick a couple of them that you actually like and head out for some fun in our great city. Last year, many Houstonians were sifting through the remains of their homes and trying to figure out how to put life back together again after Hurricane Harvey. Now, we're getting back on our feet and it's time to have some fun. Pick a designated driver or download a ride-sharing app and hit the town. If your abode stayed high and dry, stand the tab for your friends who weren't so fortunate. We have some deals for you to make that job a little easier.

2613 1/2 Nasa Parkway

This bar and restaurant on Clear Lake is starting its Labor Day festivities on Sunday, September 2. At 8 p.m., Turning Point, a local band that plays an eclectic variety of music, will perform. There will also be a float giveaway from Leslie's Pool Supply of Clear Lake. If you are the lucky winner, you'll be set up for the next day's Float Fiesta. Barge295 will host its first annual Float Fest on Monday, September 3. The public is encouraged to bring their floats and vie for one of the cash prizes. The crazier the float, the better. There will also be paddleboard races. The forecast calls for a good chance of rain, but we know how dicey such predictions can be, so odds are you just get some decent cloud cover as you float along with other party people.

If rain does make an appearance, you can enjoy the sunset (they are always prettier when it's cloudy) from the interior of Barge295 while sipping a " Rum For Your Money" or a " My Safe Word is Pink". There will be drink specials (holla at the Fireball crowd) as well as a food menu that includes bar goodies like nachos and mac and cheese. There's more substantial fare like The Tribute " Darrell's Special" Po-boy, a sandwich of roast beef, smoked ham and turkey, topped with jalapeno mayo and roast beef gravy. You might want to enjoy that baby AFTER being on the water, or else you might not be able to float.

DJ Chocolate will be upping the vibe with some tunes. Like the band on Sunday, she plays everything from Dance and Hip-Hop to Classic Rock and Top 40. The Labor Day fun begins from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday.

click to enlarge Cowboy up solo. - PHOTO BY ELLIE SHARP
Cowboy up solo.
Photo by Ellie Sharp
Urban Eats
3414 Washington

Urban Eats is offering an extended happy hour on Labor Day Monday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Its $4 solo sliders such as the Cowboy and the Fried Green Tomato BLT will be available and also the pommes frites. That's French fries for those of you who slept through high school French class.

There will be plenty of specials on adult beverages with 50% off craft cocktails and 25% off bottles of wine. The regular happy hour prices include a $4 menu for house wine, draft beer and well drinks.

Try out the patio if the weather is amenable and admire the Houston view.

click to enlarge I get kicks from champagne. - PHOTO COURTESY OF VICTOR
I get kicks from champagne.
Photo courtesy of Victor
4321 Montrose

This ultra-swanky and oh-so- French lounge is about as far as one can get from a backyard barbecue. The blue velvet bar stools and low-lighting call for cocktail attire, or at least business casual. Victor will celebrate Labor Day a day early on Sunday, September 2, starting at 5 p.m. with champagne specials. The bar is usually closed on Sundays. A press release said the bottles would be at cost. When we asked for any specific pricing, we were told that the least expensive bottle is $90, but at Labor Day pricing it would be $45. Therefore, prices may vary, but if you are looking to impress a date or are just in the mood to treat yourself for all your laboring, champagne specials might make your holiday.

DJ Sebastien " Tee Two" Mariani will be spinning the jams. That's way better than your kid brother forcing everyone to listen to his Fall Out Boy playlist.

click to enlarge Kiss my shrimp and grits! - PHOTO BY DEBORA SMAIL
Kiss my shrimp and grits!
Photo by Debora Smail

Dish Society
5740 San Felipe
23501 Cinco Ranch
12525 Memorial

This farm to table restaurant has three locations in the Houston area including the Galleria, Katy and Memorial. Diners who enjoy its weekend brunch can extend that pleasure to this Labor Day. Dish Society will serve brunch, September 3 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Brunch options include such dishes as Gulf shrimp with smoked gouda grits or chicken and buttermilk biscuits. Frozen mimosas are a perfect pairing.

Its social hour and dinner service will follow on Monday.

Dish Society uses local vendors and farmers like Slow Dough Bread Company, Black Hill Farm and Atkinson Farms in Spring.

click to enlarge Molina's will set you up with fajitas and fixin's. - PHOTO BY DEBORAH SMAIL
Molina's will set you up with fajitas and fixin's.
Photo by Deborah Smail
Molina's Cantina
7901 Westheimer
3801 Bellaire

If burgers and hot dogs aren't your thing, you can order Molina's fajita packs for pick-up or delivery. It's not the cheapest way to go, with the smallest pack for 4-6 people starting at $109.95, but it will impress your out-of-state relatives who have never had real fajitas.

If you would prefer to take the kinfolk out to a true Houston Tex-Mex institution, Molina's is the way to go. It has been around and family-owned since 1941, so that kind of staying power speaks for itself. On Labor Day, the restaurant will offer $6 Molina's margaritas all day. All day to play.

The Original Ninfa's on Navigation
click to enlarge Good things come in threes. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ORIGINAL NINFA'S
Good things come in threes.
Photo courtesy of The Original Ninfa's

2704 Navigation

The Original Ninfa's is another Tex-Mex giant to take visitors for the original tacos al carbon or seriously good beef fajitas. For Labor Day, The Original Ninfa's is rolling out its new frozen margarita flight for $10.

The flight of three ounce beauties includes the famous Ninfarita, the mango habanero margarita and the prickly pear.

You may have to make it a four-day weekend.

Ooh-La-La The Dessert Boutique
23920 Westheimer Parkway
770 West Sam Houston Parkway North

Do the Macaron-es for Labor Day. - PHOTO COURTESY OF OOH LA LA
Do the Macaron-es for Labor Day.
Photo courtesy of Ooh La La
For hosts looking to amp up the sugar high at their Labor Day fete, Ooh La La's Macaron Mondays ends Labor Day. All French macarons can be had for a sweet $1. Usually, the macs are $2.25 apiece. If you've ever tried your hand at making them, you'll know it's better to leave the work to the professionals like owner and pastry chef, Vanessa O'Donnell. Pick from flavors like Salted Caramel or Dreamsicle. Or try the chocolate chip cookie dough. Heck, get a variety. They're a buck each.

The limit is one dozen, which is perfect. It means you can limit your guest list as well. " Sorry, Aunt Bertha. There aren't enough macarons for you and your boy-toy Hank".

click to enlarge Relax among the trees of Discovery Green. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GROVE
Relax among the trees of Discovery Green.
Photo courtesy of The Grove

The Grove
1611 Lamar

The Grove at Discovery Green is ending its Tree House Happy Hour for the summer on Labor Day, so if you are heading to the Journey/Def Leppard concert, this is the perfect place to do a pre-show wine and dine. From 4 p.m to 7 p.m., there are select beers for $3, house wines for $5 and select cocktails for $6. The happy hour menu features $6 shrimp corn dogs and $8 bell pepper hummus. Those prices will beat what you get suckered into at the Toyota Center.

Houston Restaurant Weeks
Here, There and Everywhere

Many Houstonians are spending this last week trying to hit all the hot spots they missed for the HRW menus around town. The massive fundraiser was founded in 2003 by television and radio personality and HRW volunteer, Cleverley Stone, in 2003. Over the past fifteen years, it has raised more than $12.5 million dollars, as reported by the Houston Press, for the Houston Food Bank and the surrounding food banks in Galveston and Montgomery County.

Monday is the last day to participate in the event. It's not that hard. Eat a great meal. Pay a great price. Do a great deed. What better way to spend the fruits of your labor than that?
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.