Best Bar for the Whisky Connoisseur
While Houston offers its share of locally made spirits, this spot just north of Ellington Field sets its sights far beyond the Loop, offering the largest whiskey selection in the Lone Star State. With hundreds of popular and vintage whiskeys from the U.S. and countries like Scotland, India, France and Japan at the ready, the accommodating staff guides connoisseurs through tastings of everything from classic brands like Wild Turkey to out-there labels like Hitachino.
Best Bar for Pretending It’s Still the 1980s
This neighborhood spot harks back to another era, when bars relied on up-and-coming bands, big-brand beers and curious patrons to fill their square footage. Nostalgic patrons flock here, drawn by the decades-old music, comfy dress code, friendly staff and frills-free drinks. Diehard Queen and Bowie fans will want to come early on weekends to catch wonderful ’80s cover band The Spazmatics belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Let’s Dance.”
Best Bar for Drinking with an Astronaut
Regulars swear by the scratch-made, wood-fired pizzas and well-rounded craft beer menu at this loosely British pub. Strike up a conversation with a NASA employee while devouring margherita pizza and bacon cheeseburgers alongside frosted glasses of Saint Arnold’s space shuttle–themed Endeavor IPA (naturally).
Best Bar for Diner Drinks
There’s nothing quite like a classic small-town diner. This 30-year-old establishment boasts a menu of egg specialties, memory-evoking pies and Gulf Coast seafood. While the décor is bland, the food and drinks are anything but. Almond-fried shrimp, slow-roasted prime rib and creamy coconut meringue pie hold their own against a slew of curated ciders, craft beers, wines and—but of course—locally famous frozen screwdrivers.
Best Bar for Bayside Burgers and Beers
Utterly devoid of pretension, this family-owned, neon-lit joint attracts locals and day-trippers alike with its huge sandwiches and craft brews. Try the Mother Klucker made with buffalo chicken; the huge classic burger; or the unexpected Jo Momma, a buffalo burger served with pork belly, peanut butter and bacon marmalade on a Slow Dough pretzel bun. Wash it down with a Hammerhead ale from Galveston Bay Beer Company.