Best Bars 2014

4 Bars For Fun & Games

Trivia is just the beginning.

Edited by Katharine Shilcutt By Dan Derozier, Catherine Matusow, Chris Abshire, and Sarah Rufca Nielsen November 30, 2014 Published in the December 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Vern, the ‘triviameister’ at Griff’s, holds court every Thursday night.


Griff’s Top 10

For a modest $3 buy-in on Thursday nights, you can join one of the city’s booziest, most idiosyncratic trivia sessions. Griff’s prolific, self-described triviameister Vern Smith writes his own questions and puzzles each week, testing the limit of patrons’ knowledge and memory. Notoriously good to its regulars, Griff’s awards the entire pot to the winning team, drinks to the runners-up, and free Jell-O shots to everybody before the final round.

Don’t miss: The bonus question (good luck winning without it!)
Listen for: A deafening roar when-ever Texas Tech or a Houston sports team is playing

Darwin’s Theory

As bars go, this place is like that kid you knew whose parents stocked their game room with arcade games, snacks, and beanbag chairs—and you never wanted to leave. Darwin’s snacks are good, the craft beers cheap, and the arcade offerings Smithsonian-worthy, from Skee-ball to Pac-man, to air hockey, foosball, and giant Jenga. Oh, and no need to leave your four-legged drinking buddies at home. Dogs are so welcome at this establishment, they even ply them with free rawhides while you hang out on the patio.

Don’t miss: Bad Movie Night on Mondays (think Mystery Science Theater with beers); daily $2 mystery shots or $2 mystery beers—how bad can they be for $2?

Guava Lamp

Even in a town with an outsize love of karaoke, this Montrose hideaway may just be the best of the best. One thing’s for sure, it’s still as frisky as ever 17 years on, with legendary Wednesday-night songfests led by drag queens more than willing to give the hook to the tone deaf if need be. Oh, and don’t worry about performance anxiety. Guava’s proprietary blend of strong drinks, free parking, and a fun crowd has seduced many a reluctant songbird to the mic for a riveting (as a train wreck) rendition of “Born This Way.” 

Don’t miss: Monday Night at the Movies—no karaoke on these nights, though the campy cult classics provide ample compensation

Neil’s Bahr

This EaDo favorite boasts old video games aplenty, from Nintendo 64 to PlayStation 2, an ample selection of comic books and sci-fi novels to read if you’re drinking solo, and TVs that always play Lord of the Rings, Sharknado, Star Wars, or The Simpsons. Monday is trivia night at Neil’s, Wednesday brings karaoke night, and Sunday is the big Magic: The Gathering tournament night—BYO deck.

Don’t miss: Themed cocktails, from the Death Star to the Princess Peach
Listen for: Peals of laughter from patrons playing Cards Against Humanity on the comfy couches

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