Special Occasion Restaurants

Celebrate Outside the Box: Birthday Dinners, Puppy Paw-tys and the First Date

Check out some of Houston's most unique dining destinations to celebrate your next special occasion.

By Megha Tejpal March 26, 2015

Looking to impress on a first date? Look no further.

Image: Shutterstock

If you're anything like me, you celebrate because it's Hump Day, toast to the great weather, and are no stranger to your neighborhood patio bar! But every once in a while, we find ourselves on the planning end of a bridal shower brunch or a birthday dinner for a party of 12. It's a tough job for any warm-blooded Houstonian, and one not to be taken lightly. With the ever-growing restaurant scene in Houston, the options of where to go for brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner and so on can be overwhelming! Check in every week for an insider's guide to some of Houston's most interesting places to celebrate—no occasion is too big or too small.

More Than a Birthday Dinner

The Moonlight Dolls put on a scintillating burlesque show with the historic Houston venue as a striking backdrop

Image: Megha Tejpal

Prohibition Supper Club
1008 Prairie St., 281-940-4636, prohibitionhouston.com

Birthday dinners have become about much more than just eating dinner on your birthday. The one day a year we celebrate ourselves should be filled more than just cake. Turn your next birthday dinner into an exciting evening with a little dinner theater at Prohibition Supper Club, downtown Houston's sexiest dining destination.

Located on Main Street in the heart of downtown, the intensely romantic space houses a restaurant, bar and patio, along with a theater featuring weekly performances by Houston's own sultry burlesque group, The Moonlight Dolls. With an intimate bar scene and a menu including craft cocktails, single malts and whiskey, the Prohibition lounge is often bustling with an intriguing crowd.

The smoked fried chicken basket served with red beans and rice, coleslaw, and hot corn bread

Image: Megha Tejpal

Chef Ben McPherson and sous chef Matt Womack consistently wow diners with a menu featuring bold Southern flavors like those of the chargrilled oysters and hearty meat and seafood dishes like lobster and potatoes or a smoked fried chicken basket. The dinner theater features two different shows every week with multiple showtimes: Provocateur on Friday nights and The Moonlight Show on Saturday nights. A special prix fixe menu is provided for each guest, and table reservations are available on the floor and the mezzanine level with full views of the main stage wherever you sit. The aerial performance is a show highlight as the audience is left captivated watching from their seats below. Considered Houston's "only true supper club," the dining experience at Prohibition can best be described as dream-like and mesmerizing with a flair for the dramatic. What better place to raise a glass and celebrate another dynamic year?

For your next Puppy Paw-ty!

The Market Square Park is a remarkable addition to downtown, a peaceful haven where your pet can play complete with walking paths, fountains, and views of some of Houston's most historic buildings

Image: Megha Tejpal

Downtown Houston is back and better than ever, with an array of new restaurants and bars flooding Main St. and a variety of children's activities on the calendar at Discovery Green. These days, there's something that appeals to everyone in the family...including your four-legged family members! Home to two big dog-friendly areas, downtown is a perfect backdrop for your dog's next birthday bash.

The Dog Runs at Market Square Park
301 Milam St., marketsquarepark.com

Market Square Park features two off-leash dog runs, one each for big and small dogs, both separated by protective fencing. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with seating areas, water fountains, wading pools and plenty of space for running. After an afternoon of off-the-leash shenanigans with your pup and his furry friends, nearby Niko Niko's is the ideal spot to enjoy casual Greek fare with your two-legged guests. Of course the outdoor dining area is dog-friendly, and you can toast to your dog's long life with a drink as the restaurant serves mimosas, sangria, beer and more!

The Dog Runs at Discovery Green
1500 McKinney Ave., discoverygreen.com

At over 12 acres, Discovery Green is a dog-friendly oasis in the heart of the city. Complete with walking paths, a sprawling promenade, fountains and two restaurants—the more casual Lake House and the more upscale The Grove, both with outdoor patios and picnic areas—Discovery Green is also home to two off-leash gravel dog runs separated for big and small dogs. With sweeping downtown views at every turn, this is another fantastic destination to celebrate your pet.

Raising the bar for "The First Date"

Arroz de Mariscos- a shareable portion of tomato rice topped with clams, mussels, scallops, fish and Spanish prawns

Image: Megha Tejpal

Oporto Fooding House & Wine Bar
139 W. Gray St., 713-528-0115, oportomidtown.us

Once you're past the initial awkwardness of "the first poke on Facebook," "the first flirty-face emoji text," followed by "the first phone convo," you're on your way to the big one—the First Date—before you know it. Though Houston boasts a phenomenal restaurant scene with renowned chefs and world-class cuisine, there are those precious gems that manage to create a recipe for romance unlike any place else. Though many of these restaurants are tried and true, but there is a flock of recently-opened eateries perfect for the new age of dating.

Midtown's most recent addition, Oporto Fooding House & Wine Bar is a fantastic restaurant choice for that first date, thanks to dim lighting and elegant decor complete with romantic, candlelit tables. Shareable plates and an extensive wine and cocktail list enhance the intimacy of the dining experience, but the lively vibe of the restaurant itself keeps your date casual and fun. Having had great success with its original, much smaller location in Greenway Plaza, Oporto has a charming way of bringing the romance of dining in Europe to us here in Houston. The menu boasts many vegetarian dishes in addition to the exotic meat and fresh seafood plates. Whether your date is a wine and salad type or the indulgent pizette, charcuterie and caipirinha type, you'll undoubtedly find something on the menu at Oporto to please you both.


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