Special Occasions

Celebrate Out of the Box: Easter Brunch, Pre-Game, & GNO

From Girls Night Out to Easter brunch with your family, how to celebrate this holiday week in Houston

By Megha Tejpal April 1, 2015

We've got the perfect pick for your next Girls Night Out.

Image: Shutterstock

For many of us, this is a short work week which means...reason to celebrate! Whether you're considering where to dine with your family for Easter brunch or where to party with your girlfriends on Thursday night, here's the inside scoop on how you can celebrate out of the box this week.

Family-friendly Easter Brunch

Mockingbird Bistro
1985 Welch St., 713-533-0200, mockingbirdbistro.com

The Brioche Pain Perdu with strawberry fromage, warm wild berries, and sweet syrup

No doubt boozey brunches are a blast on the weekends: patio time with your pals, enjoying bottomless mimosas and bloody marys, rehashing the events of the previous night. While we all have our favorite spots to grab a plate of fried chicken and waffles, there are also those occasions when you want to enjoy a champagne brunch with your family—a brunch where perhaps Kanye West's Golddigger isn't blaring in the background. As Easter Sunday quickly approaches, reservations are booking up fast at most of the Houston staples. Though I love the lavish brunch buffets offered at Hugo's and America's, my pick this week for a family-friendly brunch spot is the charming Mockingbird Bistro, the hidden gem in Montrose.

Nestled on a residential street, this unassuming restaurant has always been one one my favs for happy hour (they offer a variety of apps for $5!). After recently dining in for brunch, I definitely recommend it as a place to brunch with parents, grandparents, relatives, even young children.

The famous M Bistro Benedict made with tomato pesto, Serrano ham, spinach, and hollandaise

The restaurant's decor can best be described as gothic, yet romantic. The building houses a main dining room, covered outdoor patio, private wine room, and a staircase leading to a private dining area on the second floor. From the valets to the servers, the hospitality at Mockingbird is impeccable. As the restuarant boasts country French fare, the menu features such staples as brioche pain perdu and an M Bistro Benedict. Most importantly, wine and champagne flow freely during weekend brunch as the restaurant proudly offers an extensive wine list and a full bar. This white-tablecloth restaurant is a quiet hideaway in the Montrose area, and with its remarkable service and delicious brunch options, it is the perfect place to enjoy an elegant meal with your family.

Pre-Game with Fellow Rockets Fans

Reserve 101
1201 Caroline St., 713-655-7101, reserve101.com

Reserve 101 features a different shot of the day, well, daily.

For many of us, spring means the weather is warming up, the flowers are blooming and love is in the air.. But for those of us die-hard Houston Rockets fans, it means the NBA Playoffs are right around the corner.

There is no better time than now to catch a home game at the Toyota Center and support #RedNation. This week, the Rockets take on the Sacramento Kings at 7 pm on Wednesday, April 1—and in April alone there are six more home games. As a native Houstonian with a deep-rooted love of the Rockets, he years 1994 and 1995 are forever golden in my mind, and I support this team through trades, strikes, injuries, wins and losses. When I am lucky enough to catch a home game, I always want to make a night of it by catching a pre-game party near the Toyota Center. The energy of other devoted fans really revs you up for the game, and you feel a great sense of pride supporting your city.

As the downtown scene kicks back into gear, a number of bars and restaurants are popping up near the Toyota Center, making it easy to meet up with friends, grab a drink and then make the short walk over to the stadium. Recently, my favorite spot is Reserve 101, an upscale whiskey bar that features happy hour specials Monday through Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.—ideal timing for a pre-game drink. The bar is located directly across the street from the swanky Four Seasons Hotel in downtown. (If you're lucky enough, you may just catch a glimpse of the visiting team if they happen to be staying there—a lot of them do.) As a whiskey bar, the whiskey here is highly recommended, the selection carefully chosen to represent a variety across the globe. If whiskey isn't your cup of tea, Reserve 101 also serves excellent craft cocktails and a large selection of Texas beers.

As much fun as the bar at Reserve 101 is for a pre-game visit, it is even that much better during a post-win visit. The walk to and from the stadium is less than 10 minutes, and the bar is open until 2 a.m. seven days a week. Whether you have tickets to a game or want to feel the #pursuit with some "Red Rowdies" up close in downtown, Reserve 101 is the place to do it on game days.

GNO: Girls Night Out

Henke & Pillot
809 Congress St., 713-222-0003, henkeandpillot.com

The champagne cocktail at Henke & Pillot: champagne, Angostura bitters and a Demerara sugar cube

For those lucky enough to have Friday off, the hunt for where to party this weekend starts one day early. With a crop of new bars popping up in Midtown, Rice Village and Montrose, it can be scary to take a gamble on one and not know if you'll spend the evening crawling through a grimey mess of sticky floors and tables or escaping a questionable crowd.

Ladies, let's be honest—some of us can get pretty high maintenance when it comes to picking a place for our next Girls Night Out. It should be hot and new, but not empty; it should be trendy, but not too expensive; it has to be crowded—but with singles, not just couples! Keeping up with what girls want when they go out can be as hard as Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Thankfully, there is new blood in town—downtown that is—heating up every GNO in Houston. Henke & Pillot, named for the Henke & Pillot supermarket chain that was once headquartered in the very same building, is downtown's newest bar and lounge.

The truffle mushroom pizza at Henke & Pillot

Open Tuesday through Saturday, the bar is conveniently located at Market Square Park with a patio facing all of the action. The interior of the bar is spacious, dark and romantic, decorated with mirrors and oversized chandeliers. Happy hour consists of a variety of cocktails, beers and wines by the glass, along with prime choices from the kitchen like the truffle mushroom pizza and the Berkshire pork sliders.

Typically on weekdays, the after-work crowd gathers on the patio for cocktails, while weekends are saved for the serious party-goers. The back of the club is reserved after 10 p.m. for a DJ to drop beats, and there is plenty of space for dancing. For fabulous cocktails, a scorching hot scene with Houston's pretty people, and music that won't have you running for the door, Henke & Pillot is THE spot for your next GNO!


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