We didn't name Moving Sidewalk as one of the Top 10 bars in Houston just because we like the clever name, which refers to the popular psychedelic blues-rock band that was the 1960s-era equivalent of The Tontons or The Suffers. The Moving Sidewalks often played with the equally famous-for-their-time 13th Floor Elevators at Houston's premier psychedelic venue, Love Street Light Circus (which, as it happens, lent its name to Karbach Brewing Co.'s Love Street summer seasonal), but are perhaps best known as the band Billy Gibbons played in before forming ZZ Top in 1969.
While we appreciate the homage to an important and underappreciated time in Houston's musical history, the reason we love Moving Sidewalk has less to do with its clever name and more to do with its clever drinks.
I can still remember with startling clarity the first time I tried head bartender Alex Gregg's Little Reed Horses cocktail that incorporated yogurt, Pisco, cucumber and celery seed, cool and tart in a totally unexpected way, while I've since long forgotten the names of my high school teachers or how to use a fax machine or when my father's birthday is. The drinks here will stick with you, making you wonder how you ever got along before someone combined strawberry-basil soda with pink peppercorns and hard apple cider.
The summer menu at Moving Sidewalk is nothing if not a monumentally creative endeavor, easier to do when you have some of the city's most talented bartenders on staff (e.g., Tulu Kafele, Forrest Despain, Aaron Lara), yet impressive nevertheless. Riffing on that summer cult classic, Point Break, it's stocked with both "new releases" and "remakes," each drink bearing such familiar names such as the Vaya Con Dios and Lawyers Don't Surf. Regardless of which column you choose from, all of the cocktails are designed for enduring a Houston summer in style.
Take, for instance, the date-ready Babes that serves two—a carbonated, bubbly take on the strawberry daiquiri made with white rum and clarified strawberry and lime juices—a certified cheap date at only $12. For something even lighter, look to the Tyler's Wetsuit, a spritzer with rose-infused vodka (a nod to our city's extensive Middle Eastern cuisine) and even more fresh juices: apple, cucumber and pineapple in this case. Both are half-price during Moving Sidewalk's daily happy hour that runs from 5 to 8 p.m. (and all day long on Mondays); in fact, half the cocktail menu here is half-price during happy hour. If bars were surf, Moving Sidewalk would be going off.
Of course, if you're a paddlewuss and want to stick to something a little simpler than complex cocktails, chill out, brah. Moving Sidewalk has a happy hour deal for you too: cans of Miller High Life are $1, and adding a shot of Jim Beam to your order only costs $4 more. After all, there's nothing like a cheap, cold boilermaker after a long, hot day to remind you the human spirit is still alive.
Moving Sidewalk, 306 Main St., movingsidewalkbar.com