0216 best bars downtown glitter karaoke man singing mgypgr

Glitter Karaoke

Image: Scott Doyle

Best Bar for Singing for Your Supper

Glitter Karaoke

This popular spot hosts nightly sing-alongs where brave Houstonians take the stage. Not a natural performer? After a little liquid courage in the form of a cheap cocktail, you may just find yourself belting out ballads like “Born to Run,” “I Love L.A.” and “Defying Gravity.” No, the singing isn’t always on point—not everyone is Adele—but who cares? For a break, hit the food trucks outside, and remember: Wednesday is steak night.

Best Bar for Catching a Drag Show

F Bar

At this friendly gayborhood bar—popular among the city’s drag community—both the thumping sound system and the whooping patrons can be heard all the way in the parking lot. The place is a party from the moment the doors open until they’re forced shut at 2 a.m., and not just on Fridays or Saturdays, either. Sundays bring Latin Divas Night, a four-hour talent showcase featuring the area’s most glamorous, and most beloved, performers. 

Best Bar for History Buffs

Spare Key

This little bar is like Cheers for the millennial set: Intimate conversation is encouraged, whether between guests or across the bar. Ask for co-owner Chris Frankel’s Unlock the 50 States menu, which lists a classic cocktail for each, plus D.C., and try to work your way through the entire thing. Frankel, by the way, has a backstory for every single featured drink.

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Best Bar for Joining the Circus

Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge

This circus-themed watering hole is a favorite among Midtown’s original inhabitants—the ones who still live above the Continental Club and once had a drink with Little Joe Washington. This is the place to take in a local band, hit the tiny dance floor and, between sets, steal away to the backyard it shares with the Continental Club, which features an outdoor bar, plenty of seating and a giant, brilliantly lit ELVIS sign.

Best Bar That’s Not in Midtown

Wooster’s Garden

Apparently neither a Midtown nor a Montrose bar, this self-described Mid-Trose hangout touts vintage-industrial décor, plush seating and a shockingly cheap happy hour menu with zippy cocktails and ingredients as fresh as the vibes. On cool nights, the sophisticated patrons warm up around miniature fire pits. Bonus: there’s a large parking lot. 


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