You're not seeing things: That is, indeed, a bar in the middle of Saks Fifth Avenue. The recently rebuilt department store was expanded to 210,000 square feet during the construction process, and when it debuted last April the new Saks included everything from larger shoe and makeup departments to, yes, a cocktail bar. In the mornings, you can pick up coffee and pastries at Bar 12, on the ground floor, while afternoons and early evenings offer light bites, cocktails, wine and beer—the better to kick back after a long shopping spree (or to indulge a little after a day of window shopping).
Don't be deterred by the '80s-era sign outside; inside, The Deck is everything a Houston icehouse should be. A large patio is covered with picnic tables and shaded by large live oak trees; cheap, tasty crawfish is offered all season long and inexpensive, delicious steaks are on the grill every Monday night; the beer is cold and every game you could imagine is on one of the dozens of TVs. What more could you want in a sports bar?
You may not immediately think of chef Philippe Verpiand's classy French bistro as a bar, but it's right there in the name. And as such, it hosts a très fantastique happy hour Sunday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The "green hour," as it's called here in honor of the absinthe that's heavily featured on its cocktail menu, also brings lower prices on everything from beef short rib sliders and a melted Brie and pear tartine to imported beers such as Duvel Golden Ale and Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock.
Right next door to The Melting Pot, a fellow holdover of the Me Decade, lies this local favorite, famous both for its total lack of menu—the chef will make you anything you ask for—and for its swinging scene, which Ron Burgundy himself would revel in. Get a seat around the piano, at the tiny, two-person bar in the back, or at a table.
This popular spot is the result of the combination of two area classics: Jake's Philly Steaks and Mama's Cafe, both of which were sold in 2012. Jake's just traded the last two parts of its name, but retained the Philly cheesesteaks that made it such a beloved destination for ex-pats and local fans alike; Mama's, meanwhile, was bought by the Pappas family and currently sits vacant alongside the brand-new Beaver's next door, but many of its staff—including cooks—came to Jake's. As a result, the food here is far, far better than your average sports bar, though sports aren't neglected either: there are 25 HDTV screens and a massive 84" outdoor HDTV screen on the outdoor patio.
When it’s still nippy outside, there’s no better fireplace to cozy up to than the one at this snug pub, ideally with a homemade Cornish pastie or steak and mushroom pie (no frozen stuff here). While this is the home base for Arsenal supporters who’ve found themselves living in the Bayou City, the bar also shows nearly every other footie match on satellite TV—even at 5 a.m.
While this friendly British-themed pub, named after dearly departed owner Ronald Town, is the locus for Liverpool FC supporters, it also shows games and matches of every type, from every corner of the world. Serious darts players converge here for Saturday-night tournaments.
How is this place still even here? Never mind. It doesn’t matter. We’re just glad we can still experience the glory days of the ’90s Richmond Strip party scene. Compounding the nostalgia: cheap raw oysters, buffalo wings, and pitchers of beer on the weekend, which—not coincidentally—is the best time to spread yourself out on the sprawling patio deck and take a trip down memory lane.
The OG wine bar of Houston has expanded over the years to include a huge patio and equally impressive kitchen, where executive chef Beto Gutierrez turns out buttery crab cakes with housemade remoulade and pizzas topped with smoked salmon and house-pulled mozzarella and (our favorite) preserved lemon and prosciutto. What's more fun than making your way through the menu? Finding the perfect wine to pair with your meal from its massive list, which even includes several options on draft.
You won't find a bigger patio in Uptown—this one holds 400 people—nor a larger craft beer list. The wall of 50 taps includes both local favorites as well as unusual imports like Rochefort Blue Cap Trappist; the cocktail and wine lists hold their own too. Monday nights are popular for burgers and beer, with a $10 special that gets you one of each, while Taco Tuesdays bring half-off tacos and tequila. Sunday mornings are reserved for recovery, with $7 frittatas and build-your-own Bloody Marys.