The newest trend in bars? Sticking close to home. As the classic neighborhood watering hole experiences a resurgence in popularity—that craft cocktail bubble had to burst eventually—there’s never been a better time to examine what makes a really great neighborhood bar.
Is it a crock-pot full of chili and a bag of King’s Hawaiian rolls on a table near the back? Is it a fireplace everyone acknowledges as fake but cozies around anyway in old, beat-up couches? Is it a bartender who’s also your aunt’s best friend since high school and tells everyone how the family used to call you Skeeter? Is it the Christmas lights that haven’t come down since December 1993? The friendly greeting you hear from behind the bar the moment you walk in?
If you haven’t yet found your own personal Cheers, let us be your guide to Houston’s 60 best hometown bars across 12 neighborhoods, from Inner Loop dives to suburban pubs, from karaoke bars to Chinatown lounges, rock ‘n’ roll watering holes to pints at your local grocery store. Just remember a few rules of thumb: respect the regulars, put the occasional round on your tab, don’t hog the pool table, and never, ever play Matchbox 20 on the jukebox. That’s just common courtesy.