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.

In This Feature:

Our 5 Favorite Downtown Dives

Including the best bar for pretending “new” downtown never happened.

02/01/2016 By Sarah Rufca Nielsen

The Midtown Must-Drink List

Including the best bar for joining the circus.

02/01/2016 By Nick Esquer

The 5 Hottest Spots in Upper Kirby

Including the best bar for potentially drinking next to the Bush family.

02/01/2016 By Katharine Shilcutt

Where to Drink Right Now in The Woodlands and Spring

Beginning with the best bar for brunching.

02/01/2016 By Nick Esquer

Our 5 Favorite Lounges in Southwest Houston

Starting with the best bar for catching a Chinese alt-pop band.

02/01/2016 By Alice Levitt

Clear Lake’s Top 5 Local Watering Holes

Beginning with the best bar for drinking with an astronaut.

02/01/2016 By Layne Lynch

Where to Drink Right Now in Garden Oaks and Oak Forest

Including the best bar for your two- and four-legged children.

02/01/2016 By Jeff Balke

Our 5 Favorite Dives in the Heights

Starting with the best bar for pretending the new Heights ever happened.

02/01/2016 By Sarah Rufca Nielsen

The Montrose Must-Drink List

Including the best bar for pretending “new” Montrose never happened.

02/01/2016 By Nick Esquer

The 5 Best Bars in the West and Northwest

Including the best bar for Mom to unwind with her friends.

02/01/2016 By Jeff Balke

Where to Drink Right Now in Rice Village and Bellaire

Including the best bar for crossing off a Houston bucket list item.

02/01/2016 By Alice Levitt

The 5 Hottest Spots in the Galleria and Uptown

Beginning with the best bar for pretending the Richmond Strip never went away.

02/01/2016 By Katharine Shilcutt

Whither Free Bar Food? (And We Don't Mean Mixed Nuts)

There are still a few places where free home-cooked meals are the order of the day.

02/01/2016 By Roxanna Asgarian

The Houston Bartender Hall of Fame

Five of the Bayou City's most legendary bartenders on their specialty drinks, favorite stories and 75th birthday celebrations.

02/01/2016 By Steven Devadanam