A Guide to the Best of Houston’s Midtown Neighborhood

This vibrant area showcases Houston’s eclectic side through retro record stores, divey music venues, experimental art institutions, and other hidden treasures.

By Reyes Ramirez and Daniel Renfrow January 27, 2023

The MidMain portion of Midtown is known for its eclectic shops and bars. 

The many and various experiences you can get in Midtown (and particularly in its Mid Main section) are unparalleled. Visit the Station Museum of Contemporary Art to see exhibitions by featured artists like Andres Serrano, Sarah Abu-Abdallah, Mel Chin, and Sin Huellas. Stop by Axelrad for a musical performance or movie screening while enjoying a slice of pizza on a hammock. Visit Under the Radar brewery for a pint of their Mid-Frequency IPA, or visit Mai’s for a bowl of pho or vermicelli. Wait out the line at the Breakfast Klub for some of the best chicken and waffles to be found anywhere in the city. Or, stop by Wooster’s Garden to sip whatever fresh new drinks they have whipped up. As an added bonus, everything in Midtown is reasonably affordable—particularly during happy hours.

Of course, probably the main draw is the Midtown Art & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) which opened ten years ago in Midtown at the intersection of Main and Holman streets. The facility, which brings multiple visual and performing arts groups together under one roof, has hosted many innovative collaborations through the years that all speak to the creativity of the area. As its star power has grown, so too has the wattage of this eclectic neighborhood.

As Midtown grows, there are still touches of the neighborhood's eclectic history. Axelrad operates out of a century-old building that used to be a grocery store. Retrospect Coffee Bar, located nearby, calls an over 100-year-old former gas station its home. Down the street, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, which hosted the BIPOC Book Festival, maintains the history of the eponymous all-Black units of calvary and infantry.

The Best of Midtown

There's so much to eat, drink, and see in Midtown.

Drink Like a Local



Beer? Check. Live music? Check. Hammocks? Double check. Is there anywhere better to kick back and stay a while than Axelrad, Midtown’s reigning beer garden? We surely don’t think so. The bar, housed in a nearly 100-year-old building, is home to an expansive beer menu (Seriously, they have over 30 taps) and one of the largest patios in Houston, making it one of our absolute favorite spots in the neighborhood. 

Under the Radar

While its name may imply otherwise, this Third Ward brewery, located on the edge of Midtown, is a spot that should very much be on your radar. With both indoor and outdoor seating, it’s one of the best spots in the neighborhood to throw back a brewsky. 

Khon's Wine Darts Coffee Art

While the hodgepodge name of this spot may not roll easily off the tongue, its brews surely do. As its name hints at, it’s a coffee shop by day, a wine and beer bar by night, and a mellow spot all the time,  to take in some art while testing your aim at a dart game or two. 

Wooster’s Garden

If you’re someone who likes to try new things, then this cocktail bar is for you. Wooster’s Garden features more than 50 house cocktails as well as 49 beer taps. There’s also wine and some pretty stellar bar food, too. The bar is an open air concept with both covered and uncovered seating, making it an ideal spot to enjoy the wide open skies of Houston. 

13 celsius

Can’t afford a wine trip to Europe? Experience the next best thing at 13 celsius, Houston’s reigning champion wine bar. This European-style bar is housed in a Mediterranean-style, 1920s building that oozes with charm, especially its open-air courtyard. With one of the best wine selections of any bar in the city, 13 celsius is the perfect place to sip and savor. 

Eat Like a Local


This late night staple, established by the Nguyen family in 1978, has served as a late night stop for generations of Houstonians eager to get a bite to eat after a night out on the town. The Vietnamese cuisine is authentic, and the restaurant’s always eclectic crowds are great for people watching. 

Weights + Measures

This casual neighborhood restaurant, bakeshop, and bar is housed in a light-filled 1950s industrial warehouse that is relaxing and comfortable. Since its founders include a bartender, a chef, and a baker, it makes perfect sense that Weights + Measures fully delivers in each of those areas. Come for brunch and stay through dinner—or longer. 

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

Is there anything more fun than having your dinner delivered to you by conveyor belt? We think not. At Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, keep your social anxiety in check by selecting your meal from the sushi bar’s conveyor belt. With options including sushi, sushi rolls, hand rolls, and even taiyaki ice cream, you won’t be disappointed by this restaurant’s endless, Paprika-style food parade. 

Luigis Pizzeria

This lowkey pizzeria, located right next to Axelrad, always keeps things real. Try Luigi’s Philly sandwich if you want a tasty Italian sub, or go with the “just like mama makes” lasagna if you really want a taste of Italy. Or just stick with the classic thin-crust New York-style pizza if you’re looking for traditional flavors. Whatever you choose, Luigis has you covered. 

The Breakfast Klub

The Breakfast Klub is an institution in Houston, as evidenced by the long line that snakes out of this charming breakfast spot even on weekdays. If you’re in the mood for some of the best chicken and waffles in Houston, the Breakfast Klub is well worth the wait. 

Shop Like a Local

All The Feels

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a bit of retail therapy, this small shop is a great place to start. With a wide selection of candles, smokeware, decor, accessories, and jewelry, you’ll be able to find something here to satisfy all your senses.

My Flaming Heart

My Flaming Heart is hallowed ground. This pint-size boutique offers Houston shoppers one of the most eclectic shopping experiences in town. The vibe of the shop is a skillful—albeit somewhat surrealist—merging of old western aesthetic with eastern spirituality and witchcraft. It’s a great spot to pick up some out-of-this-world handmade jewelry, vintage cowboy boots, or handmade western wear. And if you’re in the mood for some sage or some crystals, you’ll already be in the right place. 

Hang Out Like a Local

Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails is a coffee cocktail lover's paradise.

Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails

This tropical-themed MidMain institution is a coffee shop by day and a cocktail bar by night. It is also home to the largest coffee cocktail menu in the entire city, which means it’s a great way to start a night out on the town. Double Trouble went through a remodel recently that saw it totally redesign its indoor bar area as well as expand its covered outdoor patio, and it’s worth a visit just to see the update alone. During your visit, make sure you try out the bar’s frozen Suffering Bastard cocktail, but be careful: as the name suggests, it packs quite a punch! 

Retrospect Coffee Bar

This Midtown coffee bar is housed in a building that is more than 100 years old, and was the former home of one of Houston’s first gas stations. The inside is tiny, and you aren’t actually allowed inside anyway, but the coffee shop has two expansive and covered outdoor patios—one in the front and one in the back—that are perfect spots to study or hang out with friends and enjoy their delicious crepes. Retrospect is also home to the only entirely manual espresso machine in the city, meaning it’s almost impossible to get a bad shot of espresso there. 

Boba Café

This popular spot features an endless array of comfort food: hamburgers, Philly cheese steaks, wraps, fried rice, and fruit slushies (which you can also add tapioca to) to name a few mouthwatering dishes. Boba Café sports a hodgepodge of a menu that seems very Houston, which is maybe why we adore the spot so much. For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Midtown Park

This six-acre site has three acres of public park space, including a lawn, pavilion, water features, a wetland steam and trail, public art, a playground, and a dog park. With retail experiences and restaurants nearby, it’s a great place to spend the day. 

Elizabeth Baldwin Park

This five-acre park, one of the oldest in Houston, dates back to the turn of the century and is home to some of the oldest and most majestic oak trees to be found in the entire city. It’s a favorite picnic spot as well as a great spot for a walk. 

For Art Lovers



Since its founding in 1982 by a group of artists, DiverseWorks has been celebrated for its groundbreaking arts programming. The cross-disciplinary institution produces art exhibitions, performances, and community programs year round. 

Community Artists’ Collective

This nearly 40-year-old arts nonprofit provides educational opportunities and cultural connections for Black artists and other members of the community through education, community development, and exhibitions. 


The Midtown Art & Theatre Center Houston is an art complex that includes 60,000 square feet dedicated to several performance and visual arts groups—all housed there under the same roof. The center hosts a variety of performances—from plays to musicals to orchestras to comedy shows and poetry readings—year round.  

For Date Night

The Continental Club

This eclectic live music venue, housed in a 1920s building that was formerly a general store, includes a lineup of great local and touring bands as well as a pool table and a bar. There is also a back patio that’s perfect for those looking to escape the crowds. 

Ensemble Theatre

As the largest African American professional theater company, Ensemble Theater is an essential part of Houston’s artistic community. The theater houses three stages and regularly puts on acclaimed dramas, comedies, and musicals. 

Rise Rooftop

This state-of-the-art entertainment venue includes a bar and a large and high-tech live music stage that regularly hosts touring DJs and other musical acts. 

Spotlight Karaoke

In the mood for some karaoke but not willing to sing your heart out in front of a crowd of strangers? Spotlight Karaoke is for you. The karaoke venue has a full service bar and a large main floor as well as three private rooms that can be rented out by those who are more comfortable belting in front of their friends. 


This Midtown nightclub is one of the best places to dance in Houston. With technicolor lights and a dance floor that lights up, it, quite fittingly, sports some major future fantasy vibes. The bar there also glows, meaning it’s pretty easy to find your way over to it. 

Hidden Gems

Sig's Lagoon is a storied record store that calls Midtown home. 

Sig's Lagoon Record Shop

As Midtown’s only record store, this spot is in a world of its own. Sig’s sports strong retro vibes and features walls plastered with vintage flyers and promo posters. The shop’s record selection is expansive, meaning you’ll always be able to discover something new during your visits. 

The Baker’s Man

This tiny bakery, a farmers market favorite, produces some of the best bundt cakes to be found in the city. Our recommendation: try the lemon and funfetti bundt cake flavors. You won’t be disappointed. 

Current and Upcoming Neighborhoods

East End | Midtown | Downtown | Montrose | Third Ward | North Side | Asiatown | Rice Village | Museum District | The Heights

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