H-TOWN NEIGHBORHOODS

A Guide to The Best of Houston's Greater East End Neighborhood

This vibrant area showcases Houston’s proud Latinx heritage among many other hidden treasures.

By Reyes Ramirez Edited by Daniel Renfrow Published in the Winter 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine

The Plant, a hub of local and small retail businesses, is a fixture in the historic Second Ward.

Whether you know it as East End, EaDo, or the Eastside, these days the Greater East End is one of Houston’s most vibrant Latinx communities, and home to streets packed with murals and art celebrating that heritage. Composed of a patchwork of residential neighborhoods, heavily industrial areas, and pockets that feature a mixture of both, its great appeal is in its abundance and variety of everyday options.

Over the past few years, new cafes and coffee shops, wine bars, dive bars, vintage shops, art galleries, co-working spaces, apartment complexes, and lots of townhomes, have popped up in the area, adding to—while also diluting—some of the neighborhood’s unique magic. 

Some of the coolest, historically Houston stuff in the area is inseparably Mexican American. Leo Tanguma’s mural “Rebirth of Our Nationality” on Canal; the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation; Talento Bilingue on South Jensen; that Selena painting on Polk. Central American groups are on the rise with pupuserias, refresquerias, panaderías, and tiendas variedades. Latino-owned coffee shops like Xela, Segundo Coffee Lab, and Oso Coffee serve the best cups of café with ethically sourced beans from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

The East End contains so many gems that it’s impossible to list them all. it’s such a historical, thriving community, as the old saying goes, you really have to be there.

Best of The Greater East End

Drink Like a Local 

East End Backyard offers 25 beers and ciders on tap as well as a full cocktail menu.

Lil' Danny Speedo's Go Fly a Kite Lounge

This dive bar staple has a pool table, arcade games, nightly food pop-ups, and some of the friendliest bartenders to be found in Houston. 

Fitzcarraldo

This jungle-inspired bar features an expansive outdoor patio filled with umbrellas and sports a food menu dedicated to tempting Asian eats like lumpia, chicken inasal, and pork belly liempo. 

D&W Lounge

This gentrification-resistant dive bar, open since the 1940s, is a true East End gem, filled with eclectic decor, stiff drinks, and great company. 

8th Wonder Brewery

8th Wonder Brewery, named after Houston’s iconic Astrodome, is the brand  behind iconic Houston beers such as Dome Faux’m, Hopston, and Weisstheimer. The brewery’s EaDo taproom is always packed and includes access to an expansive outdoor patio that is perfect for the doggos. 

East End Backyard

Housed in a converted 1930s bungalow, East End Backyard offers 25 beers and ciders on tap as well as a full cocktail menu. There’s also plenty of room to move around since the colorful bar features a 16,000-square-foot patio in addition to a 3,500-square-foot dog park. 

Eat Like a Local 

Moon Tower Inn is a small batch brewpub in Second Ward.

Moon Tower Inn

This vibrant East End watering hole features an endless selection of beers on tap as well as some of the best burgers and hotdogs you can find in Houston. The graffiti wall there is also pretty cool. 

The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation

When it comes to Tex-Mex, it doesn’t get any better than The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, the original home of the fajita. 

Antojitos Salvadorenos

This Salvadoran restaurant is beloved in the East End due to its extensive menu, which includes everything from seafood dishes to carnes asadas. The stars of the show, however, are the restaurant’s papusas—all served hot off the griddle. 

La Imperial Bakery

If you’re looking for killer homemade tamales, empanadas, huevos rancheros, caldo or fideo, then La Imperial Bakery is the spot for you. 

Refresqueria Tampico

Refresqueria Tampico has some of the best agua fresca around, offering flavors like melon, fresa, mango, and piña. You also can’t go wrong with the refresqueria’s elote or frito pie. 

Champ Burger

Champ Burger has been a staple in the East End since 1963 and is beloved by generations of East Enders. Stop by for a classic burger and an orange ice cream shake.

Shop Like a Local

MOO-CHILA features boots, shoes, hats, and other well-made artisan goods. 

Iron Works In The East End

This historic, 60,000-square-foot building houses an endless array of businesses, including Segundo Coffee Lab, a CBD shop, several vintage clothing stores, plant shops, and other cool retail spaces. 

The Esplanade at Navigation

This award-winning esplanade on Navigation is home to the East End Farmers Market as well as an endless array of art, food, and beverage vendors. It gets  extra-lively on the weekends—especially when there is live music. 

Moo-Chila

Housed in a blue shipping container on the Esplanade at Navigation, this purveyor of fine leather crafts features boots and shoes as well as hats and other well-made artisan goods. 

Kismet Boutique

This Latinx-owned boutique, owned by a lifetime resident of the East End, is home to an endless array of locally hand-crafted items. If you’re in the market for a backpack shaped like a concha, a Takis pillow, or a taco wristlet, then give this eclectic shop a try. 

Hang Out Like a Local

Hang out like a local at Segundo Coffee Lab.

The Plant

On MetroRail’s Green Line, near the Coffee Plant stop, is an aptly titled hub of businesses called The Plant. Though one could argue there are many places like this in H-Town, it’s the curation that’s singular. One can acquire a quality pair of leather boots, vintage cardigan, and a jean jacket from the Second Shop. Next door is Hemp Works, a CBD shop founded in 2019 by board-certified emergency doctor and endocannabinologist Dr. Ogadinma Obie, where someone will carefully explain what each cream, gummy, flower, or tincture will do to you. Both places are Black-owned and amazingly well-priced. Nearby are Louie’s Italian American, How to Survive on Land & Sea, and Popston. Not too far is Equal Parts Brewing, Houston Climate Justice Museum, and the many, gorgeous murals of Harrisburg Art Museum. Make a day of it!

Xela

This pipsqueak coffee shop and roaster may be small, but it always delivers its trademark  charm. It’s colorful patio is a perfect spot to post up for a hangout with friends while sipping on drinks like the Mocca (espresso, organic cocoa, Mexican vanilla, Vietnamese cinnamon, and oat milk), the Valley Girl (espresso, Mexican vanilla, and oat milk), or the OB (espresso, honey sauce, and oat milk).

Bohemeo’s

This quintessential coffee shop is home to a stellar coffee menu as well as plenty of beer and good food. The art-filled space often hosts shows by live bands—both indoor and on its outdoor patio—and is a great place to study or work remotely. 

Coral Sword

Although coffee is always on point, people come to Coral Sword for its tabletop games. The coffee shop, owned by ex Houston Astro, Hunter Pence, and his wife Lexi, has an entire wall stacked with board games that guests are free to play. It also regularly hosts Magic: The Gathering tournaments and D&D games, making it a favorite spot for Houston gamers.  

Segundo Coffee Lab

Housed inside Ironworks In the East End, Segundo Coffee Lab has a creative coffee menu that features a bevy of signature lattes and tes con leche, as well as Abuelita hot chocolate and cafe de olla. The coffee shop also serves some stellar tamales and empanadas. 

OSO Coffee Co.

This newcomer to the East End serves up classic coffee drinks as well as drinks of Mexican influence like horchata of various flavors, horchata lattes, and cafecitos. They also sell horchata cold brew by the gallon, a perfect take-home treat for those who can never get enough of the Mexican classic.

Koffeteria

This bakery and coffee shop from Top Chef: Just Desserts star Vanarin Kuch features a creative menu full of dishes like hot Cheeto croissants, chicken tortilla quiches, Chinese sausage breakfast tacos, and some of the all-around best pastries you can find in the city. The coffee here is also great. 

For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Guadalupe Plaza Park

Situated near Navigation Boulevard, Guadalupe Plaza Park includes plenty of green space, a splash pad, a large fountain, and several other amenities that make it uber family friendly. 

Mason Park

Mason Park, situated alongside Brays Bayou, is home to 104 acres filled with hiking trails, forests, and athletic fields. There’s also a public pool that is open during the summer, as well as a community center that includes a gym and recreation facilities. 

For Art Lovers

H.A.M: Harrisburg Arts Museum's new work at The Baby Ham by Artist @big_mundo.

Magnolia Grown

Magnolia Grown (aka Jesse Rodriguez) is a Magnolia Park artist and community advocate who is the co-founder of local nonprofit Magnolia Park Arts & Community. 

MECA

MECA, located next to Guadalupe Plaza Park and Buffalo Bayou, is a community-based nonprofit arts organization that organizes performing arts events and exhibitions. 

Harrisburg Art Museum

The Harrisburg Art Museum is a mural-covered warehouse that showcases some of the best street art to be found in the East End. 

Box 13

Box 13 is an artist-run nonprofit space in the East End that offers affordable workspaces for both emerging and established artists. The space includes three exhibition spaces as well as an outdoor mural wall. 

El Rincón Social

El Rincón Social is a cultural development space in the East End that houses a collective of artists and puts on art shows and performances that usually trend toward the experimental side. 

For Date Night

 

Cidercade Houston

This EaDo-located bar and arcade is home to over 275 arcade games as well as 48 taps of various hard ciders, hard kombuchas, hard seltzers, and more. Admission is $10 for a day pass or $15 for a recurring monthly membership. 

Paradise Palace

This popular EaDo nightclub might still be fairly new, but it’s already Houston’s reigning dance spot. The vibrant club is filled with neon lights and features a vibe that can best be described as a blend of ancient Greece meets South Beach Miami. 

The Secret Group

If you’re into comedy, there’s no place better to be than The Secret Group. The multipurpose venue was opened by four of Houston’s best stand-up comics and regularly hosts comedy shows as well as other events. 

Hidden Gems

Mangonada mediana at Treats of Mexico in EaDo.

Super Happy Fun Land

It doesn’t get more DIY than Super Happy Fun Land. The eclectic, art-filled venue is a staple for Houston’s underground community and frequently showcases experimental electronic music, improvised jazz, and underground hip-hop and rock. 

Treats of Mexico

In the mood for a mangonada or a concha ice cream sandwich? Look no further than Treats of Mexico, a snack shop that offers artisan ice cream, traditional snacks, and some really great aguas frescas. 

Super Yaki

Super Yaki is a shop for those who love movies, and especially movie culture. The shop sells everything from cinema-inspired T-shirts to pins, patches, prints, stickers, books and games. 

Upcoming Neighborhoods

Midtown | Asiatown | Third Ward | Rice Village | The Heights
Downtown Northside | Museum District | Montrose

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