So as you know, I’m moving to Washington DC over the summer. I’ve lived in Houston for nearly two years now, and I have found my favorite spots around the city. Most people told me I would hate living in Houston upon moving here, but it has really grown on me. People were mostly right about the parts that I would come to despise, the traffic and the weather. Can’t do much about that!
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite places around the city. If you’re in Houston, moving to Houston, or just visiting, check these places out. They are all places I have grown to love so much in this awesome city.
- Local Foods
This might be my favorite restaurant in all of Houston. Local Foods is a restaurant that touts organic, locally sourced food and it’s lit my friends. Lots of vegan and vegetarian friendly options in addition to meat options. They have a rotating menu, so there’s always knew stuff to try. But I’m not going to play and say I ever try anything new. I always get my fav. They’ve got mostly salads and sandwiches so perfect for lunch, or anytime really. With sandwiches you get two different sides and at this point I’ve tried almost all of them. They are all delicious. I will miss this gem so so much. There are currently two locations in Houston and I think they are expanding.
My order: The Gulf Shrimp and Crab Sandwich with chips (made in house, SO GOOD) and soba noodle salad. Sometimes I get a pickle in lieu of the soba if I feel like it.
I used to not be so picky about where I got my haircut, until I started going to CutLoose in Montrose. I’ve been going to Gaby to get my hair cut for a little over a year now, and she’s a boss. She is quick, efficient, badass, and doesn’t chat my ear off. She is very good at what she does and she can cut any type of hair. I cannot recommend her enough. I’ve never felt more comfortable taking risks with my hair as I have with her. She makes it easy to make decisions and she’s super knowledgable about hair and angles and shit. Everyone at CutLoose seems to be really talented, so any stylist will do you right, but go to Gaby if you want my recommendation!
- Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.
So those of you who know me know that I am a bit of a beer snob. I’ve been trying not too be such a snob, but it is difficult guys. It really is. I started volunteering at Buffalo Bayou Brewery a few months after I moved to Houston and I instantly loved it. Their taproom (a warehouse) is super simple and no frills, and they are only open on Saturdays from 12-3pm. Instead of hiring people to pour beer for one day a week, they let volunteers come and man the taproom. Tasks include tending bar, working the register, selling merchandise, and making sure the beer is flowing. If you like beer (really really good beer), I suggest trying your hand at volunteering at Buffalo Bayou Brewery. The people who work there are truly the salt of the earth and excellent at what they do. You will not find a more creative brewery in Houston or even dare I say, in the state of Texas. The tasks are pretty simple and you get to drink all day while you are volunteering (free booze dudes). You also get to take home bombers of beer after every shift. Pretty rad in exchange for a few hours hanging out with cool people. They do require you to get your TABC certification, but it is super easy and can be done online. Stop by the brewery for more info on volunteering.
Oh man oh man oh man. Maybe my favorite bar in all of Houston. Axelrad is hipstery hang meets outdoor paradise. Axelrad has an excellent beer selection and tons of space outside to sit. In the winter they have heaters outside and fire pits going. The outdoor area is pet friendly and full of hammocks to hang out in. There’s tons of outdoor seating, board games available, live music all the time, cool old movies projected on the wall, and usually a food truck. What else could you want?! Oh yeah, there’s also a pizza place connected to it. COME ONNNNNNNNN.
- Poison Girl
Equal parts chill hang and equal parts legit drinks. Poison Girl is also in Montrose and is just a cool bar to hang out at. The bartenders are super friendly and I’ve never been there when I haven’t ended up just talking to random people who are around. Good vibes, good music, and good drinks. It’s more of a dive bar, but everyone needs a good dive in their lives. There’s an outdoor area in the back as well, if fresh air is your thing. Perfect place to have a few drinks before moving onto somewhere else!
- Pearl Bar
GAY GAY GAY GAY. So Pearl and I have a lot of history. It has been a bit of a refuge for me at times. It is one of the only lesbian bars I’ve ever been to and it just feels like home. It is a super inviting place, the bartenders are super nice, the DJs are always lit, and it is the perfect place to drink too much and dance your butt off. I’ve spent many nights on the dance floor shaking what my mama gave me. It is a queer space that actually feels like a safe haven. It isn’t just another gay bar and is pretty different from typical gay bars, which are mostly geared toward gay men. This bar is an authentic lesbian space. They host lots of events for people in the LGBT+ community and have won a bunch of awards. It will definitely be one of my most missed spots in Houston.
- South Beach
SOBEEEEEEEE! South Beach is a typical gay bar. Dudes in thongs dancing on tables and lots of drag shows. The DJs are okay most of the time, but I have mostly gone here to see drag shows. Most drag race alums do shows at South Beach, but they also have amateur night and local drag nights. South Beach is also a huge club. There are three separate bars inside the building, the dance floor is a nice size (even with the stage), and there’s a big outdoor area with lots of seating. Great place for just dancing like there’s no tomorrow. There is usually a cover if you don’t show up by 10 pm, but it is worth it.
- Thursday Night Bingo in the Heights
This is my #1 favorite thing in all of Houston. On Thursday nights, at the SPJST Lodge Pokrok (weird name I know, just Google it) there is BYOB Bingo. You can bring as much food and hard liquor/wine you want. They sell beer and mixers at the lodge so you aren’t allowed to bring that in, but it is super cheap. It is cash only and bingo cards are $5. You get to play a bunch of games of bingo and the camaraderie is really fun. And did I mention, there are CASH prizes! I have not won a single game in the 2 years I’ve been going, but I continue to go. It’s too fun, even when you lose. Perfect for birthdays or just when you need to wind down after a hard week. Games start at 7, but I suggest getting there super early (by 5:30 or 6) in order to get a spot. It fills up quick!
- Raven Tower
Raven Tower is another really cool bar. There is an actual tower, which people used to be able to go up in and there is a bar at the top, but they closed that part a while ago (safety hazard?). There’s a cool bar at the bottom still and lots of pet-friendly outdoor seating. As you guys can tell, I am a sucker for a great patio. They have a great beer selection and also serve cocktails. They also have live music frequently and are right next to White Oak Music Hall (big concert venue). Perfect to hang at before catching a concert. Also! The first Sunday of every month, they have free yoga! And super cheap pitchers of mimosas!
- Blackhole Coffee
This is my favorite coffee shop in Houston. It’s a tough decision to make though because there are some really great coffee shops here. Blackhole has the atmosphere I love and great coffee too. The staff is super friendly and not snobby like sometimes baristas can be. It’s a great place to just hang out in and do work or enjoy the outdoor seating. Part of it that I really love is that the whole front of the building is windows so there’s a lot of natural light that comes in. It isn’t a huge shop, so sometimes it gets busy and you have to take your coffee to go, but other than that it is perfect. Edgy, cool, and delicious food served as well. And they’re also open late and serve beer! Perffff.
My order: Iced latte with almond syrup (made in house, DELICIOUS).
- Boomtown Coffee
Boomtown used to be my favorite coffee shop, but it got demoted after the remodel they recently did. The coffee is still great, but every time I’ve gone the line has been nearly out the door and there hasn’t been any open tables. It’s busy because it’s great! It’s kind of dark inside the shop, but they do have a little bit of outdoor seating. It’s in the heights on the main drag, so it’s perfect to just stop in and grab as you stroll. The coffee speaks for itself and the staff is mostly friendly. Still worth a try if you’re in the area.
My order: Iced Milk and Honey (one of their signature creations)
- Tacos A Go Go
Taco shop. Taco shop. Taco shopppp. Best taco shop in Houston that isn’t a taco truck! Tacos A Go Go is kind of a little whole in the wall spot, but really really good. Great date spot. I’ve had pretty much every taco there and they’re all excellent. Get the sangria as well. A pitcher or two. Or three.
- Vinyl Edge
Favorite vinyl shop in Houston! A lot of people prefer and like Cactus Music, and it’s a great shop too, but not my favorite. Cactus definitely has a wider selection, but Vinyl Edge is so much more “mom and pop.” It’s small and not necessarily designed in the best way for lots of people to be in there at the same time, but the staff is unmatched. Anytime I’ve had any kind of question they can always answer it and they’ve offered to order countless records for me, for not extra cost. Record Store Day is a must at Vinyl Edge if you are into records. They don’t need to be fancy to be great. It’s in the Heights on the main drag, near Boomtown Coffee. Grab a coffee and go browse. You won’t regret it!
Honorable mention: The Gingerman, Lily and Bloom, Mala Sichuan Bistro, Okra Charity Bar, and ManReady Mercantile.
If you’re in Houston, check these places out! You will not regret it mis amores! I can’t wait to come back to Houston for a visit so I can hit up all my favorite spots 🙂