There’s something special about speakeasies in Houston. The secretive, vicarious forbidden feel of transporting back to the prohibition make imbibing cocktails all the more tantalizing. When it comes to paying one of these places a visit, locating the clandestine watering holes and going through the motions to get in is half the fun. From knocking the door to ringing the bell, the secretive nature of these speakeasies in Houston is exciting in itself, and it makes sipping on a craft cocktail or gulping down a beer or wine even more exhilarating.
The Sugar Room on Washington Avenue is unassuming enough. A quaint little bakery one might think. Sure, they’re located on Washington Avenue surrounded by some of the most action-packed weekend bars in the city is a little suspect, but otherwise the colorful selection of macaroons, cupcakes and cookies would convince you that this bake shop has got nothing to hide.
📍5120 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
Stationed at 3701 N Main St. in the Greater Heights is Cantina Barba, a bustling taqueria and patio that serves an smoky array of delicious Tex-Mex dishes with authentic no-nonsense flavor. Tucked away in the corner of their back patio is a scanty, nondescript, somewhat rusty container. The door on which advertises “Mijo’s Mezcal Bar” – which, to our knowledge, lays the smallest bar in Houston.
📍3701 N Main St, Houston, TX 77009
Located in a secret passageway tucked inside Four Seasons, Bandista is a reservation-only cocktail lounge reminiscent of the 1920s. With a maximum capacity of 18, Bandista puts a creative spin on classic and contemporary cocktails with artistic flair. Their Sazerac Flight cocktail featuring a cognac base and agave is one of our favorites here.
📍1300 Lamar St, Houston, TX 77010
4. FAO HTX
FAO HTX is now open on the top floor of the same building that houses Pub Fiction at 2303 Smith St. The newly minted speakeasy features over 6,500 square feat of neon-lit entertainment and lounge space. Arcade-wise, guests can hit the joysticks of their Pacman Battle Royal station, Terminator Salvation rig, Game of Thrones-themed pinball, and other games.
📍 2303 Smith St #300, Houston, TX 77006
The Main Street speakeasy is the definition of a hidden gem. Unmarked and deviously tucked away behind a deceptive, nondescript “Attorney at Law” door, a dark and mysterious stairwell leads visitors up to a dim-lit cocktail haven known as Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lounge. Here, the bartenders know what they’re doing and will set you up right with your drink of choice. As for their second story patio, you could definitely do worse.
📍308 Main St, Houston, TX 77002
6. SOHO Garden
All year long, SOHO Garden patio is vibrant with floral splendor. Planted on the 2,000-foot patio of Bravery Chef Hall, SOHO Garden offers an enchanting Downtown escape. Its precious greenhouse is adorned with a multiplicity of striking floral arrangements fit for a wedding. At nightfall, neon lights compliment its charming fairy tale ambiance in dreamlike hues.
📍408 Main St, Houston, TX 77002
7. Lei Low
The best Tiki bars are those that over-the-top. Tucked inside a strip center lies a hidden oasis that offers a tropical respite from city life. At Lei Low, Hawaiian shirts are encouraged, and rewarded come happy hour, with a menu that covers all rum-based surfside favorites. This place is one of favorite themed bars in Houston. Be sure to swim over to Lei Low on Wednesdays for a steel guitar performance.
📍6412 N Main St C, Houston, TX 77009,
Don’t let the locked doors turn you away. Just knock twice to get in to Last Concert Cafe – a vibrant Mexican restaurant and oldest live music venue in Houston. Yes, you have to knock. Nowadays, the venue stages live music seven days a week with sessions that go deep into the night. The open-air venue offers a large sanded dancing floor to get you into the groove and vibe out to their local psychedelic jams and drum circles.
📍1403 Nance St, Houston, TX 77002
notsuoH is part bar, part performance art venue, part vintage art gallery. Our last memory of the dive goes back a few years. That night the bar showcased an experimental noise rock outfit. During which, the band played and recorded a number of loops, after which the keyboardist and guitarist sat down crosslegged on the stage and played a game of chess as the loops fed through the monitors. And that pretty much sums up the energy of notsuouH – a DIY watering hole where artists, poets, and performers can express themselves without the pretense of impressing, or even entertaining, anyone. This place is one of our favorite dive bars and speakeasies in Houston. 10/10 would go again.
📍314 Main St, Houston, TX 77002