There’s something special about speakeasies. The secretive, vicarious forbidden feel of transporting back to the prohibition make imbibing cocktails all the more tantalizing. Stow away in wonderful hidden bars that Houston has to offer!
The Sweet bakery on Washington Avenue is unassuming enough. A quaint little bakery one might think. Sure, they’re location 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.
Stationed at 3701 N Main St. in the Greater Heights is Cantina Barba, a bustling taqueria and patio that serves an smoky array of 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.
Take a trip back to the roaring ’20s this summer at Houston’s new prohibition-era speakeasy. Gatsby’s Hospitality Group has opened the Daisy Buchanan Lounge at 4321 Montrose Blvd that tips its cap to the Jazz Era
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.
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. 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.
All year long, the Secret Garden patio is vibrant with floral splendor. Planted on the 2,000-foot patio of Bravery Chef Hall, Secret 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.
While temporarily taking shelter behind sister bar, Anvil Bar & Refuge, OG Tongue Cut Sparrow plans to return to its smoky watering hole in the back room of The Pastry War later this year. Furnished with leather couches, oak walls, and a fireplace warmer than the whiskey in your stomach, the speakeasy offers an intimate, 25-seat space to imbibe from their Japanese-inspired cocktail menu.
8. 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. Be sure to swim over to Lei Low on Wednesdays for a steel guitar performance.
Don’t let the locked doors turn you away. Just knock twice to get in to the 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.
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. 10/10 would go again.