Despite working full time and year round, I feel like I’m on vacation all summer long. If you’re the same way, let’s enjoy evenings on different patios — or indoors, if you’re sick of the heat — and sip tons of frozen drinks with few to no cares in the world.
Annnnd, here are my recommendations of where to do this.
OK, I have to very appropriately start this list off right here because, all the other Houston bars, Imma let you finish, but Truck Yard has one of the best patios and sassy signs of all time. Why do I love Truck Yard? Let me count the ways.
- It’s huge. There’s plenty of seating — some in the beds of trucks!!
- There’s a ferris wheel (though it’s not currently running). It’s got a great aesthetic in the meantime.
- I love their frozen drinks and the cocktails on tap. So efficient, and that trash can punch is DANGEROUS. Pro tip: you can try a little taste of the cocktails if it’s not too busy since they are on tap. And the cocktails come in a larger cup than the frozen drinks and they are the same price.
- Live music! Tons of concerts and fun things to do like skeet ball and catch a game
Warning: There tends to be a line… It’s a popping place!
And, I mean, you guys. It’s hot outside. We get it. We’re in mid-June now. Gotta be real with you, it’ll be miserable at 3 pm since there’s not really an inside part. Truck Yard is worth it!
It took me waaaaayyy too long to try Emmaline, but when I finally did, I think I did it right. Yes, there’s a fantastic brunch, but I loved hitting up Emmaline for a couple appetizers and wine. I had the cheese plate ($18) and the Emmaline pizza ($15). Both had an abundance of bread and cheese, so what could go wrong? The pizza was honestly ooey-gooey and falling apart because it had so much cheese! In retrospect, we didn’t need both, but I’m glad we did. The cheese plate has one cheese and one meat, and it rotates. The pickled veggies were so yum.
PSA. There’s a $24 bottle of sparkling wine from Spain. You will see this and think, “oh, that seems too good to be true.” Fact: It is not too good to be true. The wine is delicious and the bottle is a normal sized bottle of wine. Get it. Get it, get it, get it.
This sandwich spot doesn’t scream watering hole, but whilst fawning over the infamous lobster roll, I accidentally fell in love with the $5 frose and spiked lemonade. Both are frozen and delicious. So simple, so cheap, so refreshing.
But yeah, I mean, also get the lobster roll. Highly recommend the chicken sandwich and the tomato soup too. I see you, River Oaks District.
Whether you’re giving up hope for the long Truck Yard line or just really want a stinking good burger, Rodeo Goat is for you. Well, know that this place is very much a restaurant, not a bar. Counterpoint, they have a p good drink menu and they seem p proud of it. Won’t find any fancy glasses here. I tried some of the most popular hose specials. Moontang (pictured) has moonshine and tang…. “and some other stuff”. Not sure what that stuff was but it was good and cold and just tasted like tang aka childhood. Next I tried the Dapper Dawn because I am a lady. It had peach Deep Eddy’s, lime and some other things, but it was a little too sour for my liking. Last, I got the Fainting Goat because it had a two drink maximum and I like a challenge. The menu seemed light on details, but yolo. Turns out, it’s a beer with vodka in it. It tastes like a beer without vodka in it, and I think that’s dangerous.
Cottonmouth Club (Downtown)
Two girls walk into a new bar and they bartender asks them where they want to travel, what’s their favorite band, etc. There’s no punch line, that’s just what happened when Anastasia and I tried the Cottonmouth Club on Mainstreet in downtown. The bartender (maybe owner too?) basically hand crafted our drinks. We started with picking from the various glasses. Then he asked us each a few questions. Mind you, these were completely random questions. We don’t know what we ended up drinking, but they were good.
By the way, this bar is completely inside! Plus it’s right on Main Street, so you can hop around too or just hang here. Yay!
I like that Postino in Heights Mercantile keeps it simple. Bread, cheese, wine. Obviously, it’s a little more extensive than that, but yeah, those are the building blocks for sure. I liked all the bruschettas I tried, but the artichoke one was to die for! Four sounds like a lot, but it’s the perfect amount.
Postino has two specials: $20 bottle and board (you get a bottle of wine and four bruschettas) and $5 wines before 5 pm (even on weekends!).
Houston’s only master sommelier, David Keck, opened a….. honkey tonk? Cool, ok, makes sense. I’ve been to Goodnight Charlie’s a few times and never have I had the wine, I’ll tell you that. The spot is pretty small in Montrose near La Grange but has a totally different vibe from anything in the area. It’s got a live band and a great menu — get the tacos! I usually stick to beer here, or, if I’m feeling wild, I get the Charles Goodnight — a beer and a shot of bourbon, both rotate.
Because it’s like a thousand degrees outside, i think it’s important to have a few indoor bars on this list. I love BCK for brunch and now drinks. The neighborhood spot is a sister location to Bosscat Kitchen, another brunch and lunch favorite. The full name to BCK is BCK: Kitchen and Cocktail Adventures. There are a few drinks on the menu that are big adventures. One is the the Dr. Feel Good and comes in a Dr Pepper Can. I love that. Plus, it’s boozy as hell. I also loved the Berry Crunch Milk Punch that comes topped with berry Captain Crunch. Lastly for the nostalgia drinks is the First Crush that’s got orange crush and cream. BTW, in true Bosscat honor, these are all whiskey drinks. There’s also a $5 whiskey shot that comes with a beer that’s called The High.
For food, I have only had brunch, but I love the tacos, PB&J Oatmeal and the Frito pie.
Le Colonial is 100% a dinner place, but I’ve snuck in a few daytime drinking adventures that I think are way better and more fun than a full meal. The food is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but if I want vietnamese, I’m usually going somewhere in Chinatown or cheaper.
However, the social hour menu is bomb, and you must go and get all the drinks and snacks.
I had the Lychee frozen drink, TRAI VAI, and, while I’m not a huge fan of lychee, I loved how cute the drink was. My cup of tea was the Evening Tea, which had gin, earl gray flavors and lemon grass. It’s not hot! Super refreshing. I also tried the Thai Chile Margarita, which was picture perfect and had a great kick to it. On a separate visit, I had the Red Buffalo, which also had a kick to it, though that’s not usually my thing. It had Tito’s, muddled strawberries, Thai basil & Thai chili. Could barely drink it all, though i appreciated the flavors. I switched to their fab wine menu after that.
Star Fish (Washington Corridor)
I absolutely swear by Star Fish’s happy hour, and it just got a whole lot better. First of all, it’s $1 or $2 oysters and $5 martinis — and literally that’s all I need. Now, however, there are $5 small plates: fries, fried zucchini, etc (as well as a few $8 options too). It’s such a steal.
If you’re not at happy hour, I say go big or go home with some of Star Fish’s fishbowl drinks. I’ve tasted a few of them. There’s a whole section on gin and tonics, and none of them will disappoint. But there’s vodka and tonics too, along with mules, margs, etc. My absolute favorite is the Low Tide because it changes colors!