We get a lot of questions about where to have a bomb birthday dinner, brunch, date-night, etc. And it’s about time we wrote them down instead of answering one-off DMs! When it comes to planning a birthday party there are a few things I consider the makings of a great venue: ability to accommodate large groups, excellent food, fun drinks, and a good location so that you have the option to pop on over to a bar to keep the night going. Here’s a break down of some of our favorite places (in alphabetical order to not play favorites) to celebrate your birthday in Houston:
- Bisou ($$). Sunday Funday? Check. Going up on a Tuesday? Check. Created by the owners of Clé, this restaurant in River Oaks District is guaranteed to provide a good time. While potentially overpriced, the food is only a means to drink more of the massive fishbowls on the menu. If you’re looking to turn up and keep the party going after dinner, this is a fabulous place to
pregamehave dinner with friends.
- Conservatory ($). This underground food hall in Downtown is casual and chill with options for everyone from pho to grilled cheese to pizza and poke. It also has a fab wine bar and 50+ beers on tap which serves as a great pregame if you want to use it as a rally point for getting everyone downtown and then bouncing over to the bars on Main Street. It also serves as a great post-bar snack as it’s open to 3am on the weekends.
- El Tiempo Cantina ($$). Holla this is an OG spot for big groups and out-of-town friends looking to get a bit rowdy and have a good time with some Houston classic Tex Mex. Don’t miss out on the queso, margarita pitchers, or fajitas ala Barry. If you have a big group you can make a reservation, otherwise expect a wait during prime time hours. Getting a drink at the bar is a fab idea, but watch the margs tho–they will get ya! There are multiple El Tiempo locations in town, but our favorites are off Washington and Waugh (RIP the OG Montrose spot).
- Emmaline ($$). Perfect for brunch with the girls. Emmaline is insta-perfect with wicker chairs, lush plants, and hardwood floors you’ll feel like you’re dining in a French countryside greenhouse. This Montrose restauraunt offers American cuisine with “European refinement.” Depending on how bougie you’re trynna get, meals can get expensive, but a bottle of champagne for mimosas is always a great idea. Pro tip: plan ahead and get 20% off your meal when you download the Urbane Society app.
- One Fifth ($$$). Calling all foodies, this concept is perfect for date-night with your significant other. Go all out with wine and the tasting platter ($60 each) and feast your way around the world. I went during the Mediterranean rotation and FELL IN LOVE. The menu is absolutely incredible, beautifully platted, and has flavor combos you didn’t think were possible. Def a top choice if you’re looking to spend your bonus and/or treat that special someone in your life.
- Postino ($$). Have a birthday during the week? No worries, Postino has $20 bruschetta boards + bottle of wine on Mondays and Tuesdays. No reason not to celebrate on your actual birthday! Known for its wine selection, Postino offers soups, salads, and paninis to snack on between bottles. Call ahead for a reservation because that place can get packed. Luckily Heights Mercantile is adorable so even if you do get stuck waiting for a table, there are plenty of boutiques (here are some of our favorites!) to pass the time at.
- Prohibition Theatre ($$$). Dinner and a show? Classic combo–yet risque. This burlesque bar evokes the 1920s with a speakeasy theater in the back that has full-production shows with lots of [raunchy] dancing and singing. I went with a big group for the Bitches Who Brunch show and it did not disappoint–lots of mimosas, a brunch buffet, and plenty of hilarity as the emcee targeted the awkward guys in my group (there were like 6 dudes in the audience total). The dinner shows are bigger productions (also more expensive). Get discounts for groups of 6 or more! Note: there’s a prix fixe menu that you’re expected to order with your show ticket, so it can get pricey. However, totally worth it and an excellent Houston bucket list item. It’s a great option for bachelorette parties too.
- Riva’s Italian Restaurant ($). Soup, salad, heaping plates of pasta and $5 heavy pours of wine is my special place for heaven. There’s a reason this divey Montrose spot tops the list for our best places for pasta in Houston. Wise-cracking servers take orders from a menu filled with all your classic comfort food pasta staples– spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, etc. For your birthday, the whole restaurant is encouraged to sing and as you blow out the candles the owner proclaims “I love the way you blow.” There’s a reason there’s a sign posted on the doors that the restaurant may not be acceptable for children under 12. Mark your calendars for the Christmas season because the regular strands of twinkling white lights that adorn the vine covered house explode ten-fold with rainbow light strands, inflated Santas, and other sparkling holiday decor that covers literally every inch of the restaurant interior.
- Suparica ($$). This newcomer offers Mexican classics with a twist and has a bomb patio for events, a full bar, and enough whimsical Marfa decor to sweep you off your feet to fall in love. Not feeling Mexican? Head to it’s sister restaurant, La Lucha, next door for fresh seafood. Both places are the perfect launching point if you’re trying to move the party to Heights Bier Garden (it’s just a block away!) Who say’s Houston isn’t walkable?
- The Grove ($$). Dining at the Grove is like dining in a tree house among the foliage of Discovery Green Downtown. The menu offers fresh takes on American and Tex Mex dishes. In addition to their fabulous happy hour (goes till 7pm!), they take reservations too, so good place to go with a big a group! The Grove is also eligible for a discount with Urbane Society app.