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A few of my local favorites:
Urban Brew in Third Ward (1815 Cleburne St Suite E, Houston, TX 77004) has great tacos, crepes, and coffee!
Brass Tacks in EaDo (612 Live Oak St, Houston, TX 77003) has a large patio / outdoor area, as well as ample indoor seating. They've got a great breakfast menu, plus cocktails, and tasty lunch too!
Catalina Coffee (2201 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007) has fantastic coffee & tea, local pastries, and indoor/outdoor seating. They do not have WiFi, so don't expect to come here to work.
Fix Coffee is in Montrose (415 Westheimer Rd #101, Houston, TX 77006). They have tasty coffee & tea, as well as sandwiches and wraps. They're well known for their interesting/funky drinks, like their Honey Lavender Latte, and the Smoked Rosemary Cortado.
There is no shortage of craft beer in Houston - as there are about 15 breweries within a ~1.5 mile radius of Downton, and 100s more if you're willing to travel a little bit. If you want to get a good sampling, you can head to Flying Saucer (705 Main Street) that has a ton of microbrews and decent bar food.
By "area" - Washington / Rice Military:
Buffalo Bayou Brewing
Holler Brewing Co
Urban South - HTX
North of Downtown:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Local Group Brewing
8th Wonder Brewery
New Magnolia Brewing Co
Karbach Brewing Co (Heights adjacent)
Houston has a ton of food halls (aka fancy food courts) with lots of great dining options, plus (normally) full bars.
Bravery Chef Hall (409 Travis) is just off of Market Square Park, and has 7 different restaurants plus 3 different bar concepts.
POST Market (401 Franklin St), also located downtown, they are one of the newer food halls in Houston. Not only do they have a TON of great restaurant concepts, there's also a huge rooftop park with skyline views.
Finn Hall (712 Main St) is only open on weekdays (closes at 8 PM), but has a bar, coffee, and lots of great food options.
Underground Hall (1010 Prairie St) is a casual food hall and is located underground (hence the name) with a full bar and a great draft beer selection.
Railway Heights (8200 Washington) is a newer food hall and market - located about 10-15 minutes from Downtown, this offers a lot of great food options, plus some shopping and art!
PLACES TO GRAB COCKTAILS
Houston has a lot of different neighborhoods - all of them have different vibes and there are a lot of great options to grab a drink!
Downtown - The majority of bars downtown are located off of Main Street, between Texas and Congress. You'll find a wide range of bars from more cocktail style bars to sports bars, and trendier places. La Carafe (813 Congress) is the oldest bar in Houston. Another popular place is McIntyre's Downtown, where you'll find a 3-story bar with lots of room to spread out!
East Downtown (EaDo) - EaDo is one of my favorite neighborhoods for all of the bars and restaurants. Once you're in the area, it's easy to walk to different spots. Most of the bars and stuff to do is in "East Village" off of St. Emanuel Street. You've got low key places like Truck Yard, Little Woodrow's, Pitch 25, and Around the Corner. If you're in the mood for a craft cocktail, head over to Miss Carousel. Sunset Houston has a great rooftop patio, and Roots Wine Bar has beer & (self serve) wine.
Midtown - Midtown offers SO many bars & restaurants in a very small area! Most bars are around Bagby - with low key bars like Little Woodrow's and The Dogwood, and more trendy bars like Electric FeelGood, Unicorn Disco, 360 Midtown, and Wonder Bar.
Montrose - There's a lot to do off of Westheimer as well as Fairview. Some of my personal favorites are the Vietnamese Fries & cocktails at Boheme, a cocktail at Anvil, or a margarita at La Grange.
The Heights - There are two "sections" where there are clusters of bars in the Heights. "Lower" Heights at 6th Street/White Oak (near Studewood), like Little Woodrow's, Bobcat Teddy's Icehouse, Onion Creek, and Christian's Tailgate. Then, more north around 19th & 20th Street, you've got a lot of bars within walking distance, like Drift, Bungalow Heights, McIntyre's, and more.
We have SOOOO much good food, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. But, it's a list of a few favorites!
Tex-Mex - My two favorites are the Original Ninfa's on Navigation (2704 Navigation), or it's neighbor, El Tiempo (2814 Navigation). If you're looking something close to the hotel, visit Pappasito's Cantina (1600 Lamar, downtown) or El Big Bad (419 Travis). Irma's Original (22 N Chenevert) is also amazing - they don't have a menu (you get one of a few choices for the "specials" of the day).
Sushi - Uchi is my favorite sushi spot in Houston (especially for Happy Hour) at 904 Westheimer, Kata Robata (3600 Kirby), Handies Duozo (3510 White Oak), Ka Sushi (1901 N Shepherd), Seaside Poke (2118 Lamar St), Soto (224 Westheimer), and MF Sushi (1401 Binz) are all GREAT options.
Burgers - Rodeo Goat (2105 Dallas), Barnaby's Cafe (801 Congress), Lankford's Grocery and Market (88 Dennis), and The Burger Joint (2703 Montrose Blvd), Stanton's City Bites (1420 Edwards St)
Barbecue - A few popular places in Houston (close-ish to downtown) include The Pit Room (1201 Richmond), Truth BBQ (110 S Heights), Pinkerton's Barbecue (1504 Airline), Henderson & Kane (715 Henderson), at Gatlin's BBQ (3510 Ella Blvd), and Feges BBQ (3 Greenway Plz)
Some other random options in Neighborhoods and areas:
EaDo - Vinny's Pizza (1201 St Emanuel), Huynh - Vietnamese (912 St Emanuel), The Rustic (1836 Polk), Indianola - Modern American (1201 St Emanuel), Nancy's Hustle - Modern American (2704 Polk St), Brass Tacks (612 Live Oak)
Midtown / Montrose - Piola Pizza (3201 Louisiana), Mai's Vietnamese (3403 Milam), Tacos a Go Go (3704 Main), Oporto Fooding & House and Wine - Tapas (125 W Gray), Izakaya (318 Gray), Wanna Bao (2708 Bagby), Ramen Tatsu-ya (1722 California)
Heights - Loro (1001 W 11th St), Coltivare (3320 White Oak Dr), Mastrantos (927 Studewood St #100), Field & Tides (705 E 11th St),
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