10 Houston Bars That Anchor Their Neighborhood
From the days of 18th-century rum shops and gin palaces, neighborhood bars have been everywhere. It even goes without saying that when people build homes, the neighborhood bar invariably follows. From formal cocktail bars to pet-friendly watering holes, let’s explore some of the bars that have become icons and anchors in their local neighborhoods.
The New Potato – Fifth Ward
Located in Houston’s East End, The New Potato is both a pet and family-friendly bar where the owner has created an intimate setting for his patrons to mingle. The space features an outdoor garden, plus rotating food trucks and pop-ups throughout the week. There’s also 29 craft beer taps, whiskey, and classic cocktails. The New Potato is a local spot that gives Fifth Ward residents, pet lovers, and everyone else a chance to connect and get to know each other as they enjoy the resurgence of their neighborhood.
Tongue-Cut Sparrow – Downtown Houston
Tongue-Cut Sparrow is a formal cocktail bar that is housed in a nearly 120-year-old building in Downtown Houston. The establishment is a homage to Japanese cocktail bars and their drinks are exquisitely crafted. Beyond their cocktail list (which can be categorized as small works of art), they also have an extensive collection of spirits and Japanese whiskeys. Outfitted in wood and leather tones, locals and regulars enjoy the exclusive ambiance of this centralized neighborhood hotspot.
One Armed Scissor – Greater Heights
A hidden gem in the Greater Heights, the proprietors of this local bar use ingredients created and cultivated in-house. All produce is seasonal and juices are pressed fresh daily — it's not booze, bitters or tonic, then you can assume they made it themselves. Residents of this trendy Greater Heights neighborhood adore their freshly made cocktails and adventurous locals have even threatened to “lick the glass.”
Three Sheets Bar & Grill – Westchase
Three Sheets is your proverbial neighborhood bar (think Cheers) where the bartenders remember your name and there is an assortment of food specials every night plus karaoke on the weekends. When you saunter in, ask your bartender about the rotating beer of the week. Residents in this suburban-area bar love how the bartender makes “lap dance shots” to welcome newcomers, it gives the bar an authentic community feel.
Axelrad – Midtown
A gathering place for the community, Axelrad offers beer, wine, drinks, pizza, and a grove of hammocks. The bar is housed within a 100-year-old renovated building and features a tree full of glow sticks, food trucks, a lot of board games, and movie nights. Axelrad serves as a laid-back bar and anchor for Midtown-area residents looking to relax and enjoy their wide selection of beers.
Upstairs Bar and Lounge - West University
The Upstairs Bar and Lounge is a West University spot that features bar bites, custom-made shots, handcrafted cocktails, and an expansive second-floor terrace. To make your visit even more memorable, they also offer mimosa and whiskey flights plus weekend brunch. This bar has an elegant yet sporty vibe that attracts professionals who live in this trendy, tree-lined neighborhood.
NettBar – Washington Corridor
A neighborhood bar formed around a repurposed 1900’s era structure in Houston’s historic west-end, NettBar is where you can bring your dog and get some good eats and a drink after a long day of work. If you’re lucky enough to be there when a train passes, rush to the bar and declare, “train shot.” For $2 each, these shots are solid and it creates a sense of anticipation until the next train invariably roars by. The fresh-faced crowd who live in Washington Corridor, which is experiencing a renaissance, enjoy playing bocce ball, Jenga, and cornhole while getting to know each other in this neighbor-centric bar.
Anvil Bar and Refuge – Montrose
Anvil is focused on cocktails made with high-quality spirits and ingredients. Opened in 2008 as Houston’s first bar devoted to classic cocktails, bartenders there have developed an impressive list of 100 favorite concoctions. It’s a comforting place to come after a beat-down day at work to relax. Anvil Bar is a fun refuge for the eclectic crowd that lives in Montrose, the four-square-mile pocket of eccentricity and diversity in the heart of Houston.
Spring Street Beer & Wine Garden – Old Sixth Ward
Spring Street focuses on craft beer, cocktails along with an impressive wine selection. Known for its casual ambiance, pet-friendly patio, and contemporary jazz playing in the background, there’s even heated lamps for those chilly evenings. Spring Street reflects the Texas tradition of an ice-house but with a modern, trendy feel and has solidified its presence in the Old Sixth Ward designated historic district.
Nancy’s Hustle – East Downtown Houston
(EaDo) Nancy’s is currently dazzling Houston’s wine and culinary scene with its fascinating wine list which favors organically farmed grapes and biodynamic production. The all-natural wine list includes French rose and chardonnay; Italian Nebbiolo and tempranillo; California Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. EaDo is a vibrant neighborhood rich with history and interesting sites, and Nancy’s Hustle is a new and welcome addition for downtown residents. Come by for happy hour, one-of-a-kind entrees or a nightcap.