Houston’s Most Iconic Bars

By Bryan Carey

Every large American city has its share of bars and taverns. Houston is no different and those seeking a place to drop in for an adult beverage or two will have no problem finding a welcoming establishment. Some of these bars are ordinary and provide the minimum requirements for customer satisfaction while others go above and beyond, making a name for themselves as iconic places to sample new drinks and meet new people. Here are some of the most iconic bars in the Houston area:

Hay Merchant
1100 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 528-9805
www.haymerchant.com

Best known for its impressive selection of craft beer, Hay Merchant has established itself as a Houston institution in a relatively short time. People from across the region flock to Hay Merchant for its craft beer and equally crafted food, both of which include remarkable options. Sports viewing is popular and Hay Merchant even has a few pinball machines for a feeling of nostalgia. With so many beers on tap, there is always something to please the palate and where else can you get peanut butter and jelly chicken wings and wash them down with a beer of comparable flavor? These qualities make Hay Merchant one of Houston’s finest places for drinks and more.

Cottonwood
3422 North Shepherd Drive
Houston, TX 77018
(713) 802-0410
www.cottonwoodhouston.com

Do you like to take you dog along when you eat and drink? If you do, then a place not to miss is Cottonwood, a north Houston bar notable for its large outdoor patio, where family pets often join owners for a day or evening in the sun. Cottonwood has large fire pits to keep guests warm and cozy during the cooler times of the year and if hanging out with dogs isn’t your thing, you can head inside where the atmosphere is pet- free. Grab a squirrel burger and craft beer, find yourself a place at one of the picnic tables, and enjoy your visit to Cottonwood, one of Houston’s most memorable bars.

Reserve 101
1201 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 655-7101
www.reserve101.com

Lovers of whiskey will not want to miss Reserve 101. This upscale bar in downtown Houston is a whiskey aficionado’s dream come true, with more than 300 varieties available. Guests can order samples different whiskies and it’s common to find special tastings taking place throughout the week. Reserve 101 is a great place to visit when you’re in downtown and as a true shrine to whiskey and bourbon, it easily earns a spot among the Houston area’s most iconic bars.

Related: Best Places to Picnic in Houston

Mongoose Vs Cobra
1011 McGowen St.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 650-6872
www.mongooseversuscobra.com

Craft beer and excellent handcrafted cocktails keep guests happy at Mongoose vs. Cobra, a Midtown Houston bar beloved by locals. Beer is the specialty here and the beer list isn’t too difficult to find, since it is displayed right on the wall, where it cannot be missed. If you’re not in the mood for beer, then you definitely should try a cocktail made with tonic because Mongoose vs. Cobra makes its tonic in- house, for an added taste treat. Oh, and don’t forget to order a pretzel. Mongoose vs. Cobra makes some of the best pretzels in the city and they match perfectly with a cold craft brew.

Okra Charity Saloon
924 Congress Ave.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 237-8828
www.friedokra.org/okra-charity-saloon.com

Certainly a place worthy of the iconic label, Okra Charity Saloon is a bar with a philanthropic focus. This downtown bar is very large on the inside and they feature a full bar that doesn’t necessarily focus on any one type of drink. Rather, the focus at Okra Charity Saloon is giving and when you order a drink, you will receive a ticket to vote on the charity of your choice to receive the donations for the night. It’s not often that you find a bar that regularly donates to charity, but Okra Charity Saloon is that bar and it is definitely a place deserving of your patronage.

Related: Best Signature Cocktails in Houston

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