The Best Things to Do at Night in Houston, Texas

In a city the size of Houston, you'll never run out of things to do after dark
In a city the size of Houston, you'll never run out of things to do after dark | © Al Argueta / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of David Darbyshire
Writer1 July 2020

Last call in Houston, Texas is 2am; bars are innumerable, with a club scene as musically diverse as its population. You could fit Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit within Houston’s city limits so, as you can imagine, your nightlife options are infinite. It would be impossible to experience it all in one lifetime if you lived there, but we’re filled with enough Texan bravado right now that we’ll distil it down into a brief list of six seriously stand-out things. Take your pick of the sort of modern, hip venues you can expect from any contemporary metropolis, but with the unpretentiousness and unique laid-back spirit that you only find in Texas.

Notsuoh

Bar, Beer
Map View

To describe this quirky hipster dive bar, you can’t do much better than Notsuoh’s own website which states it’s A Downtown Houston original. A regular open-mic venue, this is an ideal spot to visit for the curious wanting a small peek into Houston’s vibrant art and independent music scene. Located on Main Street, Notsuoh is surrounded by other tourist friendly spots and is easily accessible if you’re casually exploring downtown on foot.

Pete's Duelling Piano Bar

Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

If you’re looking for an all-singing, all-dancing, all-Texas evening out, fueled by radioactive colored cocktails and shots, then Pete’s is the place for you. Loud and lively, with singing wait staff and the looming threat of audience participation, this experience is guaranteed to leave you in high spirits. Get ready on any visit for the duelling piano aspect of this bar to spring into life. Fortunately table booking is available, in case you want to be guaranteed a place to rest your sore dancing feet, and the venue itself is in the easily accessible GreenStreet development in downtown.

Kiki Maroon's Burly Q Lounge

Bar, Cocktails
Map View

Performance, magic, comedy and music, all hosted by the hilarious Kiki herself, the Burly Q Lounge is an unmissable burlesque experience in Houston. With a broad selection of entertainment that changes on a monthly basis, and no nudity, this is a fantastic evening’s entertainment for anyone. It’s located in the popular GreenStreet district, with great public transport accessibility and parking options.

Anvil Bar and Refuge

Bar, Charcuterie, American, $$$
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If you’re a fan of cocktails and you’re in Houston, you should definitely visit Anvil. Its warm and inviting industrial-chic atmosphere is reason enough to go, but the bar’s extensive menu of 100 classic, expertly mixed cocktails served in vintage glassware is the reason many Houston locals make this one of their regular watering holes. It’s located on the pedestrian-friendly Westheimer curve in Montrose, among boutiques and antique stores.

Axelrad Beer Garden

Bar, Beer, $$$
Map View

A much-loved outdoor community space for local hipsters, this beer garden has drinks, pizza, live music, games and hammocks. So basically, every basic need on a boozy night out is covered. If you’re looking for a casual hangout spot with a friendly, laid-back vibe, you can’t do much better than this inside (or outside) of Houston. It has excellent access to public transport as it’s half a mile from the Ensemble/HCC station, plus there’s plenty of nearby parking.

Poison Girl

Bar, Beer
Map View

A dark, trendy joint featuring a wall of liquor that would impress Ernest Hemingway, Poison Girl is a true Houston gem. The interior walls sport eccentric decor while out back there’s an excellent patio area, perfect for those warm Houston evenings. Chalkboards on the walls for doodles and pinball machines compliment the chilled atmosphere of friendly local whiskey drinkers. Nestled in the Hyde Park area of Houston, Poison Girl has managed to remain a Houston mainstay and stands out among a strip of other bars and eateries.

These recommendations were updated on July 1, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.