Hey, you, come here. Get close. No closer. Closer still. I have a secret that I need to tell you. Now this has to remain between you, me and the readers of this blog. Houston has a secret bar scene and we have the passwords you need to get in. Here are five of the best kept secret bars in Houston.
This small, twenty-five seat, craft cocktail bar is hidden like a Russian doll. It’s is a bar hidden within a bar on a street filled with other bars. It is located in downtown Houston within the popular mezcaleria, the Pastry War. When you walk in the front door head forward past the mezcal bar on your left. You’ll run into a secret door marked only with a sparrow. Behind that door is a stairwell and at the top, you’ll find Tongue-Cut Sparrow. It is wise to make reservations for this hidden space because apparently, the secret is out. Spontaneous drinkers may luck out with a seat at the bar. With cocktails ranging from $14 to $20 bucks a pop, you’ll want to enjoy whatever tasty concoction you select. If you can’t swing a seat upstairs, no worries, the Pastry War has a margarita that is sure to quench your sorrowed thirst.
If you like to make-out as much as you like to drink then Marfreless in the River Oaks neighborhood has a cozy, black leather couch with your name on it. The bar is located near the historic River Oaks Theatre. The trick, however, is finding the door. Here’s a tip: it’s blue, unmarked and it’s under a fire-escape staircase. Any Houstonian who claims to be a native has swapped some spit in the upstairs lounge. Older folks might remember the beat up couches when the bar was more casual in appearance. These days the “blue-door bar” is a little fancier, but everyone still likes a little french and I am not talking about the champagne.
The El Patio on Westheimer has a lot to offer other than it’s tasty Tex-Mex menu. When you walk in the front door patrons will notice another door to their right. On the door it says “No Minors”, and they mean it. It may not be entirely hidden, per se, but it has a reputation for blue margarita’s that can knock you off your feet. These drinks are not for minors and also, not for the beginner drinker. Lucky for their guests there is plenty of queso to coat your belly.
This little wine bar hidden in the Rice Village area is often overlooked by people headed to the more active shops only a short distance away. However, Simone on Sunset has one of the best wine selections and eclectic live music performances of any place in Houston. This time of year the smart courtyard gives great ambiance for those that can find this place.Try the smoked-duck pizza, you won’t regret it.
Barcode is a gay bar in Montrose that isn’t so much secret as it is hidden. Most people visiting the neighborhood for the first time will stop by the more popular JR’s or the soon to be reopened South Beach. But if you walk just past the parking lots, before you get to the Hamburger Mary’s complex, you’ll find a small, rainbow painted bar known for its exceptional drag and controversial history. This place has been known to attract former local politicians who were not outwardly friendly to the LGBTQ community despite visiting our establishments. THE DRAMA!