Sippin' in H-Town

We're crazy about Rich's. We heart JR's and Guava. Go-go boys, Lady Gaga and stiff drinks - what's not to love? But when we're looking for a detour off the yellow brick road of typical gay haunts, Houston doesn't disappoint. From a place to watch the big game (hey, you can butch it up) to a cozy spot with a great cocktail menu, check out this list of watering holes not on your gaydar.

One of our favorite spots to hang out these days is Axelrad. This beer garden straddling Third Ward and Midtown aims to shine a spotlight on Houston’s brew scene. The 2,000 square foot building still retains historic touches but with a few modern updates to welcome patrons to kick back and stay a while. Choose from a selection of wine and over 30 beers on tap then head to the garden, filled with indigenous plants and plenty of seating, or hammocks if the mood strikes. The bar also now serves cocktails! 

To the north in the Heights is a super laid back spot dubbed Onion Creek. Onion has a full bar and a bevvy of coffee selections. Tuesday is Dutch Beer Day and Wednesday is Steak Night with Texas beer specials all day. Need more? This is one of the only restaurants in the Heights with a kitchen open late, 1:30 a.m. to be exact. Nearby Cedar Creek offers its own mix of beverages and bites. 

How Civilized. What do we love about Anvil? In a word—sophistication. If you want a vodka tonic, go somewhere else. This place is for the true cocktail connoisseur. Here mixologists who know their craft blend the perfect Rum Old-Fashioned or mix up a refreshing Blueberry Smash (local blueberries, white rum, lemon, and love). Plus there's always at least a dozen interesting beers on tap you're unlikely to find elsewhere. And it all happens in a fun, classy lounge setting with low-slung chairs and tables arranged to invite inter-party conversation. Who knows who, er, what you'll pick up.

Get Fired Up. Foosball, a rockin' jukebox, and delectable bites are just a few of the things that make  Under the Volcano the perfect spot for happy hour...and later. Two patios (one on the front porch and a covered one out back) and cozy little nooks make this a fun gathering place for friends. Oh and let's not forget the drinks. The Strawberry Basil Margarita and the Frozen Screwdriver are each a thin slice of heaven.

Unity in Community. Don't be fooled by its Midtown location. You won't find a dance floor or a drunken college crowd at Community Bar. This quaint, friendly dive is all about being chill. A full bar with a fun menu is only outdone by an innovative and ever-changing food menu you wouldn't expect from a joint like this. Think potstickers in green curry and a rotation of gourmet tacos. Delish.

In recent years Downtown Houston has significantly upped its nightlife game. Bars including The Pastry War, OKRA Charity Saloon, Public Services Wine and Whisky and others are drawing crowds to the historic district. One longtime favorite is Dean's. Dean’s Credit Clothing was a department store that opened on Main Street in the 1930s. The bar followed decades later and became a no frills haven for artists and Downtown dwellers. Now, the resurgence of the Historic District has brought a new team to Dean’s. Inside you’ll find a warm space ruled by a beautiful, long wooden bar. Small seating groups and a little nook inside the old elevator in the back offer unique accents. 

Written by: A.J. Mistretta