Restaurant/wine bar/lounge recommendations for two gal pals in Houston, Tx on a Saturday afternoon?
April 5, 2012 11:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm visiting Houston, TX this Saturday to reconnect with a childhood friend & need specific recommendations for places for food & drink. She's casual t-shirt & jeans, hates overpriced food, & likes dive bars while I'm more dressy, into the latest food fads, & prefer wine bars. Is there a place in Houston that would appeal to us both?

More requirements:
1. We're meeting around 4:30pm on Saturday & will probably spend a couple of hours eating, drinking & chatting. If the place is near some other bars or art galleries & shops that we can go to afterwards, that'll be a definite plus.
2. The place should not require reservations or have a dress code.
3. Somewhere in one of these neighborhoods would be nice: Montrose, The Heights, Rice Village, Midtown, Upper Kirby, or The Galleria.

Thanks in advance. :)
posted by lychee to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a fan of The Hobbit Cafe. Tasty food, although may not have been trendy since 1974...
posted by Mad_Carew at 12:41 AM on April 6, 2012

Keep in mind that the The Hobbit Cafe is pretty dumpy and does not have a full bar. I'd recommend Onion Creek in the Heights or even better, and my Houston-residing parents' favorite, Bar Boheme in Montrose. If you don't like it, there are tons of other nearby places whereas Onion Creek is further from everything else.
posted by halogen at 12:48 AM on April 6, 2012

Baba Yega (reviews: Yelp Urbanspoon Google) on Grant Street, smack dab in the heart of the Montrose. It's probably closer to what your friend is looking for but I don't think it's so far off what you want that you'd be disappointed.

Great people watching, get a table on their patio, under that huge live oak, really nice this time of year. It's not some high-toned, high-falutin' joint, more a relaxed Houston place with pretty good food, festive wait staff, happy customers.

And they've got all kinds of really good, healthy options but also they serve the best cheeseburger -- bleu cheese or cheddar -- and chips in Houston, about as big as a tuba; it's a life-changer.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:51 AM on April 6, 2012

If you like cocktails, look no further than Anvil.
posted by slkinsey at 5:08 AM on April 6, 2012

Coco's Crepes in Midtown! I live right there and everyone loves it. Affordable crepes, bring your own wine (preferably during evenings), no dress code, tons of great people watching (especially on the weekend).

Midtown is close to the Museum District and the bars are within walking distance (Front Porch Pub is across the road from Coco's). I don't believe there's much shopping in the area though.

Montrose might be more up your alley but I don't get out there much.

Enjoy your stay in Houston! The weather is fantastic.
posted by the_ancient_mariner at 5:11 AM on April 6, 2012

Love Anvil, but it is pretty hipstery and crowded. Hard to have a "catch-up" conversation there at many times.

Beaver's Ice House in the Washington corridor. It is, well, an old neighborhood ice house transformed into a kind of hipster BBQ joint. Basic meat-eater food with enough gourmet twists to keep foodies engaged. The plus is that their bar has some serious mixology cred. Best cocktails you'll ever have on a picnic table (if you decide to sit outside. The waitstaff wears tshirts that says "Beaver's. Just south of Hooters." Order the Beaver Balls for dessert. Just do it

In the Heights, Zelko Bistro is your place. They're casual, take no reservations and the menu features comfort food like root-beer braised short ribs and captain crunch encrusted chicken.

Also check out Reef and Tafia in Mid-town. A little pricier but no dress code. All good food.
posted by cross_impact at 5:15 AM on April 6, 2012

Cedar Creek in the Heights has a wonderful porch (weather is lovely in Houston right now), and solid food, although not fancy or trendy. It's owned by the same group as Onion Creek, mentioned above. It is a great place for people watching and you can definitely spend several hours hanging out and enjoying the company. Also, dear husband requires me to tell you that the beer is cheap. Not within walking distance to any other shopping or bars though.

Cross_impact's suggestion of Zelko Bistro is a wonderful place, although they get pretty busy on the weekends, so it might be a little tough to linger. I think there are some other bars along that stretch of the road, or if not you could move down to White Oak Dr just a few blocks south.

If she drinks any wine, the Tasting Room in Uptown Park (near the Galleria) is fun, has a beautiful patio, and is a wonderful place to linger. I have spent multiple hours parked on the patio on a Saturday afternoon there before. Food there is a combination of small plates, sandwiches and pizzas. Then there are some other places within Uptown Park you could walk around to.

In Rice Village, I like the Gingerman for drinking (also has nice patio) but I am coming up short on any restaurants that would meet your criteria in the area.
posted by pallas14 at 5:51 AM on April 6, 2012

I'd try a gastropub -- there is one in the Heights within walking distance to the shops on 19th Street called Down House. No reservations, no dress code, foodie food, Charles Darwin-themed in a former bank. Other bars close, but not within walking distance: Big Star (dive), Alice's Tall Texan (dive), El Gran Malo (dive specializing in infused tequila with yummy food).
posted by *s at 7:27 AM on April 6, 2012

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