The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Neighborhood Bars
For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows you have a drinking problem and doesn't constantly tell you that you need to go to therapy and/or church.
Here it is, the day after Christmas. Hope you got everything you wanted.
If you didn't, though, don't fret. You can always get yourself the present of a nice pint of beer down t' pub. If you need to escape the family for a little while to catch up with friends in town for the holidays or you just want to drink something other than eggnog, we're here for you with our list of the Top 10 neighborhood bars.
They may not be Cheers, but they're all pretty damn close.
10. Boondoggle's Pub
Photo by Abrahan Garza
Clear Lake and Seabrook have dozens of great seaside bars, but it's Boondoggle's Pub we find ourselves frequenting most often down south. It may not offer the great views of some Clear Lake pubs, but this one has the advantage of looking and feeling like an authentic English pub in its own, odd way. It also has the advantage of offering some truly tasty food, like its pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven -- a damn sight better than the Totino's pizza rolls offered by most bars.
There is nothing Shakespearean about the pub itself, save for the scattered murals and posters left over from the days when it was owned by a local high school English teacher. These days, Shakespeare is more about live blues and zydeco music in the evenings and football games during the day. (Yes, Glen, people do bring slow cookers up here and share the food with each other. That's what makes it a neighborhood bar.)
8. Marquis II
This classic West University joint would have been higher on the list were it not for the fact that it recently cleaned itself up and is now attempting to look semi-respectable. And although the City of West University has not banned smoking in bars like Houston has, the Marquis has. That's right -- after decades of smoke-saturated carpets and overturned ashtrays at the bar, there is now no smoking allowed inside the Marquis. Oh well; at least the Long Island Iced Teas are still
If the Marquis II is "old" West University, then Cecil's is old Montrose all the way (even if it was founded in not-yet-that-old-maybe 1985). The interior has likely never seen the light of day in the 25 years it's been open, and the dimly lit bar only further encourages you to get lost in Cecil's warm, dark, hazy confines. Monday nights (that's tonight, folks) offer $1 well drinks and often draw huge neighborhood crowds as a result, when area residents walk over and stumble home much later.
6. The Poop Deck
Photo by Brittanie Shey Scooters and bikes outside The Poop Deck.
The Poop Deck is the neighborhood bar for all of Galveston Island, with a bawdy and laid-back atmosphere that mimics the island itself. Whereas Cecil's jukebox, for example, is stocked with punk rock and blues, the jukebox here is filled with classic rock hits for the Hawaiian shirt-clad baby boomers that pack the patios.