The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 First Date Spots
There are a lot of ways to do a date right at CityCentre, but this trio is my favorite. Enjoy a glass of wine (and usually some live music) at The Tasting Room, then walk across the fountain-flanked lawn for dinner at Bistro Alex -- the chic little sister to Brennan's, featuring the same sort of classic Creole cuisine with a modern twist. Go ultra-lux after dinner in the adjoining Monnalisa bar, with a second-story swimming pool and deck that overlooks the entire CityCentre complex or stay cozy by the indoor fire pit. You can even make a staycation out of it by booking a room at the boutique-y Hotel Sorella.
As with Market Square, there's so much to do on the "Best Block in Houston" that you can make several dates out of this two-block stretch of Main Street in Midtown. Aside from the Ensemble Theatre, you can catch live shows at the Continental Club every night of the week -- plus, there's usually live music at Natachee's and Big Top Lounge on the weekends, too. Start out with coffee and/or cocktails at Tiki-themed Double Trouble, browse the record selection at Sig's Lagoon next door and walk across the street to eat dinner at Tacos a Go-Go (low-key), Julia's Bistro (mid-range) or Monica Pope's new restaurant, Sparrow (high-end). If you don't catch a show, finish off the evening with drinks at the sleek, surprisingly upscale Alley Kat lounge, which recently took the place of The Mink.
1. Down House
Photo by Troy Fields Kick back at Down House.
With the perfect mix of fancy and casual, this eatery/drinkery in the Heights is a dynamic spot to take a first date for caffeine, a laid-back lunch or a romantic dinner. Open daily from 9 a.m. to midnight, the cafe/restaurant/bar -- decked out with Victorian decor in some spots, modern industrial hip in others -- delivers with amazing coffee, salads and grass-fed Texas beef burgers, lots of local beers on tap and a no-joke cocktail list that includes barrel-aged Manhattans and bourbon mai tais. Predictably, it's often busy on weekend nights, but not enough of a zoo to make you change your plans. Plus, the spot is a good launching pad for the next bar, a movie or a show.
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