The 5 Best Happy Hours in Downtown Houston

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Photo by Troy Fields
Refreshing cocktails at Batanga don't disappoint.
If you love happy hour as much as we do, you'll love this new series. We're taking a look at the best happy hours in town, 'hood by 'hood. To narrow it down, we're focusing on the spots with the best deals on not only drinks, but eats, too. From upscale eateries serving bar bites and half-priced wine to dives with cheap beer and burgers, we've got it all. See the complete list at the end of this post

This week, we're moving on to the finest bars and restaurants in Houston's downtown.

Honorable Mention: Bar bites at Morton's and $4 weekday HH at Vinoteca Quattro.


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Your Guide to the Best Sunday Football Specials in Houston

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Photo by Brooke Viggiano
Beer Market Co. has plenty of screens and even more beer to keep you happy.
Football is back and we couldn't be more thrilled! Here's to a great season, especially for the Texans (but also for some other players because at the time of publication we have not yet had our Fantasy Football draft so we really don't know who we want to do well yet).

That being said, we plan on getting our Sunday Funday on regardless of who's playing. And you should, too. From giant projection screens and killer audio systems to TD shots and beer towers, check out this list of sports bars with some of the best TV setups/ Sunday football specials in town:


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The Most Underrated Fried Chicken in Houston...According to You

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Photo by Robb Walsh
Barbecue Inn's is known for its cooked-to-order fried chicken.
Texas is known for its juicy barbecue, sensational Tex-Mex and oh so yummy comfort cuisine. But, it's also known for good old Southern food, and to us that means fried chicken.

It's a staple at picnic lunches or church potluck meals. The crispy, crunchy buttermilk coating around tender, juicy chicken meat is an undeniable combination. Smother it in white gravy, dunk in ketchup or barbecue sauce, or eat it in its state of perfection. Houston is blessed with a bountiful amount of fried chicken eateries and local restaurants serving up dishes showcasing the deep-fried Southern specialty.

We all know that if you want a solid bucket of fried chicken, you go to Frenchy's. Heck, you can even go to KFC and walk away a happy camper. But, there's also the Rice Box Truck where the fried chicken is served with an egg roll, and new-kid-on-the block Funky Chicken is making a name for itself with its choice of slow roasted or crispy fried chicken.

And who could forget Food & Wine ranking Barbecue Inn's fried chicken as one of the best in America? The cooked-to-order fried chicken has a crust that never falls off of the tender white meat, so each bite is laced with the beautiful golden crust.

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The 5 Best Washington Corridor Happy Hours

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Photo by Troy Fields
Cozy up to Coppa's bar for happy hour treats like no other.
If you love happy hour as much as we do, you'll love this new series. We're taking a look at the best happy hours in town, 'hood by 'hood. To narrow it down, we're focusing on the spots with the best deals on not only drinks, but eats, too. From upscale eateries serving bar bites and half-priced wine to dives with cheap beer and burgers, we've got it all. See the complete list at the end of this post

This week, we're taking a look at the bars and restos in Washington Corridor.

Note: For purposes of this post, the Washington Corridor is defined as the strip of Washington running from Westcott to Houston, with a few blocks north or south on either side.

Honorable Mention: $2 off wines and beers by the glass and mid-day bites at BRC Gastropub; drink specials and burger and steak nights at Winston on Washington's dog-friendly patio; and half-priced apps at J. Black's.


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The 5 Best Happy Hours in Montrose

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Photo by Troy Fields
Grab a seat at Eleven Eleven's bar or patio for happy hour cocktails.
If you love happy hour as much as we do, you'll love this new series. We're taking a look at the best happy hours in town, 'hood by 'hood. To narrow it down, we're focusing on the spots with the best deals on not only drinks, but eats, too. From upscale eateries serving bar bites and half-priced wine to dives with cheap beer and burgers, we've got it all.

First up: Montrose.

Note: For the purposes of this list, Montrose is defined as the area west of Taft, south of Allen Parkway, east of Shepherd, and north of 59. Since many of the neighborhoods cross over each other, you may see some of your favorites on another list.

Honorable Mention: $3 selects and reverse happy hour at The Hay Merchant; $3 margs and $5 apps at Pistolero's; and the early bird happy hour at Lowbrow (food specials until 2 p.m.; drink specials until 6:30 p.m.).

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Houston Restaurant Weeks: Tony's

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Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
After taking last year off, Tony's is back for Houston Restaurant Weeks.
What they're up to for Houston Restaurant Weeks: Three-course dinner for $45, including bread and amuse bouche. Some dishes require a supplementary fee. Tony's will donate $7 to the Houston Food Bank for every dinner sold.

Service/Atmosphere: Tony's Restaurant set the standard for fine dining service years ago, so it's no surprise that when you walk in, you're greeted by Tony Vallone's wife, Donna, and later by Vallone himself. Though Tony's recently underwent a small facelift, adding a mural and re-doing the floor in the bar, the atmosphere is still a little stuffy as befits the mostly older clientele, but the staff, like sommelier Scott Banks, will tailor their service to your level of ease and relaxation. The food comes out swiftly, and should you want it, there's always wine available to pair with any given course.

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The Most Underrated Greasy Spoon in Houston...According to You

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Photo by Gina Pina
House of Pies: Always a classic.
Ah, the old-fashioned American diner.

The place where the servers wear uniforms with tarnished gold name tags, the coffee tastes like city tap water and the food is nothing, if not predictable. It's been the same since man first walked on the moon, and it sure ain't gonna change any time soon.

Alternately called the "greasy spoon," the classic American diner is known for cheap eats--often with little nutritional value--served with a smile and blue plate specials featuring regional cuisine like chicken fried steak or migas with extra oily cheese on top.

Here in Houston, a city mostly unconcerned with health food and haute cuisine, our greasy spoons are some of the longest-lasting culinary institutions. From House of Pies to Dot Coffee Shop, these are the places that feel like home.

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Houston Restaurant Weeks Announces Participating Eateries and Menus

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Photo courtesy HRW
It's the best time of the year for many Houstonians -- Houston Restaurant Weeks!

From August 1 through September 1, Houston restaurants will prepare special multi-course menus that show off some of their best and most popular dishes for a low, fixed price. People wait all year to try out new restaurants during HRW because they know they'll be getting a great value and a portion of the money they spend will be donated to the Houston Food Bank.

Last year, Houston Restaurant Weeks raised more than $1.2 million for the food bank, while the estimated economic impact on the greater Houston area was more than $13 million. It's turned what used to be a slow month for restaurants into one of the busiest months of the year.

The dates for this year's event were announced last month, and just yesterday, HRW revealed the restaurant lineup for 2014.

Get ready, guys. It's gonna be delicious.

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Free Eats in Houston for the Enterprising Souls Among You

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Photo by Catherine Gillespie
Food Samples from H-E-B.

It is tough to complain about the cost of living in Houston. Housing is fairly affordable and there is usually a food truck around the corner willing to sell you a filling taco dinner for $5 or less.

That being said, there are always those days when a meal out -- any meal out anywhere -- is out of your budgetary league. And that's where we step in. It is possible to fill yourself up here (and not by asking your more generous dates or friends to treat) for free. Eating out without your wallet can be a fun exercise too, but especially at the bars we recommend bringing a friend who might actually buy something or leaving before a half-hour is up.

If you have a membership, Costco or Sam's Club should be your first stop. I started my culinary scavenger hunt at the Costco on Richmond, where the portions -- though still served in Dixie cups -- are more generous than at your neighborhood grocery. The range is also staggering. There are food stands around the store promoting everything from frozen empanadas to lemon meringue cookies. I challenge you to make yourself a three-course meal.

This story continues on the next page.


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Eat and Drink Your Tax Day Woes Away With These Offers

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Photo courtesy Boston Market
Winner, winner chicken dinner on Tax Day!
In the United States, April 15 ranks up there as one of the worst days of the year. Tax Day. The day by which everyone must file their individual income tax returns to the federal government. Bye bye, money.

In an effort to lessen the blow, many businesses offer freebies or discounts on and around April 15. They're all chain restaurants, of course, but every little bit helps, right?

Now who wants a cookie?

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