Houston: More Hipster-Friendly than Salt Lake City and Dallas, at Least

Categories: Spaced City

hipsterlyric.jpg
Photo illustration by Monica Fuentes
Houston: Home of this hipster OG but mercifully few others.
Earlier this month Travel and Leisure asked their readers to rank 35 American cities on the quantity and quality of their live music scenes, coffeehouses, microbrews and independent boutiques. They also asked their readers to quantify more ineffable qualities such as the quirkiness of a city and how offbeat the locals are.

It will come as no surprise to hipsterologists that Seattle and Portland came in one-two at the tippy-top.

Nor will it shock Texans to find Austin at the head of the quartet of Texas cities ranked. The capital cracked the top ten, coming in at number seven between such well-known hipster burgs as Providence, Rhode Island, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

After Austin and before we arrive in our own fair metropolis, a cavalcade of cities follows, including Nashville, San Diego, Las Vegas, Baltimore and Honolulu. And there's H-Town at number 26, just ahead of Anchorage and Miami.

Here's what the writer had to say about us....

Like many cities, Houston gives nicknames to its trendy neighborhoods. Case in point: LoWe, short for Lower Westheimer, where you can hang out at Mediterranean-themed coffee shop Agora, dive lounge Catbirds, or El Real Tex-Mex within a historic 1930s theater. Houston also has two seemingly incompatible draws, according to readers: it ranked well for both luxury shopping and for being affordable.

LoWe? LoWe? Ooh-wee. The first person who utters that abomination in my presence will be force-fed a supermarket Antone's po' boy. And that's a fact, Jack.

On the other hand, T&L readers found us not all that offbeat and somehow ranked us less diverse than New Orleans, Santa Fe and Las Vegas. They must not have been privy to that Rice report that ranked us number one in the nation.

San Antonio came in at #30, and most amusingly, "tragically mainstream" Dallas came in dead last, behind Mickey Mouse squaresvilles like Orlando and Salt Lake City.

To be fair to DFW, just making the list is an achievement of sorts: The list pretty much ignores the Rust Belt entirely. Those once-brawny, now-gothic metros like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cleveland, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Detroit were not mentioned at all.

Or is making this list an achievement at all?

As the epitome of hipsterdom, the article cites some pretentious Seattle microbrew that comes in an old-timey can that requires an antiquated church-key can opener. And you thought Portlandia stretched its case....

In the end, hipsterdom is all about insecurity, adhering to a precious, alternate middle-class mainstream that remains, nonetheless, a middle-class mainstream, one that is often even more tyrannical in its fashion codes and etiquette do's and don't's.

So in the end, we won't be losing any sleep over this list. The Texas cities at least seem to be ranked in the correct order, and we enjoy living in a town that doesn't give a crap about Edwardian facial hair, just-so scarves, Day-Glo shades and unopenable beers.

This city would rather smile than smirk and we like it like that.


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31 comments
Ryan Supak
Ryan Supak

I'm not sure, 25 or 50 years from now, that any city will be proud of having been known as a "hipster city". "Hipster", in the sense of the word that the media has embraced as the ideal to aspire to, is essentially a fancy word for "white, educated, affluent, and segregated."

I don't know exactly what's coming next or whether it's an entirely good thing, but I suspect the future looks more like Houston and San Antonio than Portland or Austin.rs

Rich HB
Rich HB

"LoWe"--sounds like a urinary tract infection!  Having worked and/or lived in Montrose for most of my adult life, I figure only some kind of consultant from, oh say,  Dallas could have come up with that.  Like Lomax, I too remember KLOL always calling out "Broadcasting Live from Beautiful Crime Free Montrose.  A neighborhood can quite possibly be defined by what folks call it, not my by trendy new street signs (are you listening people who dreamed up "Upper Kirby" and "Greater Sharpstown."  Case to point, a club I owned in the 90's that was a block off of Montrose Blvd. had "Montrose, Texas" on the letter head and t-shirts.  No local ever asked me what I meant by that.  Try putting "LoWe" on a t-shirt and selling it.

Drozy
Drozy

Hipsters are silly, superficial, childish people.

Fandangus
Fandangus

A hipster is typically a grown bitch. That's a level above your average bitch. A grown bitch has experience.

But yeah, hipsters mostly need the shit slapped out of them.

Dudley "Booger" Dawson
Dudley "Booger" Dawson

If I could I would turn the lying panhandlers in the city into CHUDs so they could eat those damned hipsters. 

GT
GT

Houston puts up with a lot of shit, including hipsters.

Jamie
Jamie

As a former resident, I'm not sure how I feel about Portland, ME reaching #5 on this list. It was nowhere near a hipster mecca when I lived there.

No
No

Vefu!

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

 Same goes for Nashville in my case. And I've never lived in Memphis but the hipster quotient zeemed about zero there in 1995.

Wyatt
Wyatt

East Nashville is pretty hipster.

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

I lived adjacent to Shelby Park from about 1990 to 1992 and I can assure you it was anything but hip back then.

Formica
Formica

"LoWe"?!

That's VeFu.

(You know, "very funny", among us hipsters.)

(Ok, maybe I just made that up.)

I still get irritated by "The Montrose." It's Montrose, people.Unless you also like to say, The Bellaire, The Memorial, and The Katy, in which case, be my guest.

Anyway, great article, Mr. Lomax. I laughed even more than at the original T&L list. (Apparently, microbrews, coffee shops, and anything considered "techie" makes you a hipster magnet, since most every city on the list had at least 2 out of 3.)

Rich HB
Rich HB

Well, you educators are known for a fondness of acronyms...VeFu!

Dwilkinson
Dwilkinson

I actually do know a few folks that refer to Montrose as "the 'trose"

Fandangus
Fandangus

If I heard someone say that, I would probably bitch slap them. Them and people who call pizza "'za" or vacation "vaycay."

Formica
Formica

Ha!Do they also say that they live in "the 'ston" (our city in "the 'xas")?

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

Seems like people have been calling it "the Montrose" since the '80s, at least. And I remember KLOL DJs always called it "the crime-free Montrose" back when I was in high school. (1984-88)

Elton76
Elton76

This naming stuff (EaDo, LoWe, the 'trose, etc) drives me nuts and really betrays a lack of connectedness and desire for a real neighborhood scene. It's weird. And just a hunch: most of these moniker-tossers don't even know their neighbors. They never borrow sugar or vanilla or ask their neighbors to watch their homes while away on vacation etc.

Makes me miss my hood. I could write a book about about each family living on the same block. Maybe the high transience nowadays?

John Lomax
John Lomax

I thought "VeFu" was short for "verily fucked."

Evan
Evan

All real hipsters live in Kyle, South Dakota. Its pretty obscure, you probably haven't heard of it. 

JoeyBill
JoeyBill

Oh I was there a while back, it's gotten kind of commercial now. I mean, it's cool if that's your thing. But... well...

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

That would be so funny if there were some terrible little town where all the trillest of the trill hipsters lived.

Robert Boyd
Robert Boyd

"So in the end, we won't be losing any sleep over this list"

Then why'd you write a whole article about it?

Craigley
Craigley

Then why are there so many hipsters here?  The ugly single speed bike crowd alone numbers in the 1,000s.

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

You should see Boulder.

Craigley
Craigley

Yes but they got 420 going for them.  They get a pass from me in Boulder ;-0

Blake
Blake

Like that last line, Lomax.

As I said earlier, this list places Savannah ahead of New York on its shitty hipster matrix. Savannah is nice, but what the hell?

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

Staten Island and The Bronx cancel out Williamsburg and Park Slope, I guess.

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