Best Of The Rest: Houston's Top 6 Washington Avenue Bars

Categories: Best of Houston

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The Washington Avenue corridor is fascinating if not for the simple fact that its very existence for the last few years has ignited a firestorm of opinions about its worthiness as Houston's king of party scenes. Last year, Houston Press writers Craig Hlavaty, Shea Serrano and Mike Gigilio did an incredible job of capturing the mixbag of experiences and perspectives of the Washington corridor. There's little argument that Washington will one day follow Midtown, Downtown and Richmond Avenue into Houston nightlife's hall of fame.

But it's not there yet.

What you'll find today is still a bustling strip of bar and club establishments that cater to hard partying early and mid-20s folk and early-30s hip professionals who live it up to the fullest on the weekend, but don't mind squeezing in a club version of bingo on a Tuesday at Sawyer Park. The crowds are fit, attractive and social and they know how to have a good time.

Liberty Station took Best Washington Avenue Bar in 2011. Here's the Best of the Rest.

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6. Benjy's: Benjy's upstairs bar is a classy establishment and takes on a very different personality than its counterparts down the street. This nicely lit room, by almost church-like light fixtures, gives off a retro feel with its loud 1970s color-scheme wallpaper.

Tables for two line the walls with couples feeding off the downstairs restaurant. It's big enough to breathe, but small enough for a very intimate feel. The atmosphere offers more of a professional setting and caters to a more mature crowd.

Loosened ties, Tommy Bahama shirts and pink Polo's sprinkle the place representing a slightly older crowd than what you'll find in other parts of Washington. With music like Bag Raider's "Sunlight" and Shit Robot's "Take 'Em Up" playing at just a high enough volume to still have a conversation, any stuffiness is evaporated out of the room. Benjy's strikes a great balance of coolness, style and sophistication. 5922 Washington, 713-868-1131Web site


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5. Porch Swing Pub: This neighborhood bar carved out of the tree trunk of good ole Americana has all the spirit of a Sunday afternoon backyard crawfish boil. It exudes unpretentious.

Bartenders David and Joel, with their "boy next door" looks, are shadowed by photos of hunting and deep-sea fishing trips and you'll even find a few wedding photos next to the random wall art. A diversity of music from the ultra cool, spacey and futuristic juke box shoots out anything from UGK's "I Choose You" to Vampire Weekend's "Giving Up The Gun," which is proof that the crowd knows how to choose its music.

Blondes mouth the lyrics to Drake cuts and no complaints were apparent when a few screwed-down tracks made the playlist. Houston was recently rated the most diverse city in America and Porch Swing Pub during a Thursday happy hour reflects that claim.

You'll have to fight for porch space but air conditioning and fast acting bartenders inside aren't a bad Plan B. Work the pool sticks, throw some darts, and watch out, or be thankful, for the very friendly bar back as he'll point out to you where all the pretty ladies are congregating. Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest. 69 Heights Blvd., 713-880-8700, Web site


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4. Roosevelt: If you interpret hiked-up skirts and glittered shirts as douchebaggery, this isn't for you. If you're in your element amongst dragon-infused clothing and lots of exposed skin, this is home.

Roosevelt is extremely nice on the eyes. This elegantly and beautifully constructed bar/club hybrid, with its impressive variety of recipes for martinis, cosmopolitans, twisted lemonades and mojitos, boasts one of the best dance DJs in the city. Its low ceilings, darkly lit atmosphere and cubbyhole VIP areas, complemented by a hard-hitting sound system, gives way to an anything-goes atmosphere.

Women can heavily outnumber men, and that's always a perfect formula for the one who likes to hunt and the one who likes to be hunted. Let the hunger games begin. Roosevelt is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 5219 Washington, 713-869-8779 Web site


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20 comments
The Wave
The Wave

The best thing about Washington is that The Wave can take you to all 6 and any others you prefer. They can then take people to Midtown, Heights, Galleria, Rice Village, Downtown & Montrose. 

White Lightnin'
White Lightnin'

"Early 30s hip professionals"? Wow, that's using 'hip' with a very wide latitude. I'm gonna have to ponder that a while.

Anse
Anse

Isn't Roosevelt Lounge the one run by bigots? And you guys call them one of the "best"?!

vernon2011
vernon2011

Funny how that works, guess no one cares.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Yup, the very same bar covered in these pages is one of the best. I guess it is for certain types of people.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

Make room on this list for Patio Pub and Level 3, the two new creations from the entrepreneurs who brought us Treasures and Gold Cup.  That's right ladies and gents, now the working girls will be more easily identifiable!  Coming soon to Washington Ave! 

Jenipher55
Jenipher55

 wow way to keep Washington classy... remind me to find a job off Washington ave as soon as this happens....

KING
KING

The fuck is this shit, b?

me
me

It's amazing how much Washington Ave. has changed. I live in Spring, so never came down that often. I recently got a job in the area and was amazed at the change. Back in the days, the only time we came down to Washington Ave was to check out a show at "The Vatican". Ah, good times, good times. 

control freak
control freak

the best REAL "bar" on Washington is Darkhorse Tavern, but it's at the un-hip end of the street. Which is a good thing.

and no love for Dubliner? it's a dump, but that's why it's good.

Duce630
Duce630

Didn't Dubliner close?

Craigley
Craigley

Dubliner smells like vomit.  And if you ready the interview with their bartender you'll understand why.

Thraeryn
Thraeryn

When you combined "Vampire Weekend" with "knows how to choose the music", it was time to stop reading.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Most def. If that's not a red flag, I don't know whag is.

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