Houston's Top 5 Lounges
5. WITCHCRAFT TAVERN
Formerly Dragon Bowl (and still under the same management), the brand-new Witchcraft Tavern has quite the selection of beer, and if you're feeling adventurous, try the Devil's Backbone. You might want to give your keys to a friend first.
To be completely honest, we do miss the Chinese food, but having another quaint, unassuming dive with great beer selection in the Heights seems like a fair trade. The new menu has a few bites, sandwiches and burgers for patrons to nibble on, and more food items are being added. In the meantime, try the flatbread. See Eating Our Words' recent look at Witchcraft as well.
1221 W. 11th, 832-649-3601, Facebook page
4. BIG STAR BAR
As you walk into Big Star for the first time, passing the regulars' motorcycles and classic cars parked just outside the door, you'll likely be a bit overwhelmed. To your right, a bustling bar with only one or two people tending to it; to your left, a television set and, occasionally, an animal or two accompanying its owner; and straight ahead, just before the vending machine, a couch and karaoke machine where pride is tossed aside in favor of fun.
Grab a drink, make your way outside and enjoy the lively company while you pet a few animals (with their owners' permission, of course). And don't worry, the giant net in the back is not going to fall on you. It's been there for a while now.
1005 W. 19th St., 281-501-9560, www.bigstarbar.com
3. ROSE GARDEN
Photo by Larami Culbertson Rose, in her rose garden in front of the Rose Garden
Everyone knows everyone else at the Rose Garden, but fear not. If you're new in town, to the neighborhood or are just looking for a new place to have a drink with a friend, the regulars here are both welcoming and engaging. Most of them have pretty interesting stories, too.
A big ol' pool table and a vintage juke box are the only amenities you'll find inside this Polish bar, but you still might have a little trouble getting around inside since it doesn't take much to pack this Heights-based, cash-only beer and wine dive. No worries, though; if you accidently bump shoulders with someone, chances are they'll turn around and introduce themselves. Get yourself (and your new friend) a cheap cold one and a hot dog.
2621 Link, 713-863-8027
1221 W. 11th St., Houston, TX