Houston's Top 5 Lounges
Two or three years ago, Leon's became one of my favorite spots in downtown. Whether you're looking to chat with a small but lively crowd or take a load off after a show around the corner at Warehouse Live or House of Blues, Leon's is always a good call. A number of local DJs, including some of the Press' own staff, is oft known to spin some vinyl throughout the week, so stop in, try a new cocktail or beer and listen to some good tunes.
1006 McGowen, 713-659-5366, www.leonslounge.net
1. BIG TOP LOUNGE
Best of Houston winner, 2012
The Big Top's circus-themed decor always makes it seem a little like a Fellini movie. First of all, it's dark enough that you almost need to strike a match to see your drink, like every great lounge should be. There's also something a little surreal about nursing a cold one or cocktail surrounded by multiple Elvis portraits, Christmas lights, tabletop video games, an ancient beer-can collection, an old shoeshine stand (once used by the late Shoeshine Charley himself) and all kinds of other kitschy memorabilia.
But besides the decor -- yes, and the drinks -- the Big Top is also home to some of the coolest recurring musical events in town, from the Reverberation and Fistful of Soul DJ nights to Gulf Coast soul quartet Umbrella Man's Thursday-night residency.
3700 Main, 713-529-9899, www.bigtoplounge.com
1221 W. 11th St., Houston, TX