Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Bars of 2013

This is a picture from Houston's best bar. But where is it?
Houston has dozens of bars that are not also something else (restaurants, coffeehouses, etc.), just places designed for people to who want to shirk their responsibilities while someone else plots to take over the world at the next stool, and the couple at the table in the back is on their first date of a lifelong love affair. Or something like that.

As the year draws to a close, Rocks Off grew curious about which of this city's multitude of watering holes could really be called the best, so recently we asked our regular contributors (some 15 people in all) to give us the handful of places they most enjoyed spending a night out drinking. They didn't even have to tell us why, but these are the ten places whose names came up most often.

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Houston's 10 Best-Sounding Music Venues

Categories: Best of Houston

Photo by Jeff Balke
Sound makes a difference.
Listening is not necessarily the strong suit of Houstonians who frequent live-music venues. But for those who do choose to silence themselves and their phones for live performances (or those drowned out by the sound system), there are certain places around town that are built for great sound. These venues, be they large or small, find ways -- either through acoustics, great sound systems or both -- to generate sounds that are pleasing to the ears even if the bands aren't.

On this list, we have purposefully left off the big venues like Cynthia Woods or Toyota Center. So many of these larger venues are not built for sound and what fans do hear is largely reliant upon the sound engineer and system provided by the touring artist, it is unfair to include them here. Suffice it to say big traveling acts rarely sound bad, but that is not always the case with locals, so having great venues is even more of a blessing when you can't afford a great sound guy or PA system.

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Houston's Top 10 Hookup Bars

As does our sister blog Eating...Our Words, from time to time Rocks Off will be giving your our picks for the top taverns in various Houston-area neighborhoods. Of course, the lines can be porous, but here anything with a TABC license that cannot reasonably be considered either a restaurant, coffeehouse or live-music venue is fair game.

You guys can just call me this weekend's wing-woman. Don't say I never gave ya anything...

notsuoH is still unabashedly quirky, full of artsy folks, cheap beer, and crazy indie bands cranking out some sweet tunes. Its eclectic nature and the patrons' chill vibe creates the perfect setting to snag that random weekend hookup with no apologies. Just don't pull any bro stuff (please), or you're bound to unseal the deal.

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The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Concert Venues

Photo by Marc Brubaker
Arcade Fire at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 2011
As the Houston Press doffs our kudos cap to local institutions great and small in the Best of HoustonĀ® 2013 awards, all through October each of our four blogs will be looking beyond the winners of selected categories in a series we like to call "The Rest of the Best." Rocks Off happened to draw Fridays, when music is on many people's minds as they ponder their weekend plans, so we figured we'd start with a pretty big one: the places where all this music we cover almost nightly actually happens.

The editor asked each Rocks Off regular contributors to come up with a Top 5 list of local venues, in order, and added up the scores. For the record, 30 different venues across our sprawling metropolis drew at least one vote, but these are (drum roll)... the rest of the best.

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The 2013 Houston Press Best of Houston Readers' Poll: Vote Now for the Best in Houston Music and Nightlife!

Categories: Best of Houston

For 25 years we at the Houston Press have been hitting the streets to visit local businesses in search of the Best of Houston. Our October 10 issue will reveal our picks for the best Houston has to offer in entertainment, dining, shopping, and more. We're pretty excited to share our picks with you.

We're also excited to find out what you think the Best of Houston is, which is why we're putting up this reminder to go vote in the 2013 Best of Houston Readers' Poll. Let us know what your favorite Houston spots are in a variety of categories including Best Concert Venue, Best Dance Club, Best Jukebox and more. The Readers' Poll closes at 11:59 p.m. on September 22, 2013.

We know Houston rules. You know Houston rules. The country and the world are learning that Houston rules. Let's show them the best we have to offer. Vote now!

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Houston's Top 10 Saddest Songs

Categories: Best of Houston

I love sad music. Sit me down with a bottle of something only someone that has given up on life would drink and an appropriate soundtrack and I am just as happy as I can be. That's just the way I roll.

In general, Houston does not produce a lot of sad music. We're more of an upbeat bunch that puts a premium on enthusiastic live performance. It's rare to find something recorded here that really opens up the windows of the soul and lets the dark pour in.

Luckily for you, I happen to have heard most of it. So sit back, kick back, and make sure that all firearms and sharp objects have been stowed beyond your reach because we're going to keep things dismal as hell from here on out.

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Houston's 10 Hottest Female Singers

Categories: Best of Houston

Lately I have had the pleasure of reporting on a lot of our city's female front women, and let me tell you something; they are a good-looking bunch. We don't just grow good sets of pipes in Houston, we make sure the packaging is first rate as well. Today we look at a few of the best looking girls onstage that you can catch in the clubs.

Oh, and just a note, every single one of the girls listed here is a first-rate musician with tremendous talent. We are not in any way trying to objectify them. We're just saying that there is more than one upside to seeing them live.

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Good, Better, Best: Grab the Faster, Sleeker Houston Press Best Of App Today

Categories: Best of Houston

Want to know where to go and what to do in Houston? Your essential mobile guide -- also known as our Best Of app -- just got better. You already know you can count on the Best Of app to offer restaurant, shopping and nightlife recommendations from Houston Press' expert critics. Now the app has been redesigned to be faster, sleeker, and packed with even more carefully curated local content. Not only can you find the best burger or martini in town, you can scan critics' picks and other recommended options in those and dozens of other categories. And now that we've combined our Best Of database with our comprehensive local listings, you can always find something nearby. Wherever you are in Houston, the Best Of app is your window to what's around you. It's fast, it's fun, and it's still free. Download it today.

A Look at the Music Side of the 2013 Houston Web Awards


Now that the winners of the 2013 Houston Web Awards are out of the bag, we'd like to take a minute to point out why we're so darn enamored with our music-centric winners.

From the Wild Moccasins and their retro-hip Facebook vibe to Shea Serrano's utterly ridiculous Twitter feed, these guys provide entertainment that is essential to our daily work-avoiding tactics. So for that, we thank you.

These tweeting, uploading, witty sons-of-guns are darn worthy of our Web Awards, and we're showing you why below. Prepare to be in awe of their skills.

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Houston's Top 10 Band Names

Categories: Best of Houston

names1 by Kendra Berglund.jpg
Photo by Kendra Berglund
Holy Fiction
For years now I have made a personal study of delving into the murky and sometimes macabre monikers our local bands have chosen. Now we shall have them compete for our pleasure.

Here are the ten best band names in the city.

10. Holy Fiction
Evan Lecker's spiraling, philosophical explanation behind the meaning of Holy Fiction is simply too much trouble to repeat. The gist of it is that holy fictions are basically stories cultures make up to illustrate the basic framework of their moral code and society. It's just the sort of sardonic, mocking thing Lecker does best.

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