Pearl Lounge, the Laid-Back Utopia in Washington Ave's Chaos

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Photos by Angelica Leicht

'Oooh, here comes another one!"

Short skirts, tan legs and high heels are all over Washington Avenue this Friday night, and ladies sporting those accessories keep walking in here at a steady pace. But unlike at Nox or Hughes Hangar, for example, the time the skirts spend in Pearl Lounge (4216 Washington) is a bit more limited.

"Hey, here she comes! She's totally in the wrong place."

A pretty young couple, Liz and Terry, sit at the bar intensely watching for more patrons to stroll in the door. Those heels and skirts are a big indicator of who might be misplaced, and the couple has made a guessing game out of it.

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10. ALLEGRIA WINE BAR
At first glance, there's not much to see at Allegria Wine Bar. It's tucked away into a little shopping center off Highway 3, and seems like your typical wine bar. Luckily, a dark, ambient spot with an ample selection and a knowledgeable staff. The owner can often be found hanging out with the patrons, giving suggestions to the novices, and chatting about everything from the weather to various wine regions.

And even if you're staunchly anti-grape, you'll be welcome to hang out at this cozy little place. Allegria specializes in not only wines but also martinis, and boy, do they have a selection of both. But their signature martini, the Allegria 365, is our favorite, if you must steer clear of the vino. Although that would just be absurd.

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10. OUTLAW DAVE'S WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS
Veteran rock jocks like Outlaw Dave should know a thing or two about how to open a killer bar, and luckily the radio god doesn't let us down. Outlaw Dave's WWHQ on Wash Ave is an awesome place to rock out with your...beer out, so you get over your fear of bros and go sometime. Not only is the bar home to Kiki's Sordid Sideshow -- a titillating circus-themed burlesque troupe -- but it's also where you'll find Dave himself and assorted guests broadcasting his KPRC 950 AM radio show 5-8 p.m. weekdays (plus 7-9 p.m. Saturdays), since it's equipped with a studio. Beer, grub, rock, and Outlaw Dave. It's like your '90s wet-dream is coming to fruition, right?

6502 Washington, 713-862-3283, outlawnation.us

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10. ALICE'S TALL TEXAN
The Tall Texan is an interesting place: a true honky-tonk saloon smack dab in the middle of the city. It's everything we love about Texas, from the jukebox full of killer Texas tunes to the abundance of Lone Star and Shiner served in big glass goblets about the size of our state. Tall Texan, we salute you for doing Texas right all these years.

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10. THE CREOLE BAR AND GRILL
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10. CLUTCH CITY SQUIRE
How could we leave off a bar whose name so adeptly reps our city? We love how this Market Square bar makes such good use of Houston's nickname, and also how they've fancied it up a bit with "squire."


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10. JR'S BAR & GRILL
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10. VENUE HOUSTON
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10. REMINGTON BAR AT THE ST. REGIS
The plush, rich interiors of hotel bars are the perfect places to warm up on those frigid nights, and Remington Bar at St Regis is no exception. Its pretty little fireplace is the perfect place to warm your wintery bum up while sipping something fancy. If they make hot toddies, we'd like one for each hand.

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10. FIRKIN & PHOENIX PUB
Firkin & Phoenix is a great place to day-drink. Or late-morning drink, since it opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday for the pre-brunch crowd. Weekends are the best, with super-cheap deals on Bloody Marys, Bellinis, and Mimosas, but any day of day-drinking at Firkin is well worth it. There's always a game on, and between the pool tables, the jukebox, and the cold, cold beer, there's plenty to keep you entertained even if the rest of the world is still in bed.

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