Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, is known for its diverse culture, thriving arts scene, and, of course, the world-renowned Space Center. As the sun sets and the city lights up, Houston’s nightlife proves to be just as exciting and diverse.
From the bustling bars and clubs in the lively Midtown district to the more laid-back and intimate venues in the historic Heights, Houston offers a wide range of options for night owls to explore. With a mix of local favorites and hidden gems, the Houston nightlife scene caters to all tastes, guaranteeing a memorable evening for both locals and visitors alike.
Whether you’re in the mood for a casual drink at a craft brewery, dancing to live music at a honky-tonk, or experiencing the chic ambiance of a swanky cocktail bar, Houston has it all. With an ever-evolving nightlife landscape, the city keeps locals and visitors on their toes, ensuring there’s always a new experience waiting to be discovered.
In this guide, you’ll find detailed information on the best places to party, tips and advice for a safe and enjoyable night out, as well as an overview of the cost of partying in Houston. So, gather your friends, don your dancing shoes, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the vibrant and diverse world of Houston nightlife.
Where to Party in Houston
Houston’s nightlife is spread across several key areas, making it easy to hop from one venue to another. Here are some of the most popular districts to explore during your night out in Houston:
Midtown: This trendy district is home to a wide variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants. It’s the perfect spot for a lively evening, with numerous venues offering live music, DJs, and dancing.
Washington Avenue: Known for its energetic nightlife scene, Washington Avenue features numerous bars, clubs, and lounges that cater to a diverse crowd.
The Heights: This historic neighborhood offers a more relaxed atmosphere with its laid-back bars, craft breweries, and wine bars.
Montrose: This eclectic area is known for its vibrant arts scene and offers a diverse range of bars and clubs, catering to a more alternative crowd.
Downtown: Located in the heart of the city, this district is home to some of Houston’s most stylish and upscale nightlife venues.
Houston Nightlife Tips and Advice
Houston is generally a safe city, but like any urban area, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings and take common-sense precautions. Keep your belongings secure, and don’t leave your drink unattended.
The legal drinking age in Texas is 21, so be prepared to show ID if you look younger.
Tipping is customary in the United States, and it’s expected to tip your bartender or server 15-20% of your total bill.
Public transportation in Houston is available through buses and the METRORail system. However, the city is known for being car-centric, so you may find it more convenient to use a taxi or rideshare service for late-night transportation.
Most bars and clubs in Houston have a casual dress code, but some upscale venues may require a more polished look. When in doubt, opt for smart-casual attire.
Cost of Partying in Houston
Drinks: Expect to pay around $5-8 for a beer, $8-12 for a glass of wine, and $10-15 for a cocktail at most bars and clubs in Houston. Prices may be higher at more upscale venues.
Cover charges: Many nightclubs in Houston charge a cover fee, which typically ranges from $10-20. Some venues offer free entry on certain nights or before a specific time, so it’s worth checking their websites or social media for promotions.
Taxis and rideshares: Fares will vary depending on the distance and time of night, but you can generally expect to pay around $10-25 for a short ride within the city center. Be aware that fares may be higher during peak hours or special events.
Best Bars in Houston
1. Anvil Bar & Refuge
This popular cocktail bar is renowned for its extensive menu of classic and signature drinks. The skilled bartenders at Anvil take pride in crafting expertly balanced cocktails using high-quality spirits and fresh ingredients. The stylish, dimly-lit atmosphere makes it an excellent choice for a classy night out or a romantic rendezvous.
2. Eight Row Flint
Located in the historic Heights neighborhood, Eight Row Flint offers a relaxed atmosphere, an impressive selection of craft beers and cocktails, and a spacious outdoor patio. This modern icehouse also serves delicious, locally-sourced tacos from their on-site food truck.
3. Lei Low
For a fun, tiki-inspired experience, head to Lei Low. This unique bar features an extensive menu of creative, tropical cocktails served in a quirky, Polynesian-themed setting. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff make it a popular spot among locals and visitors alike.
4. Axelrad Beer Garden
This popular beer garden, located in Midtown, offers a vast selection of craft beers on tap and in cans, as well as a rotating lineup of food trucks. With its spacious outdoor area, live music, and laid-back vibe, Axelrad is the perfect spot for a casual evening with friends.
5. High & Dry Rooftop Bar
Situated atop the boutique hotel Raven Tower, High & Dry Rooftop Bar offers panoramic views of the Houston skyline and a laid-back atmosphere. This open-air bar features a selection of local craft beers, wine, and creative cocktails, making it an ideal spot to unwind and soak in the stunning surroundings. The bar also hosts regular live music and DJ sets, ensuring a vibrant and entertaining evening for all.
Best Nightclubs in Houston
This trendy nightclub, located in a converted church, offers a unique, visually-stunning setting for a night of dancing. Spire features multiple bars and dance floors, as well as an outdoor patio, and hosts a lineup of world-class DJs spinning electronic, house, and hip-hop music.
2. Cle Houston
An upscale nightclub in Midtown, Cle Houston is known for its chic atmosphere, luxurious pool area, and top-notch music. The club regularly hosts live performances and DJ sets, attracting a fashionable crowd looking to dance the night away.
3. Etro Nightclub
Located in the heart of downtown, Etro Nightclub is a favorite among fans of 80s and 90s music. With its retro-inspired decor and lively dance floor, this club offers a fun, nostalgic night out.
4. Stereo Live
For those who love electronic dance music, Stereo Live is a must-visit. This massive club features a state-of-the-art sound system, impressive light shows, and a lineup of renowned DJs and live acts.
Located in Midtown, Barbarella is a lively nightclub known for its diverse music selection and welcoming atmosphere. The club features multiple dance floors, each playing a different genre of music, ranging from indie and rock to electronic and hip-hop. With its eclectic mix of tunes and laid-back vibe, Barbarella attracts a diverse crowd and guarantees a fun night out for everyone.
Houston Nightlife Conclusion
The Houston nightlife scene is as diverse and dynamic as the city itself, offering a multitude of options to suit every taste and preference. With its mix of down-to-earth charm and modern vibrancy, there’s no doubt that a night out in Houston will be an unforgettable experience. From cozy breweries to energetic nightclubs, this bustling city has something for everyone.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, make sure to explore the best that Houston’s nightlife has to offer. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the city’s lively after-dark scene and create lasting memories in the heart of Texas. So, get ready to sip, savor, and dance the night away in the captivating city of Houston.