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No. 20

Is Houston cool but not hip? Our Hipstrict barely makes Forbes' hippest hipster neighborhoods

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News_Anvil Bar & Refuge, exterior, night
Anvil Bar & Refuge is one on a list of nationally-recognized establishments on the stretch of Lower Westheimer. Photo by Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
News_Cafe Brasil_patio
Cafe Brasil ups the walkability score. Photo by Shea Serrano
News_Hipstrict_license plate_Josh Verde
Residents of the Hipstrict know they're cool. Photo via Verde for Houston City Council
News_Anvil Bar & Refuge, exterior, night
News_Cafe Brasil_patio
News_Hipstrict_license plate_Josh Verde

There goes Forbes again, pretending to be a compass for what is cool. The business and finance magazine has once again relied on a Merriam-Webster entry to define the term for what's hip, this time for a ranking of "America's Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods."

Houston's Lower Westheimer squeezes into the list at No. 20, but this has nothing to do with a tally of fixies or ironic facial hair.

For the ranking, Forbes looked at neighborhood walkability, the number of coffee shops, the variety of food trucks and locally-owned bars and restaurants, the farmers market scene and the number of residents who claim artistic occupations.

While the Hipstrict has finally caught on in a big way, it seems Forbes doesn't quite get it. 

All of the above certainly describe Lower Westheimer, which is lined with notable restaurants, quaint cafes and bars that have gained national notice. That two-some odd mile stretch between Shepherd and Bagby offers smoke shops, bicycle shops, resale shops — everything a hipster needs, really.

Plus, the magazine notes, a "surprisingly high walkability score" allows residents to "hoof it between the thrift stores, award-winning eateries, and antique stores like the Westheimer Flea Market."

While the Hipstrict has finally caught on in a big way, it seems Forbes doesn't quite get it. The magazine ranked Houston as America's coolest city in a recent survey, so the low Lower Westheimer ranking seems at odd with its previous assessment.

Silver Lake in Los Angeles earned the top spot in the ranking, followed by San Francisco's Mission District and Williamsburg, the "unofficial East Coast birthplace of hipsterism." 

East Austin takes No. 7 on the list, thanks to "highly rated Mexican eateries . . . coffee shops, a farmers market, and food trucks like the East Side King parked outside of bars and music venues every night."

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