Austin | Dallas | Houston
Best Bars

Two Southern mags pick Houston's best bars and make some surprisingly good choices

Enlarge
Slideshow
Pastry War Houston bar
Both Garden & Gun and Southern Living recommend checking out agave-focused, downtown hot spot The Pastry War. Photo by © Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge interior with people
Southern Living includes Bad News Bar as one of the best bars in the South. Photo by © Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Alice's Tall Texan bar Houston beer and pool table
Alice's Tall Texan, a classic dive bar, also has a spot on the Southern Living list. Pinterest.com
West Alabama Ice House crowd
The West Alabama Ice House patio is a pretty great place to be on nice days. Papou Jerry's Gryo Truck/Facebook
Pastry War Houston bar
Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge interior with people
Alice's Tall Texan bar Houston beer and pool table
West Alabama Ice House crowd

When it comes to national publications assessing Houston's best bars, cocktail bar Anvil Bar & Refuge is a sure thing for inclusion, but the rest of the city's drinking establishments tend to get overlooked. As Anvil prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary, surely it's time to acknowledge a few other spots. 

That's exactly what the editors of Southern Living and Garden & Gun have done in their recent looks at the South's best bars. Both lists include a couple of unexpected, and highly welcome, new additions for visitors who are looking to sample the best of what Houston has to offer. 

G&G taps The Pastry War, an agave-focused concept from Anvil owner Bobby Heugel and beverage director Alba Huerta, as its eighth best new bar. The magazine praises the downtown spot for its focus on tequila that "may finally earn one of the Lone Star State’s favorite spirits a place alongside whiskey in the South’s pantheon of liquor." Of course, they can't resist a bourbon comparison by noting that "vintage bottles of Herradura Blanco and Del Maguey (can) command Pappy-high prices." While G&G doesn't note Pastry War's jovial atmosphere and top-notch service, they are both essential components of its appeal. 

The Pastry War also joins Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar and Spirit Lodge, the West Alabama Ice House, Alice's Tall Texan and (of course) Anvil on the Southern Living list. First, it's nice to see two of Houston's best dive bars get a little national attention. On a nice day, is there anything better than drinking a cold beer and eating tacos from Tierra Caliente on the Ice House's sprawling patios?

Perhaps more importantly, it's nice to know that the editors of Southern Living were obviously inspired by CultureMap's picks for Houston's best new bars by the inclusion of Pastry War and Bad News. 

Don't worry, there are still lots of quiet, under the radar spots for drinking with friends. After all, a bar doesn't need national press to be great. 

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address