Thanksgiving invokes warm, fuzzy thoughts about home, turkey and pumpkin pie — until extended family members, in-laws and long lost relatives are thrown into the mix. Yes, it is that time of year again...time to come together and remember why we spend the rest of the year running from our madcap kinfolk.
Whether you find yourself faking a tryptophan coma to get out of a tête-à-tête with your zany aunt Mildred or planning an escape route to the movie theater to catch a flick you've already seen, your sanity is on the line.
Seek refuge at a local watering hole, where Thanksgiving night is one of the busiest bar nights of the year. Revel with friends and leave the rest behind. You earned it.
Here are four of my favorites (I would have included a fifth - Anvil - but it's not open Thanksgiving night):
- New to the River Oaks/Upper Kirby area, the Red Room is a great place to lounge around amid the rich red interior, animal print chairs and an eclectic mix of artwork. Jazz music plays in the background with the occasional mix of more contemporary tunes. This classy bar offers signature drinks, like the Lazy Lane Lychee and John Staub Side Car, that pay tribute to the River Oaks surroundings. If creative cocktails are not your thing, perhaps the extensive wine and bubbles menu will appeal. As an added bonus, the outside garden area is a great spot to relax and enjoy the night.
- With its rundown exterior and notable lack of windows, the Roll-N Saloon is the epitome of a dive bar. Located near the San Felipe railroad tracks, the Roll-N has been a part of the Houston scene since the 1950’s. In the diversified crowd you will find urban professionals, local cowboys and pretty much anyone else with a fond appreciation for cheap beverages and low key surroundings. The jukebox features an eclectic range of music from Willie and Waylon to Quiet Riot. Tables and chairs may be torn and tattered, but the buckets of beer are plentiful and the drinks are strong. There is no secret password necessary to enter. No fancy libations with whimsical names. It's just a cool little bar.
- Zimm's Martini and Wine Bar feels like a private residence; it's as comfortable as your own living room, only sexier. Modern art adorns the walls; tables and overstuffed chairs fill the romantic, low-lit main room — perfect for a date or a rendezvous with good friends. The service is impeccable; a killer martini list includes a yummy chocolate mint version. On mild nights, sidewalk tables provide a great outdoor alternative.
- When someone mentions Kay’s Lounge, it conjures images of a grimy bar serving up cold, cheap beer. In fact, Kay’s is a full service bar (contrary to popular belief) and while the interior may be worn and the place could use a little tidying up, all of this only adds to its distinctive character. What's more, there is a center table in the shape of our great state. The jukebox is versatile and the staff is friendly. The bartenders call regulars by name while serving up stiff drinks. Even if you are not a regular, you will feel right at home at this laid back drinkery.