Best Houston Happy Hours: Montrose
The Montrose neighborhood of Houston offers some of the city’s most notable, well-known and even award-winning bars and restaurants. The highlights include cocktail creations from the restaurants of two different James Beard Award-winning chefs and a bar that’s been a James Beard Award nominee for several years in a row. Saying that Montrose (or “the ‘trose” as its sometimes called by residents) is an epicenter of Houston’s culinary and bar scene isn’t an overstatement.
Even with accolades and scores of loyal patrons, these well-respected bars and others in the area still have great happy hour deals. There’s diversity among them, too. The neighborhood’s eclectic dining landscape includes Tex-Mex, American, Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines, among others, and these influence the available drink selections.
Here’s a list of must-visit bars and restaurants in the area offering high-quality happy hour deals. Looking for more in other parts of Houston? Check out our guides to the Galleria, River Oaks, the Heights, Greenway and Upper Kirby.
Anvil Bar & Refuge, 1424 Westheimer: Known for an expertly curated drink list made by bartenders who go through a rigorous training program that can span several months, Anvil Bar and Refuge was Bobby Heugel’s first bar. It’s been a James Beard Award nominee for the past several years (finally ending up as a finalist in 2018) and kicked off years of success for Heugel. (After Anvil, Heugel opened several other bars in Houston with a variety of business partners, including The Pastry War and Better Luck Tomorrow.) The menu lists dozens of craft cocktails separated into sections called the 100 List, Summer Cocktails and Anvil Classics. For happy hour, the entire 100 List menu is half-price. It lasts literally one hour, from 4 to 5 p.m, so make it count.
Boheme, 307 Fairview: An artsy local favorite, Boheme boasts an ample outdoor patio and two separate interior spaces designed for lounging. There’s also both an inside bar and an outside bar to serve patrons no matter where they choose to sit. Boheme also boasts a generous happy hour that runs 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 12 to 7 p.m. on Fridays and all day Sundays and Mondays. Seven wines by the glass are $5 each, six cocktails like the Dark & Stormy and Bee’s Knees cost $8 each and a selection of happy hour bites, like the Smoked Barbacoa Tacos and Cuban Sliders —with smoked pork belly, ham, Swiss cheese, whole grain mustard and housemade pickles — run $6 to $8 each.
Camerata at Paulie’s, 1830 Westheimer: Located next door to long-time Italian staple Paulie’s, Camerata is a rustically chic wine bar with a monthly rotating wine list that spans almost 12 pages. Also included is over a dozen beers and ciders. While there are assorted snacks like the Mezze Trio — with eggplant hummus, romesco, whipped ricotta and sesame crackers — and Marcona almonds, the customizable meat and cheese plates are particularly outstanding. The small plates cost $8 to $45 depending on the selections. Happy hour is catch-it-while-you-can: all day-old bottles are sold half-price by the glass from 4 p.m. until sold out which means deals can end at 4:30 p.m. or run as late as 1 a.m.
El Real Tex-Mex Café, 1201 Westheimer: Visions of happy hour almost always include a margarita or two, which makes this popular joint a natural place to indulge after work. Drink and food specials are available Mondays through Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. and includes The El Real Rita frozen or on the rocks for $4. There’s also a fun combo called Tin Cans & Tacos that includes $2 cans of Lone Star or Modelo Especial and tacos for $1.50 each.
Cane Rosso, 4306 Yoakum: This spacious restaurant specializes in Neapolitan-style pizzas both traditional and more adventurous, like the Friday Night Frankie with pepperoni, candied jalapeños, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Happy hour runs Mondays through Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. and is full of good deals, including $5 pizza specials for classic Margherita, the Emma made with sausage, San Marzano tomatoes and housemade mozzarella, and the Ella made with hot soppressata, San Marzano tomatoes and housemade mozzarella. Extras include $2 off all appetizers and cocktails, $5 house wines by the glass and Peroni beer for $3. In addition to happy hour, Cane Rosso Montrose also offers a half-priced wine night every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to close.
Goodnight Charlie’s, 2531 Kuester: Formerly of Camerata, David Keck made a surprising decision shortly after achieving the highest level certification offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He announced he was opening a honky tonk in Montrose. The result, Goodnight Charlie’s, has proven phenomenally popular. It’s a homey place, thanks to the wood, leather and steel interior, and features a regular line-up of live music as well. Happy hour runs daily from 4 to 7 p.m. (even on the weekends) when all canned and bottled beers are $3 each and wines and frozen drinks are half-priced. There is also a special that includes one brew and three tacos for $10. Choose from flavorful options like the Cheesesteak Tacos made with 44 Farms beef, queso Oaxaca and house pickled vegetables or the lamb barbacoa made with Mexican chile adobo, grilled pineapple and cilantro. Snack specials on the late-night dining menu from 12 to 1:45 a.m. includes breakfast tacos with choice of chorizo, potatoes, salsa, radish or butter.
The Hay Merchant, 1100 Westheimer: Now that popular lunch spot Underbelly is closed, The Hay Merchant now offers lunch and a nice bonus has accompanied it: an additional daily happy hour. The new time slot is from 11am to noon and it joins the one from 3 to 6:30 p.m. that’s been a favorite since the bar’s inception. Choose from 30 different beers for $3 each or pair one with a shot for $5. The specials crossover with the brunch hours on Saturdays and Sundays, which makes for fun pairing like $3 beers with the Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese BLT.
Hugo’s, 1600 Westheimer: James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega’s original namesake restaurant is still the standard when it comes to authentic Mexican cooking in Houston — and it offers a great happy hour, too. It runs Mondays through Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. and features specials on wine, cocktails and tequila. Classics like The Hugo Rita and the West Texas Walkabout cost $6 each, selected wines by the glass are $6 each and $22 for the bottle, the Tiny Bubbles (sparkling wine, pomegranate, guava, ginger, lime) drink special is $6 a glass and $18 per bottle. Selected Mexican beers are $3 each and Texas brews cost $4 each. Bar bites include $4 tacos and $8 enchiladas.
Night Heron, 1601 West Main: This light and breezy bistro from Agricole Hospitality has an ample dog-friendly patio plus table and lounge seating. Happy hour is 2 to 6 p.m. every day — except Monday when it lasts all day. Specialty cocktails like the salty dog, margarita and the old fashioned cost $7 each, selected wines by the glass are $7 each and selected beers run from $3-$4 each. Although there is no happy hour food menu, regular dishes like the Salt & Pepper Pork Ribs and Fried Curry Spiced Potatoes are tasty accompaniments at any hour.
Riel, 1927 Fairview: Chef-owner Ryan Lachaine’s eclectic gourmet outpost provides an intimate setting and an ever-changing menu. Notable small plates include the Bannock, or green garlic with cultured butter and blueberry bacon jam, and Caviar Service that serves three to four people. Happy hour in the bar area runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and the deals include $4 select beers, $7 wines by the glass and $8 classic cocktails like the paloma, French 75 and old fashioned. Nosh on standouts like Mini Dogs made with egg yolk, fried rice and gochujang and Tempura Cauliflower with kimchi hot sauce.
UB Preserv,1609 Westheimer: UB Preserv showcases both James Beard Award-winning chef-owner Chris Shepherd’s culinary view of Houston and dining out as a social experience. UB Preserv recently rolled out Snack Time, a fun version of happy hour that runs Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Specials include half-off all Tiki bowls (which serve groups of three or more), select beer and wines for under $6 dollars and the UBP Old Fashioned and Pimm’s Cup cocktails for $7 each. To eat, choose from four interesting and well-executed small plates like Turkey Neck Molotes and marinated garlic cucumbers that range from $5 to $6.
Uchi Houston, 904 Westheimer: Considered one of the gold standards in modern Japanese fare, dinner at Uchi can come with a hefty price tag. Uchi offers a Sake Social that features many low-cost dishes and drinks from 5 to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week. That’s one reason why Houstonians often line up at the doors before opening time. There are four different types of makimono (rolled sushi) for $6 each, like the Avo Maki made with fried shallots avocado and yuzu kosho and the Spicy Crunchy Tuna with bigeye tuna, avocado, jalapeño and cucumbers. Assorted small plates (usually smaller portions of larger-sized appetizers) cost $3 to $7 each and meaty options like the short rib (large enough to share) are $8. Living up to its namesake, Uchi also offers a selection of specialty sake, beer and wine like the Kara Kyuri cocktail with sake, cucumber and Thai chili for $6.
Ramen Tatsu Ya, 1722 California: Noodles are serious business and Ramen Tatsu Ya knows it. During their “Slurpin Hour,” Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m.guests can get their choice of six $3 sake- and beer-based cocktails like the Kyuri Kup with housemade lemonade, sake, fresh lime juice, yuzu and cucumbers in a dried shiso plant rimmed glass and the SugrDog with sake, fresh grapefruit juice, mint and sea salt rim.
About the author: Beth Levine writes about food, drinks, lifestyle and travel for local and national publications including My Red Glasses, Houstonia, Local Houston Magazine, Charlotte’s Book and Houston Food Finder. An executive assistant by day and freelance writer by night, Beth is originally from both New Jersey and California, but currently calls Houston home. You can follow her on IG @Yogaspots.