Everybody Hurts: Best Places to Go in Houston When You’ve Been Dumped
Before anyone asks: I’m fine. This list isn’t for me, but we’ve all had our moments of heartbreak or times when you just needed a minute to cradle your feelings. Here are some of our favorite places to visit when you need to pull away from your Netflix-and-cry marathon, but still don’t want to deal with the public at large yet.
Alamo Drafthouse, 2707 Commercial Center: No one can see you cry in the dark, so you may as well double-down and take yourself out for dinner and a movie. Have food and drinks brought straight to your seat in the theater, and don’t forget to tip the staff when you ask for extra napkins to sob into as you watch a reshowing of “The Notebook.”
Koffeteria, 1110 Hutchins: It’s time to upgrade your sadness snacks from that stale package of Oreos to Koffeteria’s fun, creative and delicious offerings. From Flamin’ Hot Cheetos croissants filled with nacho cheese to goat cheese fig danishes or ube kouign amanns, there’s something for any mood. Bring an assortment home and eat through your rollercoaster of thoughts and hypothetical conversations.
La La Land Kind Cafe, multiple locations: This bright-and-perky coffee shop is on a mission. The owners pride themselves on hiring foster youth and normalizing kindness. If you’re feeling down, a visit might be the pick-me-up you need, in more ways than one. The staff members are as cheery as can be and one might compliment you on your hair or give you a free pastry if it’s towards the end of the day. The coffee cups and pastry bags have friendly, feel-good phrases printed on them, and the staff will always say “we love you!” when you leave. Sometimes, that’s just what you need to hear — and you know what? We love you, too. You got this, boo.
Lola’s Depot, 2327 Grant: If La La Land Kind Cafe is too saccharine-sweet for you, this grungy dive bar is where you go for the darkness. Come here to drown your thoughts with death metal and a cheap drink, and to be among other people who don’t care what the world thinks. The questionable bathrooms are covered in graffiti, making it the perfect place to scrawl your now-ex’s name on the wall if you need to curse them in writing.
Ritter’s, 3427 North Fry: You don’t even need to put pants on for this one. Pull up to the drive-thru window of this standalone frozen custard shop with little else around (reducing the chances of running into someone you know), and get scoops in a cup or a cone. Proceed to drown your sorrows in some of the creamiest frozen custard you’ll ever taste. Optional: Put on some sad tunes to really drive in that “eat your feelings” sentiment.
Genji Restaurant & Bar, 11124 Westheimer: Speaking of sad tunes: grab some friends, rent a private karaoke room and belt out all of your grief to your heart’s content. While you’re attempting to warble Adele tracks (usually to the imagery of a duck pond for some reason), you can order some comforting casual Japanese eats (the yakiniku and chicken karaage are some personal favorites) all delivered straight to your private box of emotion.
Refuge, 1424 Westheimer: This is for when you’ve decided, “You know what? I’m freaking WORTH IT. Time to treat myself.” Duck behind Anvil and find the door marked “Refuge,” then head up the stairs for a first-class cocktail experience. You’ll be pampered with a hot towel to start your visit, then you can indulge in some exquisite cocktails. If you’re REALLY feeling fancy, flip to the last page of the menu for the “Excessives” section, where you’ll find classic cocktails made with high-end or rare spirits, such as a Last Word made with Chartreuse V.E.P. and garnished with a gold-covered cherry. It’s lively enough that you might be able to strike up a conversation with a stranger, but also low-key enough that you can enjoy a drink with your awesome self and disappear into the night.
Rudyard’s, 2010 Waugh: This Montrose neighborhood bar has a friendly but unobtrusive staff, great bar food that people should REALLY talk about more and a stage upstairs for live events. Here’s what you do: Monday nights at Rudyard’s are free open mic comedy nights. It’s held upstairs, and it’s usually a small crowd in a dark room. Grab a beer, order some tater tots, garlic knots or one of the ridiculously good Detroit-style pizzas, and quietly settle in to enjoy some laughs from local comics. When you’re done, you can just as quietly slip away to go home, or head back downstairs and have an easygoing evening to yourself. It’ll get you out of the house, you’ll see some comics either do great or bomb, and, in either case, you’ll enjoy an evening around people without feeling obligated to interact with anyone.*
*Writer may or not may not know this from personal experience
West Alabama Ice House, 1919 West Alabama: If your four-legged friend is looking concerned for you, treat your buddy with a visit to this dog-friendly, no-frills Houston institution. Pick up some tacos from the Tacos Tierra Caliente truck across the street, grab a cold beer from the friendly bar staff and set yourself up at a table with your best friend. The crowd is friendly and keeps to themselves, but you might have a pup wander up looking for scratches behind the ears. When you’re feeling down, the best kind of unsolicited attention is in the form of a furry friend looking for a treat.
Disclosure: Writer assists Anvil Bar & Refuge in social media management, but was not compensated or incentivized to mention Refuge in this article.