Walkable Houston: The Westheimer Curve in Montrose

Photo courtesy of El Real Tex Mex

While Houstonians definitely love their cars, there are nooks and crannies of the city that are best explored by foot. In our Walkable Houston series, we traverse those districts to find the prettiest parks, hottest restaurants and bars, coolest local art and shops, and most visit-worthy hidden gems.

Lined with chic boutiques and cheap thrift shops, kitschy art and antique stores, and plenty of bars and restaurants, this offbeat Montrose stretch is the perfect place to spend the day. The area winds along lower Westheimer between Dunlavy and Montrose, offering a fun and easy stroll for grown ups (even with the wonky sidewalks). Here’s a look at some of the ways to explore.

Note that, despite the short walk between destinations, the traffic on Westheimer itself is no joke. So always be mindful of passing cars, and reconsider darting across the street at the bend in the curve, between Anvil and Etro to the north and Stone’s Throw and Boondocks to the south. It’s a bad idea.

Play & Explore

  • Biscuit Paint WallSnap a selfie in front of the colorful Biscuit Paint Wall, located outside the old Biscuit home store location on Westheimer and Mulberry.
  • Geometric Mural – Head to BJ Oldies Antiques to find this bright and vibrant mural by local artist Daniel Anguilu.
  • Cipher Escape Rooms See if you can escape the room at this fully immersive escape room experience.
  • Flatland Gallery Just west of Brasil Cafe, this multipurpose art space hosts dimensional works, films, performances, and specialty meals. Lookout for a lineup of upcoming events.
  • Slick Willie’s – This slick pool hall rocks over 20 tables, DirectTV, pinball and air hockey machines, darts, and patio seating. Hit it for happy hour, pool tournaments, and a low-key good time.

Eat & Drink

  • Agora Take a break at this Old World-style coffeehouse, which pours espresso alongside pastries in a relaxed atmosphere on Dunlavy.
  • Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine On the east side of Montrose, this neighborhood staple rocks cafeteria-style Mediterranean. BYOB and dig into plates filled with things like succulent roast chicken and lamb shank, roasted cauliflower and saffron rice, tabouli and baba ghannoush, and hot and fluffy freshly baked pita.
  • Anvil Bar & RefugeCocktail kingpin Bobby Heugel’s cool hangout basically put Houston’s cocktail scene on the map. Sip one of the hotspot’s classic 100 drinks to see why.
  • BB’s Café Open 24/7, the Montrose outpost of BB’s Café is a night owls haven. Must-haves include the lineup of po’boys, seasonal crawfish, and Tex-Cajun shoestring fries (topped with queso, gravy, and roast beef).
  • Blacksmith Get Greenway Coffee roasts alongside Vietnamese steak and eggs and what is probably the best sausage breakfast biscuit in town at this modern coffee shop.
  • Boondocks Catch open mic comedy or try your hand at karaoke at this no-frills bar.
  • Brasil Cafe This longtime neighborhood favorite shows off plenty of Houston soul, with Amaya Coffee roasts and craft cocktails alongside morning, afternoon, and evening fare like migas, brioche French toast, Houston Dairymaids cheeseboards, and pork belly burgers.
  • The Burger JointJust a short jaunt up Montrose, The Burger Joint rocks an awesome patio, killer burgers, craft beers, and fancy shakes.
  • Campesino Coffee House Pop into this Latin-inspired coffee shop off Waugh to enjoy cortaditos and empanadas.
  • Catbirds This cool, no-frills jazz bar sits near Westheimer and Yupon.
  • Common Bond Café & Bakery Hit this café and bakery to fill up on gorgeous tarts, eclairs, croissants and kugelhopf, plus breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner options from lox tartine to steak frites. You’ll find a line out the door on weekends, but it moves fast (and is worth the slight wait).
  • Da Marco Located on Westheimer between Windsor and Ridgewood, this date night mainstay offers fine dining Italian classics and wines.
  • El Real Tex-Mex Vintage Tex-Mex takes form in gooey enchiladas, puffy tacos, and sizzling fajitas at this boldly flavored Westheimer haunt.
  • Empire Cafe Just past Dunlavy, this fast-casual cafe is a choice spot for your morning cappuccino and omelet and evening Caesar and slice of cake (check out half-price cake day on Mondays).
  • Etro Lounge This local haunt throws it back to the 80s, with throwback music, DJs, and a dance floor.
  • The Hay Merchant One of the best craft beer bars in the city sits on the corner of Westheimer and Waugh, offering 80 taps (75 draft and 5 cask engines) along with an extensive bottle list and stiffed, frozen, and on-tap cocktails. Sip something good and wash down eats from double cheeseburgers and sweet and spicy pig ears to Korean braised goat and dumplings, an old Underbelly fave.
  • Hugo’s Chef Hugo Ortega’s stunner boasts the rich flavors of Mexico and one of the best Sunday brunch buffets in town.
  • La Grange Experience patio life with a mezcal flight and enchilada stack at this funky gastropub.
  • La Fendee Stop by this unfussy Mediterranean spot for hookah, hummus and shawarma.
  • One Fifth Houston This stunner is changing concept each year for five years, morphing from steaks, to the cuisine of Italy, Spain, and France and more.
  • Pistolero’sIt’s all about tacos and tequila at this good-time bar.
  • Poison Girl – Sip American whiskeys alongside pinball at this funky Westheimer dive bar.
  • Ramen Tatsu-ya Head to California and you’ll find this cool kid’s noodle shop, which offers boldly flavored ramen and craft beers in a friendly, laidback atmosphere.
  • Rosemont Social Club Hit the rooftop at this trendy bar and lounge, located on Westheimer and Grant.
  • Snooze, an A.M. Eatery Head south of Westheimer down Montrose and you’ll find this morning favorite, which rocks pancake flights, boozy a.m. cocktails, and Hollandaise-smothered everything.
  • Southside Espresso Hit this tiny coffeehouse for fresh roasts and flatbread pies.
  • Uchi One of the city’s hottest restaurants lies on the east side of Westheimer and Montrose, offering Japanese-inspired plates, sushi, and sashimi. Get the chef’s omakase tasting to work your way through the menu in style.
  • Velvet Taco This fan favorite taco shop sits on the southeast corner of Westheimer and Montrose, offering tacos filled with everything from barbacoa-style brisket and blackened shrimp to chicken tikka and falafel.

Shop & Support Local

  • Aesop Montrose Shop for high-end skin, hair, and body products at this Westheimer shop.
  • Biscuit Home This locally-born home goods shop offers luxury bedding, décor, and gifts.
  • BJ Oldies Antiques Hit this local staple to find vintage furniture and antiques.
  • Cottage Thrift Shop Peruse the goods at this thrift shop and consignment store, which benefits non-profit organization The Women’s Home.
  • Dripped Nails & Spa Get your nails done at this specialty salon and spa, which offers hand-painted designs, 3D art, matte finishes and more. Be sure to check out the cool mural outside.
  • Le Labo Pick up luxe fragrances at this Westheimer boutique.
  • Leopard LoungeThis cult favorite clothing and consignment store rocks vintage fashions.
  • Lo-Fi Vintage Pop into Lo-Fi to find throwback tees, hats and more.
  • Lovely BrideLook through stylish wedding dresses at this indie wedding boutique.
  • Old Blue House Antique Shop Peruse through antiques and kitsch knick-knacks at this little blue house, just west of Dunlavy on Westheimer.
  • Pavement Clothing Hit this thrift shop and consignment store to find funky and unique treasures.
  • Pride and Joy Antiques Right next to Old Blue House, this antique store and gift shop offers even more vintage finds.
  • Secret Tattoo Get inked at this artsy tattoo and piercing shop.
  • Space Montrose Score American-made and locally-inspired gifts at this fan-favorite boutique, from jewelry and art to home goods and stuff for the little ones.
Previous articlePark Spotlight: Emancipation Park in Third Ward
Next articleStroll under the oaks while taking in the sights & sounds of Midtown Art in the Park
Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .