Houston Nightlife: The Best Bars in Rice Village & West University

Photo courtesy of The Ginger Man

Houston comes alive at night, with dives, cocktail bars, and nightclubs dotting the city. In our Houston Nightlife: Best Bars series, we’ll cover the best watering holes for night owls in neighborhoods and communities around Greater Houston.

While Rice Village is not exactly a neighborhood, but rather a mixed-use district, it is often treated as one along with the neighboring community of West University Place (aka West U). The beautiful, tree-lined area appeals to both the young and the young at heart, with plenty of shopping, entertainment, restaurants and nightlife opportunities for all.

Note: For the purposes of this list, Rice Village and West University are defined as the area bound by 610 to the west, Greenbriar to the east, Bissonnet to the north and Holcombe to the south.

The Best Bars in Rice Village & West University

  • The Ginger Man Craft beer enthusiasts can cozy up with a pint in this old school pub. On nice nights, head straight back to the tree-shaded patio and take your pick of specialty beers from around the world, including featured beers of the month. Fun times include trivia on Mondays and live music on Thursdays. Click here for directions.
  • Little Woodrow’s Hit the Rice Village outpost of one of Houston’s most popular sports bars and patios. The fan favorite offers specials including Tuesday’s Big Ass Beer and Trivia Night, and Lone Star beer is $3 all day every day. You’ll also find a massive lineup of beers by the can, bottle, and draft in addition to a full bar. Click here for directions.
  • Simone on Sunset This intimate Rice Village hideaway has an artsy, European lounge feel. Settle in with a glass of wine or a whiskey smash and dine on shareables from cheese plates to smoked duck pizza. Nightly specials include Monday Burger Night, $5 Sangria all night on Tuesday, Wednesday $10 Pizza Night, and Steak Night on Thursday. Click here for directions.
  • Upstairs Bar & Lounge Head to the second-story terrace and bar, Upstairs, perched above Hungry’s in Rice Village and nestled among live oaks. The bar offers plenty of seating, from bar top tables to booths and couches, alongside a roster of cocktails featuring fresh juices made in-house. Get blackberry and ginger margaritas, rhubarb and strawberry elixirs, classic French 75s and bar bites like pizza rustica, spicy charred edamame, and smoked salmon dip. Click here for directions.
  • Under the Volcano A tour of Houston’s dive bar scene is complete without a trip to this kitschy watering hole off Bissonnet. The Day of the Dead-themed bar has been keeping locals quenched since 1989. Sip Latin American-inspired drinks from Strawberry Basil Margaritas and Palomas to an Añejo Old Fashioned; pair them with tacos, made-to-order guac’, and carne guisada; and look out for fun events like Steak Night, live music, and Vinyl Nights. Click here for directions.

More Great Bar Options in Rice Village & West University

It doesn’t get more laid-back than a night at The Big Easy, a live music and blues bar with cheap drinks; nor does it get cooler than enjoying a cold on in an old bank vault at Kelvin Arms Pub. For a cocktail and some poke, check out Doc Holliday’s.

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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 .