Walkable Houston: Fairview & Taft in Montrose

Photo courtesy of Baby Barnaby's

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.

In the neighborhood of Montrose, you’ll find the fun and funky mini district around Taft and Fairview. The walkable area offers the opportunity to bar hop (the area is home to several gay bars), dine at restaurants and cafes, shop for antiques and more. There’s even a Houston B-Cycle station for easy access to the area.

Sometimes informally known as the “Gay-borhood” for its long-standing concentration of gay bars, the area is now also home to bars, restaurants and businesses who regularly welcome people from all walks of life. Although you’re likely to find a mix of people at all locations listed, the establishments that focus on the LGBTQ community are specified in their descriptions below.

Note: For the purposes of this list, the Taft and Fairview district runs along Fairview from Montrose to Genessee.

Play & Explore

  • Pinot’s PaletteUnleash your inner Van Gogh at this BYOB paint and sip studio. The instructor-led classes make for the perfect friends night out or fun date night.

Eat & Drink

  • Boheme Escape the city by hitting the lush backyard patio or dark, cozy interior of this eclectic food and wine bar. There, you can linger over house cocktails, hard to score wines, and sharables from Bangkok-style smothered fries and housemade hummus to beef empanadas and truffle mushroom pizza. Look out for happy hour deals and special events like Drag Queen brunch.
  • Cuchara Adorned with a rainbow-hued palette and eye-catching murals, this vibrant Taft and Fairview bistro journeys through the flavors of Mexico City. Pop in for brunch to dine on red, green or white chilaquiles, fragrant pozole, and Hidalgo-style lamb barbacoa; or stop by for dinner and indulge in Veracruz-style red snapper, 34-ingredient mole negro, and asado stew.
  • Max’s Wine Dive Get fried chicken, Champagne, and good vibes at this fan favorite dive. On weekends, brunch draws a crowd thanks to the tasty Bloodys and build-your-own mimosas, plus eats like jalapeño buttermilk wings & waffles, crème brulee French toast, and a crazy good fried egg sandwich. Dinner brings dishes from sloppy burgers, sticky pork ribs, stacked salads and shrimp & grits to Max’s famous Southern fried chicken.
  • Pepper Twins Sichuan-style Chinese food is the name of the game at this hotspot. Bring a crew and share plates of dan dan noodles, hot diving fish, twice-cooked Berkshire pork belly, ginger duck, and spicy boiled beef.
  • Baby Barnaby’s Located on Fairview and Hopkins, this neighborhood café is open daily for breakfast. Get migas plates piled with eggs, green chilies, chorizo and cheese; lox platters with bagels and cream cheese; corned beef hash and eggs; and fluffy buttermilk waffles.
  • El Paraiso Off Fairview and Crocker, this modest cafe offers Mexican classics, including frijoles a la charra, menudo, mole poblano, and carne guisada, plus Tex-Mex plates rocking burritos, chalupas, and enchiladas.
  • La Mexicana Breakfast tacos are a must at this local gem, which sits just off Montrose. But you’ll also want to stop in for enchiladas, tamales, chile relleno, pozole, and fajitas by the pound.
  • Tex-Chick Puerto Rican Restaurant Dig into mofongo, bistec encebollado, and pollo guisado at this Latin American hole-in-the-wall, sitting off Fairview between Stanford and Crocker.
  • BarcodeHit the open patio at this remodeled gay bar and club, located off Fairview and Concord; or stop by for fun events like Monday Night Karaoke, Wednesday Night Drag Bingo, and Sunday Funday.
  • Crocker Bar Sitting on Crocker, this lively gay bar is known for its karaoke on Tuesday and Thursday nights, as well as DJs on the weekends.
  • George’s Country Sports Bar This popular gay sports bar offers a relaxed, country vibe, with pool, darts, flatscreens, and a friendly atmosphere.
  • Hamburger Mary’sEat, drink and be Mary at this popping neighborhood bar and grille. Located on Grant, the hangout is known for its flamboyant dining experience and nightly entertainment, from the “Dining with Divas” drag shows to Maryoke-Karaoke and game nights.
  • Lola’s Depot This local dive has garnered a cult following and draws a diverse mix of Houstonians thanks to its killer jukebox, laidback vibe, cheap and stiff drink menu, and interesting décor.
  • Ripcord On Fairview and Crocker, Ripcord is a Houston leather bar that brings some fun to Houston’s LGBTQ community.

Shop & Support Local

  • Reeves Antiques This family-owned and operated furniture and antique art gallery has been around since 1969. Stop in to shop for rare and highly curated furniture and art, including mid-20th Century design from Texas artists.
  • NuYu Nique Boutique Located beneath Nuyu Aesthetics medical spa, this unique boutique is open between spa appointments.
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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 .