Houston Nightlife: The Best Bars Near the Theater District in Downtown

Photo courtesy of Houston Watch Co.

Houston comes alive at night, with dives, cocktail bars, and nightclubs dotting the city. In our Houston Nightlife: Best Bars, we’ll cover the best night owl watering holes in each neighborhood.

One of Houston’s crown jewels is its majestic Theater District, a walkable pocket of beautiful Downtown. There, you’ll find a mosaic of artistic performance venues, plus plenty of bars at which to enjoy a pre- or post-show cocktail.

Note: For the purposes of this list, the Theater District is the area around and bounded by Franklin, Bagby, Walker, and Main Streets. This list focuses on sophisticated bars that might accompany a night at the theater.

The Best Bars Near the Theater District in Downtown

  • Secret GardenBravery Chef Hall rocks a 2,000-square-foot patio garden bar dubbed “The Secret Garden.” But it’s not so secret after all, as the lush beaut opens onto Main Street. Stop in for craft drinks and frosé, carbonated and bottled cocktails, and good times. Click here for directions.
  • Houston Watch Co. For a quiet, classy drink away from the crowds, check out this throwback cocktail bar, which sits adjacent to the lobby of the Bayou Lofts on Franklin Street, between Travis and Main. Click here for directions.
  • Public Services Wine & Whisky – Located in the historic Houston Cotton Exchange Building on Travis Street, this classy drinkery specializes in an international selection of hard-to-find wines and whiskeys. Cozy up onto a velvet couch and sip some while you nosh on cheeses, charcuterie, and bar snacks curated from Theodore Rex. Click here for directions.
  • Tongue-Cut Sparrow – Accessible through a “secret” door and stairwell inside The Pastry War, this low-key, high-class drinkery offers one of the premier formal cocktail bar experiences in the city. Reservations can be made for half the bar, with the other half reserved for walk-ins. Click here for directions.
  • Dean’s This local institution prides itself in classic cocktails made the old-fashioned way. Step back in time and unwind over bourbon in the handsome, historic space. Click here for directions.
  • Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge – This second-story haunt is a bit hidden. You’ll find the doorway off Main Street and a creaky staircase that leads up to the cocktail bar and patio, where you can sip expertly crafted drinks and get elevated views of the city. Click here for directions.
  • OKRA Charity Saloon – Off Congress Street, this gorgeous, sky-lit saloon is a choice spot for a feel-good drink. That’s because the bar donates all of its proceeds to a local charity each month, and each drink you buy will earn you a charitable vote for that month’s winner. Click here for directions.

More Great Bar Options near the Theater District in Downtown

Hit the bar at Hotel Icon’s Line & Lariat; sip rum at High & Dry; get a taste of nostalgia at  La Carafe, Warren’s Inn and Char Bar; sip underground beers and wines at Conservatory and craft cocktails at One Armed Scissor, The Pastry War, The Commoner & The BoulevardierLittle Dipper Bar, and Lilly & Bloom; hit the rooftop at Lawless Kitchen & Spirits, or grab late-night patio drinks on weekends at Batanga.

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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 .