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

Interior of Marquis II with lights on the ceiling and an empty bar
Stop by Marquis II, one of Houston's historic bars, for a taste of Texas Tea | Courtesy of Marquis II

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

Three trumpeters and a saxophone player perform on stage
The Big Easy offers weekly open jams and laid-back blues vibes near Rice Village | Courtesy of The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club

The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club

It doesn’t get more laid-back than a night at The Big Easy, a live music and blues bar with cheap drinks.

The Wednesday night open jam is a popular midweek stop, but all manner of blues artists swing through to play while in town.

Follow its live music calendar to see what artists will be jammin’ next.

The outdoor patio of LIttle Woodrow's at night with crowds at tables
Little Woodrow’s in the heart of Rice Village offers all your sports and brew needs | Courtesy of Little Woodrow’s

Little Woodrow’s

Little Woodrow’s is easily one of Houston’s most popular sports bars and patios, and its got a poppin’ outpost in Rice Village.

The dog-friendly fan favorite rocks tons of TVs, an outdoor patio with furniture and shade, bar games from classic arcade to corn hole and giant Jenga, and specials including Tuesday Trivia Night and $3 Coors Banquet 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.

Exterior of Marquis II with a bright orange sunset
Marquis II on Bissonnet is a longtime neighborhood haunt for Texas Tea | Courtesy of Marquis II

Marquis II

Known for its Texas Tea, neighborhood bar Marquis II got its start on Shepherd and West Gray back in 1945 before settling in its current West U location.

Hit it to work your way through 13 varieties of that Texas Tea, including Peach, Raspberry, Pomegranate, Grape and Arnold Palmer.

The entrance to Simone on Sunset with leafy green plants around it
Simone on Sunset offers a nook in Rice Village to sip wine and cocktails | Courtesy of Simone on Sunset

Simone on Sunset

Intimate Rice Village hideaway Simone on Sunset 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 25%-off bottles of wine Sunday to Tuesday, Ladies Night Wednesday, and Steak Night Thursday.

A covered upstairs patio with the branches of live oaks next to it
Relax among live oaks from the patio atop Hungry’s at Upstairs | Courtesy of Upstairs

Upstairs Bar & Lounge

Head to the second-story terrace and bar Upstairs, perched above Hungry’s in Rice Village and nestled among live oaks.

There you’ll find 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 Green Chile Shrimp Ceviche, Fire-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and Wood-Stone Pizza.

Interior of seating area at Under the Volcano with yellow, orange and teal walls
North of Rice Village, Under the Volcano offers relaxed vibes and neighborhood charm | Courtesy of Under the Volcano

Under the Volcano

A tour of Houston’s dive bar scene isn’t complete without a trip to this kitschy, Day of the Dead–themed watering hole off Bissonnet.

Under the Volcano 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 Taco Tuesday.

More Great Bars in Rice Village & West University

Drink pitchers and catch the game at the West U location of fan favorite sports bar Christian’s Tailgate; pair drinks, sports and organic eats at On The Kirb; drink with the regulars at neighborhood hangout Baileson Brewing; and cozy up to the bar at Sixty Vines to sip through its excellent library of Wine Country varietals.

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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 .