Houston Nightlife: The Best Bars in Garden Oaks & Oak Forest

People walking through a covered patio area of a bar next to sand volleyball courts
Wakefield Crowbar offers a wide selection of pours and multiple sand volleyball courts in Garden Oaks | Courtesy of Wakefield Crowbar

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.

Replete with oak, pecan and pine trees, vintage bungalows, and ranches from the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, this duo of neighborhoods has drawn in a steady crowd of young families.

But that doesn’t mean the ‘burbs don’t have any cool factor, as these booze-fueled nightlife options prove.

Note: For the purposes of this list, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest is defined as the area covered by this map.

The Best Bars in Garden Oaks & Oak Forest

The outdoor patio of Cottonwood at sunset with people and dogs scattered around
Cottonwood boasts a sprawling outdoor patio, full kitchen and weekly fun | Courtesy of Cottonwood


Dog and kid-friendly, sprawling patio bar Cottonwood is known to draw a crowd on nicer days, weekends, and big events.

The cult favorite rocks 40+ taps, a full bar, and super chill ambiance thanks to things like string lights, fire pits, corn hole, and picnic benches. There’s also a stage for live music, an indoor bar, and covered patio section.

Come for brews, burgers, wings, and whiskey, and stay for the good times.

An empty bar with stools
Sassafras offers a no frills neighborhood bar experience in Garden Oaks | Courtesy of Sassafrass


Hit local hangout Sassafras for “fancy beer, cheap beer, above average wine, a full bar, and delicious sangria.”

The friendly spot sports a cozy patio and low-key vibe, with a darker and moody (but still totally low-key) indoor bar, the perfect place for stiff cocktails and a turn at the pool table and/or jukebox.

Stop by for late nights, steak nights, and tasty pop-ups.

A narrow bar with people sitting in stools and at tables
Get cozy indoors or on the outside patio at the Upside Pub | Courtesy of the Upside Pub

The Upside Pub

Open ’til 1am (with a kitchen open ’til 11pm) on weekends, The Upside Pub is like the Cheers of Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, offering an intimate space where you can have a conversation, get rowdy for a game, or unwind with a beer and a bite to eat (don’t sleep on the pretzels and beer cheese queso).

Look out for fun from Steak Nights to Kick the Keg parties by following the bar on Facebook or Instagram.

Teams playing sand volleyball
Volley, set and spike your way to glory with friends at Wakefield Crowbar’s sand courts | Courtesy of Wakefield Crowbar

Wakefield Crowbar

Over at high-energy fun zone Wakefield Crowbar, you’ll find 39 taps and three sand volleyball courts where you can unleash that competitive side, plus weekday happy hours, indoor and outdoor dining spaces, and a late-night pizza menu.

Grab a pint or sip the lineup of specialty cocktails and shots from Ranch Waters to Jell-o Shots; and take advantage of daily specials like Thirsty Thursday and Feel Good Friday.

A person pouring whiskey samples into glasses
William Price crafts cocktails and offers tastings at its Garden Oaks distillery | Courtesy of William Price Distilling

William Price Distilling Company

Did you know that Garden Oaks has its own distillery?

That would be William Price Distilling Company, named after one of the founder’s great-great-great-great-grandfathers who settled down in the Lone Star over 150 years ago.

The craft distillery makes everything from single barrel rye whiskey to coffee liqueur, and its got a tasting room (closes at 5pm) and full bar that’s open later on weekends to bring you “spirits, cocktails and all around good times.”

More Great Bars in Garden Oaks & Oak Forest

Sip suds at stellar local brewers including Brash Brewing, Great Heights Brewing Company, and Walking Stick Brewing Co.; grab a game of darts and a cold beer at classic dive Catty Corner Ice House; unwind with cocktails on the patio at d’Alba; and make your way through the library of wines at Sonoma Wine Bar.

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Brooke Viggiano
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 .