When the Marquis II moved to its current location, it took over a gentlemen's club called the Bunny Club. This painting was found beneath the dry wall during the remodel. (Photo by Kelly Schafler)
A statue of a monkey holds a bowl of condoms and Poison Girl matchbooks.
An assortment of liquors are available at Under the Volcano (Photos by Kelly Schafler).
Wall of masks at Under the Volcano.
The Marquis II before the evening pops.
This is a piano bought from David Koresh, an American religious cult leader, by Marquis II co-owners Trudy and Rosemary. Bartender of Marquis II for 18 years Al said, that at the time of purchase, Koresh had not yet been made in infamy. (Photo by Kelly Schafler)
Sunny's son, 24-year-old Zack Chitty, works with his mother at Sunny's Bar in downtown.
A large wall at Sunny's is dedicated to bumper stickers.
The emblem of VooDoo Queen in the Second Ward.
Covered windows to protect the bar during repairs after the fire.
Velvet paintings hang on the pink walls of Poison Girl.
It’s hard to stay away from a good dive bar. The charm is in the dim lighting, the slightly unsteady chairs, and the walls adorned with unique tchotchkes. While the term “dive bar” used to conjure up a more negative connotation (and in some corners still does), dive bars are becoming more and more celebrated. For good reason.
Dive bars are the neighborhood bars, the good ol’ bars that understand what drinkers really want (and deliver it), the comfortable hangs. Houston’s best dive bars are upping their game with more creative happy hours.
After all, it’s not a true dive bar if you can’t drink cheap. Here’s a look at some of the top dive bars around the city — and what they’re offering now.
Address: 2631 Bissonnet St
Happy Hours: Mondays thru Fridays from 2 to 8 p.m.
The Marquis II, fondly referred to as “m ²,” has been around since 1945 in various locations, finally settling into West University. While this bar has been renovated in recent years and become more modern, it still holds onto that dive bar vibe.
A lot of college students can be found at this neighborhood bar, but don’t let that be a deterrent. Weekdays, patrons can grab ice-cold Texas bottled beers for $3 — and Texas draft beers and Texas spirits for $4. But let’s not focus on the weekly happy hours.
The real star is LITT Tuesdays (aka. Long Island Texas Tea Tuesdays). So your Tuesdays can be lit. Marquis II offers 20 different flavors of 23-ounce sweet Long Island Iced Teas for only $8. But guests are only allowed three of these bad boys, so drink responsibly.
Poison Girl Cocktail Lounge
Address: 1641 Westheimer Road Suite B
Happy Hours: Everyday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Poison Girl Cocktail Lounge’s walls are pink and covered with velvet paintings of scantily clad women (they’re tastefully done!). A glass jar with a large baby doll head submerged in water sits on top of the bar, and novelty characters can be found tucked into nooks and crannies. Hey, a dive bar needs character.
The bar is snuggled into the heart of Montrose, and it offers an array of specialty cocktails daily — with more 400 Texas whiskeys on hand. However, from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday thru Sunday, well liquor is only $2 and draft beers are $3.
Take your happy hour drink and follow the wall of old-school pinball machines to the outdoor garden. Keep cool by relaxing in front of the fans outside, where a large purple Kool-Aid sculpture with metal teeth sits coolly in the corner.
Moon Tower Inn
Address: 3004 Canal St
Happy Hours: Mondays thru Thursday from open till close.