Restaurants / Lists

Where to Day Drink in Houston — 18 Restaurants and Bars That Can Make Any Afternoon a Celebration

Great Patios, Rooftop Escapes and Garden Retreats

BY // 02.18.21

Day drinking is an art — and a joy — of its own. At its best, it’s an occasional escape from an ordinary day — or a chance to celebrate with friends. A hectic work week, a dragging day or an impromptu get together can all call for a daytime drink.

Day drinking is a uniquely different excursion as compared to its counterpart, the evening outing. It often means happy hours, smaller crowds and soaking in a beautiful day outdoors. The tradition has evolved since the Mad Men days when a three martini lunch was way more than a legend for many businessmen.

Now, it’s hopefully a little more controlled, festive and joyful — reserved for special instances rather than an everyday thing.

Luckily, Houston has no shortage of restaurants and bars that open early for day drinking. Some of the city’s best oases for those in search of a drink while the sun is still up have beautiful patios, garden retreats, rooftop perches and happy hour specials galore.

These are the Best Spots to Day Drink in Houston:

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1. Woodshed Smokehouse Houston

Upper Kirby

3728 Wakeforest Avenue
Houston, TX 770098  |  Map

Woodshed Smokehouse Houston

Woodshed Smokehouse is a true patio retreat in the heart of Houston's Levy Park.

In the heart of Levy Park, with a sprawling patio and an open air indoors section, Tim Love’s North Texas import has immediately become one of Houston’s best day drinking escapes. Woodshed’s barbecue will not conjure up any visions of Texas’ best, but this park spot’s atmosphere cannot be beat.

Woodshed gets extra points for its extremely friendly waitstaff, too.

2. Axelrad Beer Garden

Midtown

1517 Alabama St
Houston, TX 77004  |  Map

axelrad beer garden

Axelrad's Garden is a great place to gather, night or day.

In the shadow of Downtown Houston, you’ll find a 100-year-old renovated building that has been beautifully restored and turned into an artsy bar. The art-inspired building brings beer from specially-made taps, cool cocktails and wine.

Order your daytime beverage of choice and head out to Axelrad’s outside dog-friendly garden. It’s full of picnic tables. You can listen to live music or just soak in the fun backyard ambiance.

3. Backstreet Cafe

River Oaks

1103 S Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77019  |  Map

Backstreet Cafe patio

Sip in a cocktail under the shaded umbrellas of Backstreet Cafe's Nola-inspired patio.

With both a front and back patio nestled in a renovated River Oaks home, Backstreet Cafe’s cozy space offers a relaxing midday reprieve. The New Orleans inspired back patio is shaded, even if its beloved Camphor tree had to come down.

This is especially true during Backstreet Cafe’s happy hour which goes from 3 pm until 6:30 pm Mondays through Fridays. 

4. Batanga

Downtown

908 Congress Ave
Houston, TX 77002  |  Map

Patio Batanga

Batanga's Latin American style open air patio.

Batanga is known for having one of the biggest patios in Houston. At 3,600 square feet, there’s plenty of space for a midday meet up at this downtown staple. The Latin American tapas restaurant’s happy hour runs from 4 pm until 7 pm weekdays and on Sundays, it’s half off all wine bottles.

This brick patio can be quite the scene. And who wouldn’t enjoy a cool drink under colorful umbrellas?

5. Better Luck Tomorrow

544 Yale St
Houston , TX 77007  |  Map

Better Luck Tomorrow's cocktail list includes the Lucky Daiquiri.

This eclectic bar has fun cocktails with eye-catching names (see drinks like Elon’s Husks) and happy hour every day until 5 pm with all booze half off until that 5’o’clock deadline. That’s correct, all alcohol on the premise is half off until 5 pm. This includes beer, wine and cocktails.

Since Houston’s weather is notoriously turbulent, Better Luck Tomorrow also has weather specials, where if it’s colder than 40 degrees, Irish Coffees are half off, Rain means hurricanes are half off and temperatures above 95 degrees means highballs are half off. So highballs are half off almost all summer. 

6. Brenner’s on the Bayou

River Oaks

1 Birdsall Street
Houston, TX 77007  |  Map

Patio Brenner's on the bayou

Brenner's On The Bayou's grounds are full of lush greenery. (Photo by Brenner's On The Bayou)

Beautiful views and an extensive drink menu come with a daytime drinking expedition to Brenner’s On The Bayou. Lookout over lush greenery and even a waterfall while sipping on libations from either the two-story dining room or from the decks of Blue Bar.

Blue Bar is a modern patio that sits high among the bayou’s trees and offers a full drinks menu, small plates and happy hour every Monday through Friday from 4 pm until 7 pm.

7. Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.

Downtown

2101 Summer St
Houston, TX 77007  |  Map

Buffalo Bayou Brewing

This colorful three-story brewery and restaurant boasts a spacious rooftop patio with great views of downtown Houston and freshly in-house brewed beer. Buffalo Bayou is open from 11 am until midnight seven days a week (during normal non-emergency times).

The artsy brewery has a wide selection of brews, but if beer isn’t your thing, Buffalo Bayou also has a wine list, mimosa and micheladas.

8. Cottonwood

The Heights

3422 N Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77018  |  Map

Patio Cottonwood

The majority of Cottonwood's seating is outdoors. (Photo by Cottonwood)

With a sprawling covered patio and picnic tables out on the grounds, most of Cottonwood’s seating is outdoors. Cottonwood has a rotating beer list and a full bar with an extensive whiskey and tequila menu.

The Heights bar’s grounds are pet friendly and have fire pits, perfect for gathering around on chillier days. 

9. Eight Row Flint

The Heights

1039 Yale Street
Houston, TX 77008  |  Map

A modern patio in the Heights, Eight Row Flint has two happy hours. (Photo by Morgan Weber)

With not one, but two happy hours, Eight Row Flint in The Heights has both early and afternoon day drinking excursions covered. Early happy hour happens every day from 11 am until 2 pm with a combo of a fresh plate and cocktail for only $15 total. Eight Row Flint’s mid happy hour is on Mondays through Fridays from 2 pm until 6 pm with margaritas and mules on the menu for $6.50.

Eight Row Flint’s modern patio is a climate controlled space in the heart of The Heights neighborhood.

10. Karbach Brewing Co.

Upper Kirby

2032 Karbach St
Houston, TX 77092  |  Map

karbach guru

A true modern brewery, Karbach's facilities includes a giant biergarten and stage.

Karbach’s huge Biergarten is a fun space to enjoy a refreshing brew and listen to live music on its big stage. The modern restaurant and Biergarten opens at 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays and 3 pm the rest of the week.

The brewery’s restaurant tries to pair its pub food with the beer that’s produced on site.

11. La Carafe

Downtown

813 Congress St
Houston, TX 77002  |  Map

The entrance to La Carafe, a historic wine bar in Downtown Houston.

Housed in a historic building in the middle of bustling downtown Houston, La Carafe’s two-story space has an old world ambiance. Originally built in 1847, the small well hidden building now serves as a wine bar.

There’s a small patio outside and candle-lit tables and chairs inside. What’s believed to be the oldest bar in Houston opens at 1 pm and is conveniently just steps away from downtown’s modern skyscrapers.

12. Monarch

5701 Main St.
Houston, TX 77005  |  Map

ZaZa-HOU-Monarch-Terrace

Monarch's covered terrace at Hotel Zaza in the Museum District.

Located in the eclectic boutique hotel, Hotel Zaza in the Museum District, Monarch Restaurant & Terrace is open for lunch Fridays through Sundays and for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. The rest of the week, the restaurant opens at 4 pm and has a menu of unique cocktails, much in tune with the eccentric hotel it calls home.

The full menu bar can be enjoyed out on Monarch’s brightly lit covered terrace.

13. Postino WineCafe

Multiple Locations

805 Pacific St
Houston, TX 77006  |  Map

Postino lounge seating

The swanky Postino Wine Cafe has an extensive happy hour. (Photo by Jenn Duncan)

With two locations, one in The Heights and the other in Montrose, Postino’s extensive wine menu is available starting at 9 am every weekend and 11 am during the week. During happy hour, select glasses of wine and beer are only $5 until 5 pm everyday.

The cool and cozy cafe’s menu houses a wide array of bruschettas for snacking on while enjoying your favorite bottle. 

14. Secret Garden

Downtown

408 Main St
Houston, TX 77002  |  Map

Bravery Chef Hall 1

Secret Garden is housed in a modern greenhouse surrounded by lush foliage.

Tucked under an array of greenery, Secret Garden Houston served brews and cocktails out of a modern greenhouse. Part of Bravery Chef Hall, Secret Garden opens at 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays and 4 pm the rest of the week. Both a coffee and cocktail bar, Secret Garden’s flowery and cheerful patio offers a unique lush ambiance that’s hard to find downtown. 

15. The Grove Houston

1611 Lamar St.
Houston, TX 77010  |  Map

3 Patio teh grove

The Grove overlooks Discovery Green. (Photo by The Grove)

Take in the views of Discovery Green at The Grove and sip on a drink from its extensive beer, wine and spirits menu. The Grove even boasts a small list of allocated and rare liquors such as Macallan 25 year for an indulgent day at the park.

If you’re looking for a more casual day out, The Grove’s Happy Hour runs from 1 pm until 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays with all beer, specialty cocktails and house wines half off.  

16. The Dogwood

Midtown

2403 Bagby St
Houston, TX 77006  |  Map

Dogwood Houston

This Midtown area two-story brick-clad industrial building’s rooftop patio makes for a fun space for a drink while the sun is still up. With views of the downtown skyline, the rooftop bar is only one of The Dogwood’s outdoor seating options. There are also patios on the first floor.

The Dogwood focuses on Southern hospitality and outdoor entertaining with Southern-inspired drinks like Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka on tap.

17. Tiny Boxwoods

Afton Oaks

3641 W Alabama Street
Houston, TX 77027  |  Map

Tiny Boxwoods (Photo by Shelby Hodge)

Tiny Boxwood's tree covered patio has plenty of seating. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)

Open for both lunch and dinner, this lush garden restaurant’s airy patio allows you to soak up the sun with a refreshing cocktail in hand. With a full bar menu, a veteran day drinker can choose between beer, wine, or a freshly made classic cocktail.

Tiny Boxwood’s patio is a great option for grabbing a midday glass of wine or an Old Fashioned. The River Oaks cafe also offers a small but mighty food menu.

18. Truck Yard Houston

Downtown

2118 Lamar St
Houston, TX 77003  |  Map

Truck Yard Houston’s working carousel.

Enjoy a drink under the bright lights of Truck Yard Houston's carousel. (Photo by Truck Yard Houston)

Houston’s “Adult Playground” has fun outdoor seating options (think colorful picnic tables, swings and hammocks), outdoor games and even a real working carousel. For a brunch outing, the Bucket-o-Mosas has everything you need for a mimosa in a bucket including a bottle of champagne.

Opening at noon on the weekends, and 2 pm on the weekdays, find a table under an umbrella and order from Truck Yard’s full bar menu and grab some bar snacks from its rotation of food trucks.

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