Restaurants / Bars

Houston’s Best New Bars and Breweries — 9 Hotspots Set to Make a Sizzling Summer Splash

From Montrose to The Heights, New Options Abound

BY // 06.19.19

There’s no use denying it. Summer is here. And while we’re all ahem, glistening, a little more than usual in Houston, summer is still arguably the greatest time of the year.

You can soak up the sun — under the partial shade of a patio, of course — and if you head indoors, the AC never feels quite as fresh as when the temp’s hovering above 95 outside.

More importantly, summer promises the opening of many, many new bars, plus a brewery and a cidery here and there. There’s a bevy of boozy options headed your way. Happy hour, late night, afternoon. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

There will be more places to sit and sip wine than ever, more evenings to lounge and lap up a tropical tiki drink. Over the upcoming months, soon-to-be hotspots are set to open their doors from Montrose to The Heights, from Sawyer Yards to the Second Ward.

Read on to discover Houston’s Best New Bars and Breweries.

Monkey’s Tail

5802 Fulton Street

  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY

A trio of Houston restaurant scene heavy hitters are getting into monkey business. Sharif Al-Amin of Helen Greek Food & Wine and Greg Perez of Calle Onzo and Edison & Patton are taking a north Houston dive and revamping it into a modern Mexican-American watering hole.

The transformation means craft cocktails inspired by Perez’s Mexican heritage, 20 draft beers and a kitchen of savory delights from Steven Ripley of Helen’s, Jonathan’s The Rub and D&T Drive Inn. Think wings smothered in Mexican-inspired sauces, elote and New York-style pizzas, to start.

Signature boozy concoctions include the “Sabe Con Madre,” a mix of vodka, chamomile and sage, “Mama Coco,” with coconut, passionfruit, cilantro and charanda, plus the fruit-forward “3 Milks,” a combo of rum, pineapple, strawberries, cherries and tres leches.

Monkey’s Tail slid right past its originally planned April opening, so fingers crossed for an opening sometime soon.

The Toasted Coconut

1617 Richmond Avenue

Is it getting toasty in here, or is it just us? Answer: it definitely is, thanks to chef Martin Stayer and sommelier Sara Stayer and bar manager Sarah Troxell, the masterminds behind Nobie’s.

It’s a tiki takeover at the formerTexas Shrimp Shack space, with tropical dishes galore, especially dumplings, skewers and other top-notch shareables. Martin Stayer says if it touches the 20th parallel, he’ll work it into the kitchen. The Indonesian “queso” is really roti in a sweet curry sauce, and the Crispy Rice Salad is taken out of the Vietnamese handbook.

As for the drinks — prepare for some mind-numbing, rum-heavy classics like the Painkiller, Mai Tai, Zombie and Planter’s Punch — alongside some Troxell signatures, featuring everything from blended scotch to rhum Agricole from the Caribbean.

Penny Quarter

1424 Montrose Boulevard

The foodie scene’s unstoppable duo of cocktail King Bobby Heugel and stellar chef Justin Yu are high off their Squable success and heading into new territory — specifically, the old Etro space.

The dynamic duo behind Better Luck Tomorrow is readying Penny Quarter, an all-day café that will serve as the evolution of Montrose mainstays like Black Hole and Café Brasil. Imagine a menu of toasts, salads and small plates.

Morning means a curated coffee selection by Alex Negranza, but night is where the true fun begins. Justin Vann, current wine director for BLT, with a resume robust from stints at Public Services and Justin Yu’s Theodore Rex and c, is working on a list of 100 different wines.

From Sundays to Wednesdays, you can delight in his selections until midnight. Even better — Thursdays through Saturdays, closing time isn’t until 2 am.

Heugel’s promised an opening this summer, exact date TBD.

penny quarter rendering
Penny Quarter will have quite the wine list.

La Grande Rue

1334 Yale Street

Prepare for a grande old time at this swanky wine bar and shop in the heart of The Heights. This elegant haven for all things vino comes from Tiny Boxwoods’ Brian Doke — who is also opening Savoir next door — and William Meznarich of Victory Wine Group.

The duo are envisioning an intimate spot tucked inside a historical brick building dating back to the 1920s, with 1,100 square feet designated for the wine bar, including 10 to 12 seats for individual drinkers, plus seating inside and out on the patio. A vast tasting table in the center is the ideal space to experiment.

You can expect at least 300 to 400 different bottles and 30 wines by the glass, with the most sophisticated vintages stored in a separate climate-controlled, glass-enclosed room. Get ready to enjoy cheeses, charcuterie, baguettes and caviar.

Satisfied sippers can purchase some of the wines next door in the retail portion of the shop.

Look for La Grande Rue’s debut in October of early November.

How to Survive on Land and Sea

3401 Harrisburg Boulevard

A straightforward new wine bar is sailing into the Second Ward. It comes from a captain with quite the pedigree — Mike Sammons, co-founder of Mongoose Versus Cobra, 13 Celsius and Weights & Measures.

The bar’s name is curious but not surprising, considering Sammons’ penchant for memorable monikers. How to Survive on Land and Sea is the name of a polar and subpolar survival guide from 1943. Here’s hoping they keep the thermostat on room temp.

Details are scant, but the space is set to be 2,200 square feet within the old Admiral Linens. You can drink up beer and cider amid natural light from the large windows, antique furniture and an antique pine bar.

Montrose Cheese & Wine

1618 Westheimer Road

This sophisticated little wine and cheese shop is part of Goodnight Hospitality’s Montrose triple threat. Nestled next to Rosie Cannonball and March, Montrose Cheese & Wine is set to be a standout in its own right.

The retail shop will boast a rotating selection of 12 to 15 cheeses, curated by Houston Dairymaids, plus 75 wines with a bent on biodynamic, natural and organic production.

This bite-sized storefront will have a petite 760-square-foot retail anchor, definitely skewing more toward mom-and-pop than liquor emporium. The independent shop will allow for wine tastings, along with beer cider and espresso.

The trio of tantalizing openings is scheduled for this summer.

Urban South Brewery

1201 Oliver Street

Sawyer Yards is about to get even hipper with the arrival of Urban South Brewery. The beloved Louisiana craft beer oasis — the largest in the state — has chosen the Bayou City for its second-ever outpost.

The fan favorite is set to sprawl over 14,000-square feet composed of a brewing facility, public taproom, expansive patio, beer garden and 10-barrel brewhouse and canning line. Founder Jacob Landry plans on 16 rotating taps, tastings and beer on-the-go.

Whole Foods Brewing Co.’s master brewer Dave Ohmer is heading up the R&D efforts, introducing Houston-centric brews alongside their most popular brews like the breezy Lime Cucumber Gose for the summertime, the Carpe Rose cider ale and Holy Roller IPA, a hazy IPA.

The brewery is headed to Houston this fall.

City Orchard

1201 Oliver Street 

City Orchard is set to open next door to Urban South. Founders Matt Smith and Patrick Kwiatkowski are launching the hard cidery intent on introducing Houston to all the wonders Great Lakes apples have to offer.

The plan is to dispel any rumors and prove the beverage’s variety and versatility in their wide open space. City Orchard will feature a 2,000-square-foot tasting room, 2,000-square-foot patio and a 5,000-square-foot garden area separate from the patio. You could say there’s plenty of room to spread out.

City Orchard will always have at least a dozen ciders available to sip onsite, in addition to a few guest ciders, its own beer and its own wine. Kwiatkowski envisions the space in the vein of Saint Arnold’s, with a core stable of products and innovative offerings always on tap.

The personalized, permanent food truck is still under wraps, but it will be 100 percentCity Orchard-driven, whether it’s pizza, crepes, barbecue or maybe Mexican.

City Orchard is set to open in October, hopefully on Halloween, the co-founder’s favorite holiday.

city orchard sawyer yards rendering
City Orchard will have tons of ciders available — to enjoy onsite, or take home.

Postino Wine Café

805 Pacific Street

The pour’s the merrier at Postino in The Heights — and more is on the way in Montrose. The buzzy wine cafe in Heights Mercantile is setting roots in the old Montrose Mining Company space.

You can say those are some pretty big shoes to fill, given that Montrose Mining Company was an LGBTQ landmark in Space City for years and years.

Postino’s bringing its best with an uber-popular deal of $5 glasses of wine until 5 pm, plus irresistible Monday and Tuesday night late happy hours with a bottle of wine and a pick-your-own bruschetta flight for just $25.

And of course, all their savory sandwiches and salads they’re hyped for.

Postino is expected to open in late August.

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