Welcome to Lodgeur’s guide of the best restaurants and bars in Downtown Houston! (Lodgeur also has a post on What to Do in Downtown Houston.)
Nestled in the heart of downtown Houston, Soho Garden is a whimsical oasis perfect for grabbing a drink. Housed in a striking modern greenhouse filled with lush greenery, this charming bar serves up imaginative craft cocktails that look as good as they taste.
Rosalie’s Italian Soul offers a contemporary twist on classic Italian cuisine. Led by celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, this culinary haven showcases dishes inspired by his great grandmother’s recipes. Indulge in artisanal pizzas, fresh pasta, and robust main courses like the signature Osso Buco. Not to be missed is the Rosalie’s brunch, with Texas wild boar rigatoni, Italian bread pudding toast, and a whole chicken parm. Ravioli special rotate weekly. With locally-sourced ingredients and a well-curated wine list, Rosalie’s Italian Soul is a tribute to traditional Italian cooking methods with a touch of Houston’s vibrant character.
If you close your eyes and imagine the perfect, classic steakhouse, Pappas would be it. With its appropriately dim lighting, aged steaks, deep wine list, and attentive service, the downtown location is well suited for a relaxed but impressive client dinner. Traveling for work sometimes means eating alone, and you can do that comfortably here. Cozy up to the bar for the full menu and the expertise of the bartenders on all things food, drink, and culture in Houston. There is usually a talented piano player that just adds to that old school ambiance you’d expect. Pappas is a Houston institution on everyone’s list of best restaurants in Houston. Reservations recommended for tables, the bar area is first come first serve.
Located in the heart of downtown Houston, Solecita Churrería y Taqueria is a popular Mexican eatery that offers an indoor/outdoor experience that feels like being in a quant market in Mexico. With tacos at $4.50 and fresh, inviting vibes – Solicita is perfect for meeting friends for a casual meal. In addition to its famous churros, the restaurant offers a wide variety of delicious tacos, tortas, and aguas frescas.
Finn Hall is an art deco-inspired food hall bringing together the best of local Houston haunts such as Goode Co. Taqueria, Dish Society, and Amaya Coffee all in one convenient spot. Head here for a group lunch so everyone can get what they like, just make sure to grab a table in the back. After work, grab a glass of wine or local craft beer (we’re partial to Eureka Heights) at their ground floor bar, St. Jac’s, or head up to their mezzanine, Swallow’s Nest, for a fantastic cocktail and good vibes. No Reservations needed at the Food Hall, but they are suggested for Swallow’s Nest.
From the minds of Houston’s own bar genius Bobby Heugel and his business partner Peter Jahnke, Tongue Cut Sparrow is where the epicenter of Houston’s local bar scenes converge. Head toward the back door inside The Pastry War (a wonderful bar it in its own right), up the staircase, and you’ll feel like you’re transported to another time. Inspired by travels to Japan, London, and Oaxaca, it’s evident that you can get the perfect, classic Martini yet not feel like you’re imposing or underdressed. Definitely the spot to unwind after a busy day, to head to for a nightcap, or to spend the entire evening sitting at the wooden bar watching the bar masters create beautifully crafted cocktails. Reservations recommended, but walk-ins accepted if there is room. Text to make reservations.
The Hearsay gastro-lounge, located in a turn-of-the-century building near Market Square, serves innovative, upscale pub grub paired with great craft beer, wine, and cocktails. Their extensive cocktail offering reflects a dedication to a classic aesthetic while the atmosphere lends itself to more lively conversations and happenings. Great for after-work happy hour or a late-night bite before heading back to your hotel. Make sure to have the Flaming Leah, named after one of FOUND’s founders! Reservations accepted, but walk-in’s welcome.
In the mood for some really good pizza by the slice? A Houston staple both for food and the late-night scene, Frank’s knows its ‘za. Definitely a sleeper item here is their fresh hot wings. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail or beer, head next door to Frank’s Backyard, bring your pizza and wings, and gear up for a great time!
This bourbon and whisk(e)y bar is close to perfect for a business traveler and one of the most populars bars in downtown Houston. The Bottle & Bayou food is good, the drink selection is outstanding, and it’s great for dining alone or grabbing a drink with coworkers. If you’re looking for a lunch-time activity for a client, they have the only TopGolf driving range simulator around – definitely worth checking out if you can’t make it to a course. Because of its location in the Four Seasons Hotel, you never know which celebrity (local, sports, or otherwise) might be sitting next to you. Reservations accepted but generally only needed for the TopGolf lunch experience.
Flippin’ Patties, located in the heart of Houston, is not your average burger joint. The standout menu item is no doubt the puet burger. This masterpiece combines akaushi beef, marinated pecan smoked pork butt, onions, and provolone in a way that’s nothing short of culinary alchemy. The more adventurous foodie might also want to try the chicken pup – an unconventional but equally delicious choice. Flippin’ Patties also offers a rotating roster of daily specials during their “Magic Hours”, which can make for a delightful surprise.
Part grocery store, part restaurant, part hot/cold salad bar, part bar, Phoenicia has it all! Need somewhere quick to grab an artisanal sandwich or hit up a salad bar that has top quality ingredients? What about some shawarma or even good quality sushi rolls? This is the place. Perfect for the business traveler on the go or a family to grab picnic supplies on your way to Discovery Green. Inside Phoenicia Market, there’s a great cafe called MktBar that is best suited for an evening drop-in before a show at House of Blues or post-Rockets game at the Toyota Center. No reservations necessary, but expect to wait in line during the lunch rush.
What can we say about Warren’s Inn? Part dive-bar, part-legend, and all-around oozing a no-frills nostalgia vibe. It’s one of the few dive bars in Houston that serve top-notch classic cocktails (try the martini) alongside beers and a bit of attitude from the bartenders. Be warned: the drinks here are STRONG, but that’s what keeps the diverse group of regulars coming back. All the cool kids sit in the gazebo, so try and snag a spot before it gets too crowded at night. No reservations required.
You know that neighborhood bar that feels classy yet unpretentious? Where you can get a classic Manhattan and a Lone Star brew? Yeah, it’s the Houston Watch Company. Some of our favorite bartenders in Houston will make your visit one for the books, and teach you about the history of the building, the original watch company, and its relationship to the railroad. Don’t be surprised by the huge safes in the bathroom. It’s just where they kept all the expensive watches and jewelry in the early 1900s. No reservations needed.
Staying downtown? Check out our guide for what to do in Downtown Houston.