In case you missed the memo, you probably ought to be spending more time in the Houston Heights. The thriving neighborhood perfectly melds urban Houston savvy with a charming, independent vibe that’s more commonly found in smaller towns. The latest jewel in the district’s crown is Postino WineCafé, now open at Heights Mercantile.
Brunch. Happy Hour. A good bar. They’re the culinary equivalents of your favorite movie star—you can’t get enough, couldn’t ever run out of good things to say about them, and of course, they beg to be photographed.
Thanks to its brilliantly diverse (and ever-expanding) restaurant scene, Houston is a culinary A-lister. Like the Hollywood equivalent, Houston is bursting with talent, though it maintains the humility and organic local love you’d be more likely to find in the indie scene. From brunches that define Instagram heaven to playful offerings from nationally-recognized cocktail experts, we’ve rounded up a handful of springtime brunch, bar, and happy hour offerings you’ll want to revisit again and again.
Let’s start with a few facts: Brunch is the most important meal of the week, and Houston’s home to some of the best-ever brunches. So it follows that if you’re in Houston, you’d better darn well brunch. One of the most decadent, over-the-top Sunday spreads has always been at Uptown mainstay Hotel Granduca—and after a three-year hiatus, the luxury Italian hotel is unveiling a new, better than ever Sunday brunch buffet.
Let’s get one thing straight: Chef Chris Shepherd doesn’t sleep. How else can we explain the vast sea of his accomplishments, which range from a 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest to a themed restaurant concept that closes each year, only to unveil an entirely new menu and look one month later?
This week, downtown Houston is getting an exciting new addition. On Friday, celebrate the start of the weekend with a visit to the newest concept from bar expert Mike Raymond of Reserve 101, one of the best whiskey bars in the U.S. Along with international bar star Michael Neff and designer Greg Swanson, Raymond is launching The Cottonmouth Club, a come-one-come-all joint serving up world class cocktails and private barrel blended whiskey.
Meeting Brock Wagner at Saint Arnold Brewing Company feels like meeting a kid in a candy store. Never mind that Wagner founded the company 24 years ago and can be found working long hours most days—you get the sense that he’s just as excited to be there as the legions of fans that show up for twice-daily (thrice on Saturday) guided tours. Wagner’s enthusiasm, his belief in what he’s doing, is what allowed Saint Arnold to survive as the first microbrewery in Texas, long before craft beer was even a gleam in the average consumer’s eye. You can taste it in the beers that he and his team create, from the Amber Ale that started it all to more recent efforts, like a collaboration with local James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega.
Montrose is one of the best neighborhoods in Houston. Its quirky array of shops and coffeehouses, proximity to the Museum District, and unbeatable restaurants all contribute to the area’s appeal. One of the newest watering holes on the scene is also one of the best. Within just weeks of opening, Agricole Hospitality’s Night Heron has carved its space as a noteworthy neighborhood nest. With inventive cocktails, a globally-inspired menu, and a comfortable, airy space, the only thing you’re left wanting when you leave is more.
For the sixth year in a row, many of Houston’s leading restaurants are teaming up with The Thread Alliance, a local nonprofit dedicated to ending child abuse once and for all, during National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Starting on April 1st, Houston diners will find a Blue Plate Special entrée, dessert, or drink on the menu at participating eateries; for every Blue Plate menu item ordered, the restaurant will donate percentage of its proceeds to The Thread Alliance.