If I’m a regular at any drinking establishment, it’s The Davenport. So, yes, this review is not so much a hard-hitting critique as it a paean designed to persuade you, dear fabulous reader, to love this bar as much as I do.
With darkened windows and only one orange sign in retro font, The Davenport seems designed to be overlooked by the average passerby. That is not to say, however, that you’re not wanted at The Davenport. Despite the constant presence of some very loyal regulars, the bar maintains a friendly, inclusive atmosphere. Long-time patrons who go there because everybody knows their name are quick to say hello newbies, as I soon found out during my first few visits. After two or three evening jaunts to The Davenport, the ever-accommodating bartenders (John is my personal favorite) will remember your preferred drink order; after four or five, they will start making it for you soon as you walk in the door.
Consistent good service, however, is not why I frequent The Davenport. Nor do I continue to return because their expansive menu of classic cocktails, martinis, and creative shots means I could order something different everything for a month and still have dozens more to try. I go to The Davenport because every damn drink I order is a potent, well-balanced elixir guaranteed to wash away all my troubles when I’m in a bad mood and push me into euphoria following a good day. Need specific recommendations? Having tried a decent percentage of their cocktails, I still find myself gravitating toward the autumnally spiced Dear Old Cranny and sunny Mango Tango martinis. On hotter evenings, I enjoy the more voluminous, though equally strong Blue Hawaiians, or if I’m feeling silly, the sparkling, sweet Barbie’s Bathwater.
In the hours just before and after sunset, The Davenport is quiet and relatively uncrowded, the perfect setting for a pre-dinner extra-dry martini (or two). As night falls, and especially on weekends, the music grows faster and louder (thanks to rotating guest DJs), the patrons become more boisterous, and soon, it’s standing room only. This chameleon-like ability to morph seamlessly from a low-key lounge complete with fake fireplace, predominantly middle-aged clientele, and seventies-era sofas to a throbbing contemporary hotspot filled with millennials is, I think, what I find most charming about The Davenport. It’s a bar that can be a home away from home, even for just a short while, for just about anyone: world-weary emergency room physicians, too-cool-for-school street artists, distinguished gray-hair couples celebrating forty-plus years of marriage, and spunky English graduate students.
And you, if you like. With a freezer full of pre-chilled glasses, a well-stocked liquor cabinet, and a few gregarious regulars, The Davenport is waiting.
The Davenport Lounge
2117 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77098
Hours: 2pm-2am (everyday)