To make the massiveness of Houston manageable, we recommend thinking of the city as a collection of neighborhoods to explore. Trip Chandler’s first installment in our Houston Guide series for Urban Swank features Montrose, the most inside of the “inside the loop” neighborhoods in Houston. This is an area known for discovery whether it’s the restaurant scene, shopping for unique finds old and new, art spaces, bar hopping, and just hanging out. We go from AM to afternoon to PM with suggested pairings for your sojourn.
Start your morning with migas at La Guadalapana and a round of pan dulce that pairs so well with their house blend of cinnamon coffee, which also makes a great gift. As you leave, be sure to take notice of the aluminum frame house with the gargoyle perched above watching the traffic on Dunlavy. Tackle the rooms of second-hand merchandise at The Guild Shop with other treasure-hunters who line up early. From costume jewelry to furniture to china dishes, you’ll be sure to find the perfect piece for you.
Bring your own wheels or rent a B-cycle and take a late afternoon lazy bike ride through Avondale with plenty of shade trees to keep you cool while you admire the historic homes and salute KPFT on Lovett Blvd., Houston’s very own community supported Pacifica Radio station since 1970. The street is also home to the HI Houston Morty Rich Hostel where you can volunteer to show visitors around! On Wednesdays through Sundays, take a bike break for art appreciation and people watching on the grounds of the Menil Collection. Be sure to visit the bookstore for unique souvenirs and gifts. End the afternoon with a $5 glass of house wine at Bistro Menil’s “Ceci n’est pas un happy hour,” or return your bike and take a load off at Hay Merchant for beer, comfort food and big screens for sports-watching.
Secure a reservation well in advance for dinner at Underbelly, Hugo’s, or Uchi on Westheimer’s strip for some of the best dining in the city. Before your meal, keep it casual at Poison Girl for a beer or whiskey and pinball. Or, jockey for position at Anvil Bar and Refuge for quality cocktails.
For a no reservations outing, settle in at Rudyard’s with a burger and beer on Monday night when you can also catch laughs on the cheap with their Open Mic Comedy Night upstairs. On Thursdays, you can drink for a cause at Boheme with Cultured Cocktails benefiting local arts organizations before dining at Cuchara for authentic Mexico City cuisine. If it’s a Friday night, dance the calories and the night away at Numbers for their Classic Numbers night still going strong since 1991 with DJ Wes Wallace playing the 80’s greats who adorn the mural outside the building.