June 2nd, 2010
H-Town Showdown: Bourbon St. vs. Washington Ave.
After a weekend trip to New Orleans I got to thinking, “how do some of the frequented tourist attractions around the country match up to Houston.” Sure, this isn’t a fair question in a lot of regards based solely on the lore. But when it comes down to it, we have a lot of comparable areas in town to those that grace the lips of bachelor party partiers all over the country. So, to that I offer you Bourbon Street and Washington Avenue and ask the question “who ya got?”
Contender #1: Bourbon Street
There isn’t a strip in the country that offers the level of debauchery that resides on Bourbon Street. Men and women stumble into and out of bar after bar, strip club after strip club and from Lucky Dog stand to Lucky Dog stand. There is flashing, same sex make-out sessions for beads and plastic cups shaped like deadly weapons. It’s not all just test-tube shots and second rate strippers, though. There are a few decent eateries (have to go a couple blocks away for the good stuff) willing to serve the drunks food (and hopefully a couple more daiquiris) and music… oh, the music. New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz and they sure do show it. If you’re not distracted by the cover bands or open mic karaoke, you’re sure to come across some of America’s own musical genre. The street itself is ancient and full of tradition. Old buildings dating back to the 1700’s stand shoulder to shoulder. The Hurricane was born at Pat O’Briens, supposedly… And did we mention the music?
Contender #2: Washington Avenue
Before you write this off as a one-horse race, let’s consider Washington’s Seabiscuit to Bourbon’s War Admiral. Washington Avenue has it’s fair share of drunken antics, but it offers up some class restaurants as well. Catalan could be considered the flagship of these at the moment. The heralded El Rey and Laredo Taqueria along with the new Les Grival are sure to be having people chowing down before cutting the carpet. And if you want drink there is that too. Sure, the waitresses don’t tend to be trotting around toting shots in laboratory equipment, but who needs that? As Washington grows and attracts more bars and clubs, long walks from bar to bar become non-existent. Oh, and you want music? How about the Houston institution Walter’s on Washington? They don’t need old stand-bys to come and wail on a trumpet every weekend. National acts and local up-and-comers are there every night.
The Final Jabs
- Addition by Subtraction: Ever been up early on Bourbon Street Sunday morning? Washington never has to deal with that smell. Trust me. That’s a good thing. A real good thing.
- Remember, this isn’t the French Quarter vs. Washington Corridor.
- With the above mind, Catalina Coffee blows anything on Bourbon St. off the dike.
(You’re Cafe Du Monde argument is moot)
- Have you been into any of the strip clubs on Bourbon Street? Yikes.
- Drinks classic to New Orleans? Hand Grenades, Hurricanes, etc.
- Drinks classic to Houston? …anyone?…
- Shall we include that Abita vs. St. Arnold fight in this showdown… sure, why not?
- Oldest bar on Bourbon Street: LaFitte’s.
- Oldest bar on Washington Avenue: Darkhorse(?)
- Newest bar on Washington Avenue: Liberty Station.
- Newest bar on Bourbon Street: Howl at the Moon (yes, really).
- Bourbon Street has plenty of cops ready to arrest you for public intoxication.
- Washington Ave. has plenty of cops ready to arrest you for driving while intoxicated.
- Washington has plenty of attorneys advertising their DWI services… point goes to Washington?
- Let’s talk about that Bourbon Street smell a little more…