November 23rd, 2010

Home For the Holidays

There’s one universal truth about the holidays: It’s impossible to get through them without the help of a good bar. I think the most depressing part of the holidays is being stuck in a house full of people and realizing that you’re related to them and that these are the genes that you’re going to pass along to your kids. It hits you flush in the face that both you and your offspring are screwed. If ever there was a good reason to opt for adoption.

While a psychologist is probably more therapeutic in the long run, a good night of drinking is cheaper and easier, and if I’ve learned anything in my time on this planet, it’s that I’m looking for cheap and easy. In anticipation of the holiday orgy that kicks off with Turkey Day and doesn’t wrap up until the New Year’s hangover wears off, we’ve come up with a few places to escape the family and drink your troubles away this holiday season. So whether you’re coming back home for the holidays or this is your first visit to our beautiful city, The Loop Scoop’s going to help direct you where (or where not) to get shitty.

New Kid on the Block
Blue Moose Lodge just recently opened and serves as a host for all things non-douchey on Washington. If the most interesting man in the world went to a bar in Houston, it would probably be Marfreless, but the next night, he’d definitely hit up Blue Moose Lodge. With it’s good selection of beers and music, along with cool staff, it’s quickly become one of my go to destinations. This isn’t your dad’s hunting lodge, but he’d definitely have a drink with you there. As a matter of fact, if you’re feeling generous, take the ol’ man out for beer and you can talk about how crazy the holidays make Mom. Remember the year she stabbed the turkey and ran into the bedroom crying? Ahhh, good times. He talked her off the ledge that year, so you probably owe him a beer, at least.

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There She Blows

Anvil serves some of the best cocktails in Houston hands down, but the scene can be pretty pretentious, especially on the weekend. If you’re looking for a fine crafted drink with a little less of hoity-toity, belly up to the bar at Under the Volcano. With it’s laid back atmosphere, it’s a great place to meet a group of friends and find a seat without having to compromise on the quality of your drinks. Just order a Strawberry Basil Margarita and thank me later. Added bonus is you can be comfortable coming from a swanky, how-do-you-do Christmas party or a white trash turkey bash. They welcome all comers.

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Circus Circus

Everyone knows about the Continental Club, but it’s sister bar, Shoeshine Charlie’s Big Top Lounge, is really where it’s at. Mix a little hipster, a little dive bar, and a lot of Circus and you get Big Top. Sit at the bar or bring your friends, you’ll definitely have a great time, unless you’re scared of clowns, then it might not be the destination for you. Don’t forget to check out the Chuck E. Cheese style musical rat band over the entrance. It’s one of my favorite parts of the bar.

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No Place Like Home

The Loop Scoop Favorite, Petrol Station, is one of those bars that whether it’s your first time or 8,976th time through the doors – the place definitely inspires a certain level of fanaticism – you feel right at home. If it’s your first time, you probably won’t find a stool with your name on it, but they’ll certainly pour you a nice cold beer or two. Don’t expect your typical watered down lite beers, they serve only premium micro brews and they rotate the beers quite regularly. The best thing about Petrol Station is that they serve one of the best burgers in Houston, the Rancor, so if Mom’s cooking leaves a little to be desired or your fat uncle hogs all the leftovers you‘ll be taken care of.

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Hiding in Plain Sight
When your plan is to get blasted out of your mind and you don’t want anyone you know to see you, Shady Tavern is the place to be. Situated in the Heights, Shady Tavern is a drinkers paradise. No fancy decorations or pretense, just booze and drinking. Look, the holidays are a stressful time, I get it! Sometimes you need to just get away and drink yourself silly and you don’t want your cousin telling everyone what you did with the turkey when you were drunk. (You really should be ashamed of yourself, by the way.) Shady Tavern is more than a suitable haven for those long holiday weekends, and as long as you disable the GPS tracker on your car, no one will find you. It’ll be your own piece of Heaven, till they close that is. Just make sure you call a cab!

Party Like it’s 1999

We know. You graduated from college, moved away and now you have a job but you’d still rather spend your Holidays at your old Fraternity house. Unfortunately, the guys call you “Old Balls” and the girls think you’re a creeper. Apparently, life isn’t a Will Ferrell movie. Look, not everyone grows up, we understand. That’s why there’s Cheerz (yes, it’s spelled with a “z” and no, we don’t know why) in Midtown. Complete with a cheesy mural, this bar will bring you back to your heyday, you know, when Cheers was actually still on the air. Brought to you by the same people who created the psuedo western “gem”, Rebel’s Honky Tonk, it’s no surprise that this place lacks any character imaginable. Cheerz is where you go when you don’t want anyone to know your name in the morning.

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name
If you’re really looking to go old school, there’s nothing like the Marquis II. Yes, it’s still there and yes, it still smells like smoke, vomit and spilt liquor, but they card now! How crazy is that? They’re still serving those lethal LIT’s and if you can drink more than one, you’re a better man than me, Charlie Brown. The best thing about the Marquis is the number of nights that either started or ended there that have been lost in the sands of time. They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well, the Marquis has got Vegas beat, because no one remembers what happened at the Marquis.  Which begs the question, if I don’t remember it, did it really happen?  Ponder that question over a tall stiff Long Island Ice tea and the holidays will be gone before you know it!

— Marc

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