February 9th, 2012
Listomania: The Top Houston Patios for Spring Time
Houston’s own Punxsutawney Pig named Remley says winter is over. Suck on that, Eddard Stark. We’re throwing a springtime celebration of some great “patios” in Houston without re-hashing the classics everyone loves (West ‘Bama Ice House, ________, etc.). No, they may not all be patios in the literal sense; pack a picnic or sneak in your flask and coffee filled thermos, it’s all the same to us.
Under the Volcano
Bring: Your inclination for sweet concoctions; some old friends
Their skill with tropical cocktails is well known around Houston. The worn and often warped wood that makes up the front deck creeks with each step as if to welcome you again and again. The dimly colored lights and varied Dio de los Muertos accoutrements provide an evasive cloak; their nature so unique, you simply blend in as your merry existence goes happily unnoticed.
The Cullen Sculpture Garden
Bring: Patience for potential school field trips; spirit of exploration—there’s a lot around you
Where else are you able to relax, observe and dine among the work of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse? This Isamu Noguchi designed environment has been a staple in Houston’s Museum District since 1986. Grab a sacked lunch; drink in these surroundings.
Bring: Your drinker’s passport; big eyes for the bocce
It’s got over 130 beers by bottle or tap. Done? Not quite. It’s Houston’s lush green somewhat dry canopy shading you from all directions. It’s rows of picnic tables. It’s an easygoing crowd of fellow patrons. Throw open the doors on your entire afternoon and serve yourself a helping of Beer House hours.
The Black Labrador Pub
Bring: Your philosophical musings—you’re going to school
It’s the great oaks, ivy covered red brick walls and reasonable selection of beers that easily persuade this choice. Need I mention the Chicken Labrador, Bread Pudding or arsenal of British specialty dishes? Pull up a chair by the patio chess and be thankful you’re not in a car on Montrose or Main.
The only thing better than sitting in a plant nursery eating someone else’s deliciously topped hotdogs, is hanging out in your own back yard eating the dogs you just pulled off the barbie. But, you and I don’t have backyards. As for cooking—I’ll bet my left Ked that neither of us can touch the exquisite taste of the Ol’ Zapata.
Bring: Your decisiveness—the staff is rushed, they ain’t got no time for chat; a book
Yeah, the food’s good, in particular the Pizza Alsace. The beer selection is full of the usual suspects: Real Ale, Saint Arnold’s and the ever-present European imports. The coffee is passable. In this case though, the back patio IS Brasil’s charm, and for that, it deserves the nod on any patio list—Spring, Summer or Summer.
Cricket’s Creamery & Caffe’
Bring: Your healthy habits; a mind for people watching
This could’ve easily ended up as a simple walk down the cozy 19th Street strip with a cup of coffee or as the case is during White Linen Night, your choice of alcohol. Whether it’s the gelato, the impressively delicious vegetarian cuisine or the coffee; Cricket’s consistently delivers. It’s a sidewalk cafe, take it outside.
Byzantio Cafe & Bar
Bring: Your universal translator; appreciation of the Downtown skyline
The Greek food is as tasty as the coffee. Depending on when you show up, you might run into a quiet crowd, occupied only with themselves. Then other times, it’s a hookah party with club beats and half a dozen languages passing your ear. It’s a mixed bag, like Houston; we wouldn’t have it any other way.