Food Life + Arts

The pub crawl of a lifetime

celtic gardens1

Celtic Gardens is an Irish Pub located on Louisana street that was established in 2011. It features a spacious patio for outdoor dining (4700 square feet) as well as 24 draft beers and an additional 23 bottles. | Jimmy Moreland/The Cougar

Little Woodrow’s


Little Woodrow’s has turtle races, the washers game, and $4 burgers ready in minutes. | Jimmy Moreland/ The Cougar

Why: Accurately known as Midtown’s patio, Little Woodrow’s is the bar to loosen up your group and get you in the mood to tackle Midtown. It has ample space inside and out for a range of party sizes and a well-stocked bar sure to satisfy craft beer lovers and cosmopolitan drinkers alike. You’ll come because you’ve heard of the Thursday night turtle races, but it’s Little Woodrow’s familial atmosphere and sprawling patio that’ll keep you trudging back in at the end of the night.

Price: $-$$

What makes this place unique: The only bar where you can do more than drink and sing. They’ve got turtle races, washers boards set up and an open grill spit with $4 (surprisingly good) burgers that are ready in minutes.

3rd Floor

Why: Located two floors above Pub Fiction, 3rd Floor is the place where those wealthy young professionals you’ve heard so much about come to kick back. Don’t let their Ernst & Young employee IDs fool you, though — the prices at 3rd Floor are surprisingly affordable, with several beers ringing in at only five or six bucks. It’s also the closest thing there is to a true “club” on this list, as you’ll probably see a lot of suits coming to enjoy the view of downtown Houston or take advantage of the dance space.

Price: $$

What makes this place unique: 3rd Floor’s extensive beer and wine list. It’s surprising, as many of the bar’s customers probably prefer cocktails and mixed drinks.

Howl at the Moon

Why: While the upfront cover and limited drink menu seems unattractive, Midtown’s high-energy piano bar makes up for it by making solid drinks and playing your wildest requests, such as — yes — the UH fight song. It’s an expectedly loud place, and you’ll bond with whoever you’re with by laughing at the fools on Howl’s karaoke stage. Loosen up after some liquid courage (might we suggest one of Howl’s signature buckets?) and make your way up to the stage, as it’s a rite of passage for any true Houstonian.

Price: $$-$$$

What makes this place unique: They’ll play anything, from the UH fight song to Demi Lovato

Celtic Gardens

Why: It’s an Irish Pub — need we say more? It’s got a considerably-sized deck stacked with plush red sofa loungers and lined with cozy booths, perfect for an intimate evening. Maybe it’s how the trees canvased in white Christmas lights drape themselves over the entire bar’s patio, or maybe it’s the fact that they’ve got 24 beers on draft and an additional 23 available on their “bottled” menu. Whatever it may be, Celtic is one of Midtown’s better bars for resting weary feet after killing it on Howl’s stage.

Price: $$

What makes this place unique: The Cruzan Mango Mojito — it’s the best mojito this writer has had.

Honorable mentions:

Bar Munich: This is a bar where you’re not drinking just a pint, but liters at a time. Bar Munich isn’t particularly busy nor does it have the biggest TVs, but the relaxed atmosphere, love of European soccer and excellent bratwurst make this German bar a nice break from the loud music party scene that consumes so much of Midtown.

The Dogwood: Dogwood’s atmosphere is one of Southern comfort and good eats, and they’ve got a burger topped with fried green tomatoes that’ll knock your socks off. Don’t come expecting a country joint, though, as it’s a fully-fledged metropolitan hot-spot with HDTVs and projectors lining their otherwise quaint second-story patio. Dogwood’s rustic-refined atmosphere brings in a wide variety of twenty-somethings all looking for the same thing: quality service, quality drinks and a good time.

Doesn’t live up to the hype:

Pub Fiction: It’s a testament to Pub’s shortcomings that there are plenty of seats available in the peak hours of their Thursday night karaoke. Granted, it’s a sports bar, but Pub brings nothing new to the table in terms of aesthetics and drink selection. You go in, you sit, you drink and you wonder how this place survives when the Texans aren’t playing. Only go here if Pluckers is too full and you need to catch the end of the fourth quarter. Even then, don’t expect much.

Gaslamp: We were initially sold on Gaslamp, as its floors are lined with lush Persian rugs, dimly lit with delicate Victorian chandeliers. It’s got potential in terms of aesthetics, but Gaslamp fails to seal the deal through their poor service, sub-par drinks and unshakably boring atmosphere. This is a place to grab an Instragram photo on its second-floor patio overlooking the skyline. Other than that, it doesn’t come close to stacking up against Midtown heavyweights.

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