The ultimate guide to Houston’s weird, cool and strange bars

The ultimate guide to Houston’s weird, cool and strange bars

Some crave a more unique bar experience. Whether that be unusual architecture, original cocktail recipes or never-before-seen technology, Houston has it all.

Don’t believe us? Look no further than Notsuoh.

Located in one of Houston’s oldest buildings, Notsuoh serves as an artistic testament to the city’s history, catering to a diverse audience in a building that’s been largely unchanged for nearly 80 years. 

“It’s not, in my mind, just a bar,” owner John Pirtle said. “It’s a piece of social sculpture, a piece of art, and most bar owners don’t have that perspective of what they’re doing. They’re just trying to sell drinks.”

While Notsuoh is a testament to time, Shoot The Moon hopes to push Houston bars into the future.

Co-owner Kevin Floyd says his bar and restaurant is the state’s first to fully embrace self-pour technology.

Patrons at Shoot The Moon can pour their own beer, wine, spirits and cocktails, which became legal in 2019. Another Texas taproom offered self-serve beer first, but Floyd says his made history in offering a full self-pour bar.

“Whenever I got to a place I either want it to be really high quality and good, or I want it to be an interesting experience,” Floyd said. “I (expletive) hate places like Rainforest Cafe that (are) manufactured. There’s nothing authentic about it.”

Visiting an unfamiliar bar can be a risky proposition, but Floyd says it’s worth the risk. “It might have good reviews, it might be horrible, but at least it’s different and it’s authentic.”

So how do you go about finding a unique bar?

Lauren Blake, a frequent bar patron and part of Houston On the Cheap, helped us put together a list of some of the most unique bars in the Houston area.

“We’re all looking for the best place to connect with people we love or make new connections,” Blake said. “The most unique bars have to be somewhere that gives us a new flavor to rave about or an environment that gives us a story by the end of the night.”

See below for our list of Houston’s most unique bars, where they’re located and what makes them unique.

Notsuoh

The interior of Notsouh, a historic bar in downtown Houston at 314 Main St.

The interior of Notsouh, a historic bar in downtown Houston at 314 Main St.

Bill Olive/For the Chronicle

Address: 314 Main St
What makes it unique: Sometimes relaxing, sometimes frightening, Notsuoh offers patrons an almost guaranteed memorable night in a Houston building that was constructed in 1893. Notsuoh has frequent poetry nights, chess boards, and art that is sometimes alive.

Shoot the Moon 

Shoot the Moon, 8155 Long Point, is billed as Houston's first self-service bar where guests can serve themselves cider, beer, wine, cocktails and spirits from an automated tap wall.
Shoot the Moon, 8155 Long Point, is billed as Houston’s first self-service bar where guests can serve themselves cider, beer, wine, cocktails and spirits from an automated tap wall.Amy Scott

Address: 8155 Long Point Rd
What makes it unique: Owner Kevin Floyd wanted Shoot The Moon to be different from the start. The bar utilizes self-pour tap technology for cider, beer, wine, cocktails and spirits. It also uses access cards that unlock the tap system, allowing patrons to either test a small pour or go in for a full serving. 

Johnny’s Gold Brick

The interior of Johnny's Gold Brick, a cocktail bar at 2518 Yale, photographed on Friday, April 17, 2015, in Houston.

The interior of Johnny’s Gold Brick, a cocktail bar at 2518 Yale, photographed on Friday, April 17, 2015, in Houston.

Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Address: 2518 Yale St
What makes it unique: When owner Benjamin Mason opened Johnny’s Gold Brick in the Heights, he wanted to make a friendly neighborhood bar that also has great cocktails. The bar separates itself from other neighborhood bars by having a new menu every month, where bartenders are required to come up with a new cocktail. According to Mason, Johnny’s will have up to eight new, original cocktails each month for patrons to try.

Lei Low

The interior of Lei Low, a Tiki bar in the Heights at 6412 N Main St Ste.C. 

The interior of Lei Low, a Tiki bar in the Heights at 6412 N Main St Ste.C. 

Ryan Nickerson, Houston Chronicle

Address: 6412 N Main St Ste.C
What makes it unique: Owner Russell Thoede says that his Heights tiki bar has the largest selection of rum in Texas and the decor allows patrons to escape into a world of relaxation. Although Lei Low is tucked away in the Heights in an unassuming building, Thoede says it’s in a premier location for tiki culture enthusiasts from all over the world.

Moon Tower Inn

Moon Tower Inn at 3004 Canal St

Moon Tower Inn at 3004 Canal St

Ryan Nickerson, Houston Chronicle

Address: 3004 Canal St
What makes it unique: Ever had a rabbit hot dog? Not only does Moon Tower Inn have an overwhelming number of beers and ciders on tap, patrons can also browse through an expansive food menu that includes duck, rabbit, pheasant, lamb, wild boar and other types of hot dogs on pretzel buns. 

Brass Tacks 

Butterfly pea vine lemonade at Brass Tacks in EaDo

Butterfly pea vine lemonade at Brass Tacks in EaDo

Alison Cook / Staff

Address: 612 Live Oak
What makes it unique: Brass Tacks combines work and play with an all-day cafe that has high-speed internet, lounges, a boardroom, event space and a cocktail bar. Housed in a building that was built in 1938 in EaDo, Brass Tacks serves young professionals who are fueled by coffee by day and booze by night.

Powder Keg

A new dog-friendly bar with volleyball courts has opened at 1300 Brittmoore Rd. in west Houston.

A new dog-friendly bar with volleyball courts has opened at 1300 Brittmoore Rd. in west Houston.

Courtesy

Address: 1300 Brittmoore Rd
What makes it unique: Powder Keg has 4 sand volleyball courts, a dog park, an event space, live music, food trucks, and affordable and unique cocktails, beer and wine. Kids are also welcome until 9 p.m.


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