Listen folks, we are in the midst of the new roaring 20s, hot girls summers, vaxxed and outchea’! As a Houstonian I have been thoroughly enjoying what my city has to offer this year and noticing a lot of new fun places that happen to be black owned. A friend of my encapsulated this moment so well, stating that Houston is undergoing a Black Renaissance! While there are still struggles within the city such as genetrication, flooding, and necessary progressive reforms, in many ways Houston is booming floating on population growth. For me, a lot of the fun and excitement comes from watching the growth and diversity of the black owned businesses in the city. While I generally highlight the restaurants, I wanted to take a moment to highlight Black Owned Houston Nightlife!
Occasionally, I get push back from the internet when I call for supporting black businesses. Support ALL businesses they say. What I challenge anyone with that stance to do is take a look at the businesses they frequent, from their cleaners to their dentist. Look at the ownership and see if it is reflective of the city you live in. That would require it to be about 50% women owned. With racial demographics it should be about 22% black owned in Houston, 7% Asian owned and 45% Hispanic owned. Unfortunately, colorblind patronage does not yield adequate representation, so for me I go out of my way to ensure that my dollar is supporting an array of businesses that reflects the diverse city we live in.
The other reason is, building black wealth. When you consider the fact that freed men and women never received their 40 acres and a mule, or that black successes such as the Black Wall Street in Tulsa were wiped out by racist mobs, we’ve never been able to fully anchor ourselves in this country financially. Even more recently, black business and farms struggle getting business loans to build these businesses. By supporting black owned businesses, I feel that we are pushing back and working to develop black wealth that lasts for generations to come.
My final WHY is this. We enjoy being in spaces that demonstrate our culture through food, music, drinks and even attire. Moreover, we want to be in safe spaces where we can be our full authentic selves. Do a line dance to Frankie Beverly that takes us back to our childhood while not being restricted by an oppressive dress code as opposed to bopping along to Sweet Caroline (no shade).
Whew! I know I got a little deep there before talking about going out and having fun BUT, sometimes you have to lay the foundation for WHY. Anywho lets get in to this list of black owned nightlife in Houston. A few things to note, many of these places are restaurants or coffee shops as well. But when the night time hour hits, the music gets turned up, chairs moved around and it is a whole different vibe! Since I typically stay within the loop when I go out, most of this list will be in the city and not the ‘burbs!
Located in Upper Kirby, Five Central is six venues in one giving you a little of everything under one roof. Within the space there is a restaurant (Upper Kirby Bistro), a cigar lounge (Downing Street Social Club), the Red Room, Elie Wine Room and V6. I will note that parking is a little pricey in this area so it may be good to carpool and/or uber.
Now what this list is likely lacking are clubs, because ya girl has never been one for clubs. I think it is the whole, “must wear heels” thing. However, to me the Address is probably the most club venue on this list if that is what you are looking for. It is a large space that offers happy hours, large tvs to catch sporting events, a Sunday brunch and of course a nightly club atmosphere. For my friends that trulyyyy are on the Houston nighttime scene, the Address seems to be one for their faves.
I have only visited A’dor once and it was during the day, so unfortunately do I don’t have too much commentary. I will say that we did have good time! One of the things that stands out to me about A’dor though is their large patio area which overlooks the street plus their location near midtown makes it a great option.
Bookmark this one for later as it has not reopened since the panorama started, but according to their Instagram, the owner plans to reopen it. When the world is fully open Alley Kat is a great Thursday night spot plus there is live music upstairs. There are typically three rooms and an outdoor space, so you can find a vibe that fits you. It is one of my goto places to take out of towners (featured here on my Houston Itinerary)
Located in the Downtown/Midtown area Amahle is probably one of Houston’s prettiest lounges. It literally has a pool! Amahle also seems to be the popular place for celebrities to visit and host gatherings. For example Wale performed there this weekend. Please note that they do have a dress code for their late night guests, so please read up on that before you visit.
I have not been to Atomic Bottle just yet, but my friends seem to like it. You can find Atomic Bottle over on the Richmond, an area that ebbs and flows in popularity. Based on social media though, Atomic Bottle seems to be more of the turn up if that is your thing. Oh and they have those cute cocktails in little Patron bottles!
If I have to pick one place with some of the funniest/fun memories for me personally it would be Bar 5015. The ownership changed a few years back and after a full remodel, the bar has a lot more patio space plus a full stage. It is one of the places that I always recommend particularly for a Sunday Funday or a fun evening in Houston.
In 2020, Bourbon Sizzler was my goto! I was itching to get out of the house, but as safely as I could. SO my friends and I would go to Bourbon Sizzler because it was never too full. Mostly known as a Caribbean restaurant, Bourbon Sizzler actually has a full bar and is open till 2am on Saturdays. You can find it near NRG, so if you happen to live in this area it is the perfect little Cheers bar for you with plenty of drinks specials and friendly staff.
Okay, yes Cafeza is a coffee shop and google will tell you that it closes at 4pm. BUT if you go over to their Instagram page, you will find that they open up late at night for various events including Jazz night on Mondays. You can find Cafeza near downtown and of course be sure to check out their Instagram for details on their events.
Cleo Lounge and Tapas
Look at me giving y’all suburban options! Cleo Lounge and Tapas is out in Pearland, but even if you are a city dweller it may be worth the drive. Their food is excellent and really stands out!
Calling all Hookah lovers, this is a spot for you. Cru is a franchise with locations all around the country. The Houston location, located downtown, opened recently and my hookah loving friends are big fans.
Day 6 Coffee
Houston’s newest black owned coffee shop, Day 6, is located in downtown. While their primary purpose is to serve up great coffee, at night time though they have live music and a whole different scene.
The last time I was in Faces, I was muchhhh younger and drawn to different things in night time fun. Well after the Faces closed, the owner of Bar 5015 across the street snatched it up and did a full remodel. I stopped by on opening day and was truly impressed with this beautiful space. It is gives you a higher end vibe plus it is 25+ and older. Double win in my book.
Grooves has been a staple for black folks in Houston for a longggg time. First up their after work happy hour draws a large swath of Houston’s black professionals. By night time, the networking/happy hour crowd shifts a bit to a more club atmosphere. In short, something for everyone.
I visited Kamp soon after they opened and gave details here in a dedicated blog post. Located in the Galleria area, Kamp provides guests a fun venue that really plays up on their “Kamp” theme. While it is a bar, they do have a full menu full of barbecue and other items fitting of their theme.
Found on MLK and OST, Local Seat is a favorite of so many of my good friends. Here, guests can enjoy karaoke during the week and stay till 4am over the weekends!
Another spot I have not visited in some time, but it still seems to pull a good crowd in Third Ward. Other thing I love about Live Oak is they are constantly revamping and remodeling to make their space more accommodating for their audience.
Lost and Found
Midtown remains one of Houston’s most popular areas for bars hopping and clubs. As such, many of us were thrilled to see a black owned establishment open up in this popular area. Lost and Found has a little of everything, unique cocktails and food, plus a sports bar feel as well. Check out my review from when they first opened here.
Olive + Twist
You can find Olive + Twist in Upper Kirby, one of Houston’s high end areas. Olive + Twist makes this list partly because of their fun Sunday brunch, but also because they are open late for those of you seeking a night time vibe.
Phil & Derek’s
Phil & Derek’s is another restaurant that many think of as solely a place to brunch, but they are too are also open late. Plus, if you have ever wondered to their space next door (check out the photos here), it is just screaming “night time hangout.” The live music in addition to their beautiful new patio, make this a great place to visit.
Another place with so many good memories! Prospect Park has two locations, one in the Willowbrook area and the other in the Galleria. For me, Prospect Park is the quintessential black owned sports bar. As such, you can have a great time during the day catching your favorite team, but also at night time.
The Spot Third Ward/The Spot EADO
THE Spot, just may be my favorite new spot in town. The original location in Third Ward holds a special in so many Houstonians hearts. The owners have now opened a new location on Emancipation (a few blocks from Grooves) that they now call The Spot EADO. Both locations are close, so I am not sure if they will keep them both open, but for now you can enjoy both. The new one though, is a beautiful space with a large bar, large dance floor and a decent size patio. It has only been open for a few weeks and already pulling a decent crowd. I look for it to be packeeeeddd by mid-summer.
Taste Bar & Kitchen
Another restaurant entry, but since they are open till 2am on the weekends Taste Bar and Kitchen might as well be added to the list! Their weekend brunch typically has a dj and it is rare that their patio is not completely full when I drive by. Come for the food of course (more on that here) and stay late for the drinks and fun.
Now I have not personally been to James Harden’s restaurant Thirteen just yet, but everyone who has gone has described it as more of a party/club with a full hookah bar. To add to the party atmosphere, Thirteen transforms to the Basement a full on club.
Trez Art and Wine Bar
A good wine bar always gives me what my bougie heart needs! Located on Studemont, Trez Art and Wine Bar offers guests a great weekend brunch, live music and one of Houston’s most popular DJs as their resident DJ. While it is a small space, it generally draws a decent crowd. Be sure to check their social media for their events and catch my review on their brunch here.
Turkey Leg Hut
Quickly becoming Houston’s most famous restaurant and an anchor of the bustling Almeda Strip, Turkey Leg Hut is open late (12am on weekends) and generally will have live music or a dj. So while many people go for the food, the crowd and music ensures a good time too.
A personal favorite of mine! Urban Social gives you the vibes of Davenports, but unlike Davenports it is black owned. It is a chill neighborhood bar located near Greenway Plaza, that you can wear just about anything and fit right in. Tuesdays and Friday nights have been my favorite nights so far.
Unwine is another black owned spot located on Almeda. This is a more chill atmosphere and will likely will trend older. Visit here to try some new wines and enjoy views from their rooftop.
To be clear, I only included black owned establishments not black frequented. If you are simply in search of a black crowd, there are plenty of places beyond this list. However this list includes over 20 businesses that are open late and cater to the nighttime crowd. There is a little something for everyone on this list folks!
Also please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list! If there are others that you have enjoyed feel free to drop their names in the comments.