Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
Effective March 20th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had signed an executive order to ban gatherings of 10 or more, and dining-in restaurants. Gyms were closed, along with bars.
In May retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, museums, libraries and bars began to reopen - but on June 26th Abbott shut down bars to contain a state-wide Texas coronavirus spike, expressing regret about the reopening process he'd encouraged, allowing bars to open so quickly. Restaurant capacity was reduced back to 50%, and outdoor gatherings of over 100 people have again been banned, unless approved by local officials.
In a major reversal to take effect July 3rd, Abbot ordered face coverings to be worn in public across most of the state, in an effort to control rising numbers of newly confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus hospitalizations. The order requires “all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive Covid-19 cases, with few exceptions.” Violators can be fined up to $250.
Hipper by far than you might expect, Houston is a welcoming place where it's virtually impossible to remain a stranger for long. The small-town feeling contrasts with this big city's soaring skyline, world-class arts, and cuisine that's as sophisticated and varied as you'll find anywhere. The bar scene is varied too, from clubs catering to cowboys, leather guys, bears, and Latinos, to upscale lounges in the style of New York or LA, plus retro-music and alternative/arts venues. The Pride Houston Festival Day takes place the last week of June each year in the Montrose neighborhood, with lots of food, music and festivities. Q-Fest is the annual July LGBT film festival. There's a night-time Pride Parade too. See our listings for more events.
Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport has METRO Bus 102 serving the airport and surrounding vicinity with multiple stops en route to the METRO station downtown. The fare is $1.25 (pay the driver - cash only). From there Metro rail trains connect 44 stations on three lines.
A car is a must for getting around Houston's sprawl. But if driving, observe the posted speed limits. Police here are vigilant. Metro has a fleet of buses and a rail network of three lines, red, green and purple, with 44 stations for getting around the city.
Bike sharing in Houston is called B-cycle. For short trips in and around downtown Houston and surrounding urban areas, 24 hours a day, members can pick up one of 425 bikes at any of the 51 B-stations and return it to any other station when finished at no charge up to a 60 minute limit - after which additional fees kick in. See details at their website.
What to do
If you're in the mood for some world class theatre, check out the Alley Theatre with ActOUT events and productions for Houston’s LGBT theater fans and friends. The Hobby Center presents uniquely Houston performing arts productions. And of course the place for hitting a high-C is the Houston Grand Opera, a must for opera buffs.
Montrose. Houston's gay community is located largely in the Montrose area. Here you'll find many shopping, dining and cruising opportunities. The Galleria on the West Side, minutes from Montrose, is a great one-stop shopping destination, with 375 stores, restaurants, and entertainment.
Media & Resources
MyGayHouston is a useful LGBT website guide to the city, with dining, arts, hotels, shopping and nightlife tips and events listings.
Pride Houston sponsors annual charity events, LGBT-support and -counseling networks. The Pride Celebration is typically held the last Saturday in June to commemorate Stonewall, with a parade that evening after sunset.
The Houston Bears, along with Leather Bear Productions, sponsor events throughout the year, including picnics, charity fundraisers, Bear Watch, Bear Tubing, Bear Games, monthly Bear Busts and other social gatherings - see their calendar.
The Houston Press and the Free Press Houston are mainstream sources of news, local intormation, music, arts, restaurants and events around town. Visit Houston is another useful site for out-of-towners.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Houston listings pages.
Hotel Derek + Revolve Kitchen & Bar 2525 W Loop S; 866 292-4100), 314-rooms and suites, adult-only, gay-friendly boutique hotel; Southern Classic with a Texas twist restaurant, bar/lounge, pool and terrace.
Hotel Sorella (800 W Sam Houston Pkwy N; 866 842-0100) gay friendly, luxurious but affordable hotel in City Center development, a few miles from the energy corridor.
Modern B&B (4003 Hazard St; 800-462-4014) four-story alternative bed and breakfast just west of Montrose scene, artwork, exercise, shady veranda, panoramic views, healthy organic breakfast.
Robin's Nest (4104 Greeley St; 800-622-8343) gay-friendly Montrose area guesthouse, deep whirlpool & soaking tub optional rooms, suites, apartments for extended stays, weekend getaways.
Bars and clubs
Barbarella (2404 San Jacinto), video dance mixed crowd dive bar import from Austin, with soul, rock, '80s, disco nights, New Noise Fridays.
Blur (710 Pacific, at Crocker) nightly young crowd dance parties, multi-level complex, hip-hop to reggaeton, wide range of music each night, amateur dance contests.
Crocker Bar (2312 Crocker), Montrose sports hangout, mostly men, amateur talent contests, strong drinks at good prices, internet jukebox, karaoke, pool games, darts, big patio, free WiFi.
Crystal (6680 Southwest Fwy), Latino video and dance club in Bellaire, Wednesday and Saturday male dancers, live entertainment and talent shows, drag shows. Miss Gay Texas pageants.
Eagle Houston (611 Hyde Park), men's leather bar/club night, daily noon-2am, big-screen TV sports, garden patio, leather/fetish shop, special holiday parties. At old 611 Club site.
Etro Lounge (1424 Westheimer Rd), retro '80s music lounge, true fans of the music DJs, 2 floors, covered patio seating.
George (617 Fairview), gay sports bar, country & western music, internet jukebox, pool tables, drink specials, down-home feel.
Hamburger Mary's Houston (2409 Grant, Montrose), restaurant/bar Dining with Divas, drag brunch, sing-alongs, comedy, games, Male Reviews, Pride events.
JR's Bar and Grill (808 Pacific St) very popular, hot young professional crowd, heart of gay Houston, karaoke, martinis, drag shows, amateur strippers and go-go boys.
Michael's Outpost (1419 Richmond), sing-along piano bar, popular early evenings with somewhat older crowd, pool tournaments.
Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon (11410 Hempstead Hwy), Country & Western music club, line dancing lessons, live bands comedy and performers, bingo, steak nights, men.
Rich's (2401 San Jacinto) - CLOSED - big gay dance club and video lounge; Latin Heat, 18+ College Nights, go-gos and shows. Hot Tea dance, Video Lounge/ Show Bar.
Rebar (202 Tuam St, Montrose), new gay club opened by the Rich's team, at the old F-Bar location.
Ripcord (715 Fairview) famous Levi/leather/uniform amd bear events, home of the LUEY contest, long-time Montrose favorite of over 25 years, pool tables, patio, cruisy crowd lingers weekend after- hours.
South Beach (810 Pacific), two-level dance club at the center of gay Montrose, 18+ nights, Latin nights, drag shows, underwear blackout parties, wet-boxer strip-offs, Stripper Circus. Open Thursdays through Saturdays 9pm to 4am. CLOSED but scheduled to reopen February 2020.
Tony's Corner Pocket (817 West Dallas), downtown patio bar with a view, Houston Area Bears' home bar, weekend amateur strippers, shows, pool games, darts, Diva Bingo.
Viviana's (4624 Dacoma St), weekend Latin dance club with afterhours unil 5am; Friday/Saturday drag shows and Sunday male strippers.
CLOSED: Bayou City Bar & Grill (2409 Grant, Montrose) restaurant/bar; Club 2020 (2020 Leeland St) 18+ hip-hop dance club; EJ's (2517 Ralph), strippers, dancing, games; F Bar (202 Tuam St), dancing, cocktails, drag; Meteor (2306 Genesee), 18+ mix, male shower dancers, drag; Montrose Mining Company (805 Pacific), bears, leathermen, strippers; TC's Show Bar (817 Fairview St), drag shows, karaoke, striptease; Thirteen, The Heights Bar (1537 N Shepherd), gay video bar, was In-n-Out; The Usual Pub (5519 Allen), women's music/party pub, music.
Spring, in the Northside of Houston, has two gay clubs: Ranch Hill Saloon (24704 I-45 North) with games, pool tables, karaoke, drag shows and theme parties; and The Room (4915 FM 2920 Rd) bar and video lounge with periodic drag shows and drag bingo, male dancers, Sunday karaoke and DJ music.
Baba Yega (2607 Grant St) burgers and seafood to veggie fare, Sunday brunch, central Montrose location
Baby Barnaby's and Barnaby's Cafe (602 & 604 Fairview St), side-by-side Montrose restaurants; lunch, dinner and big hearty breakfasts in Montrose with vegetarian options. Also with locations in Museum District, The Heights, River Oaks, Woodway, Midtown and Downtown.
Empire Cafe (1732 Westheimer Rd) European style, indoor or patio, early breakfast, weekend brunch. Pizza, paninis, pasta, coffee, cakes and deserts, wine, cocktails and coffee cordials, open weekends until 11pm.
Hollywood Vietnamese Restaurant (2409 Montrose Blvd) Asian cuisine, American favorites, tasty deserts and take-out at central Montrose location, open late.
House of Pies (3112 Kirby ) classic diner fare, 24-hour breakfast, dinner, burgers, BLTs, lots of fresh desert pies and cheesecakes, after-the-bars favorite.
Hugo's (1602 Westheimer Rd) big popular Montrose Sunday brunch buffet, quality out-of-the-rut Mexican lunch and dinner, cocktails, wine, tequila, live music.
Little Big's (2703 Montrose Blvd) juicy burgers, fresh-baked buns, hand-cut fries, and shakes -made Bon Appetit's Top 10 Burger list for the whole USA.
Mockingbird (1985 Welch St) delicious gourmet Texas-Provence cuisine, award-winning chef, casual setting.
Moveable Feast (Echo Lane Shopping Center off I-10) Mediterranean and South-of-the-Border specialties, beef & bison burgers, vegan/vegetarian, shrimp & fish, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, good desserts. Also a natural foods store.
Club Houston (2205 Fannin St), gym with free weights, machines, personal trainers, steam room, dry sauna, whirlpool, outdoor heated pool, sundeck, maze/video area.
CLOSED: Midtowne Spa (3100 Fannin St), sauna, indoor pool, workouts, garden patio, rooms. Shortly after the Midtowne group broke up, Midtowne Austin closed in July 2016, Houston in October 2016, and Dallas in May 2017. See Seedmyhole blog for local updates by a Houston local. For their remaining clubs in Denver and Los Angeles, see Midtowne Spa.