Downtown Houston is vibrant with new restaurants and bars to discover

After two years of pandemic challenges, downtown Houston is showing signs of a complete comeback: Astros bats are cracking in Minute Maid Park; Concerts and Broadway shows hit the band in the theater district; Discovery Green and Market Square are packed with family-friendly programs. According to Central Houston Inc. In 2021, recreational visits to the city center increased 62 percent over the previous year. Here are some new places to enjoy in the historic heart of the city.

Check out skyline views at this new upstairs bar and lounge on the 24th floor of the Hilton Americas. While guests on the hotel’s executive level floors have daily access to the gorgeous space, the R24 is open to the public from 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. It’s a civilized room, perched atop Discovery Green, where guests can enjoy craft beer, wine, and cocktails, such as Executive Eves Apple (apple whiskey, lemon, and agave), Houston Heat Wave (tequila, pineapple juice, lemon, and agave) and Surface Lemonade (vodka, mint, strawberry). 1600 Lamar hilton.com

pure black

Houston’s first black-owned urban winery has a tasting room offering wine tours, private wine tastings, and retail owned Pur Collection wines. Owned by Kenneth and Carissa Stevens, this spot serves wine made with grapes sourced from some of California’s most respected vineyards. Chardonnay, Merlot, petite syrah, cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel are represented in the Pur assortment, which also includes pink and sparkling wines. Tours are priced between $30 and $40 (suggested bookings); “Pur Matinee Tasting” $15 for 3 wines is a deal Tuesday through Friday 1-5:30 p.m. 802 mi; purenoirewines.com

Solicita

The owners of Frank’s Pizza on Travis have transformed the former silver space of Frank’s Backyard Bar into a charming Mexican street food restaurant with a taco truck and built-in Airstream trailer serving tacos and margaritas. The menu includes chips, guacamole, churros, tacos, carnitas-stuffed tortas, chicken tinga, beef, barbacoa, carne asada, roasted potatoes, mushrooms, and poblano chile. For drinks: aguas fresca, beer and disco (traditional, strawberry, peach, mango). It is an airy and lively space ideal for casual dining, lunches and dinners. 413 Travis; solecitahouston.com

Common Pond Brasserie

The first full-service lunch and dinner restaurant in the growing Common Pond empire, with its elegant design and small menu – think seafood towers, mole frites, beef tartare, roast chicken, and roast duck breast – it makes for the perfect pre-theatre dining. But happy hour on weekdays, served 4-6 p.m., is perhaps the greatest value downtown: $3 for a beer, wine, and $7 snacks, including chipotle eggs, crispy pork belly, warm cookie bites and crispy shrimp from Nashville. 800 Capitol Building; Commonbond.com

Angel Share HTX

OKRA Charity Saloon closed during the pandemic and reopened as Angel Share HTX with new owner, Mary Ellen Angel. But the bar’s original focus as a vote-with-your-drink charity bar that helps nonprofit groups in Houston remains. Buy a drink from the Charity Menu and get a ticket to vote for an organization that will receive 100 percent of the proceeds at the end of each month. daily happy hour from 4-6:30 p.m. with half draft beer, liquor, and wine by the glass; There are also frequent bingo parties. 924 Congress; angelsharehtx.com

Toro Toro

The Four Seasons property upgrade includes this international Latin steakhouse to replace the previous quattro on the third floor of the hotel. Partnering with celebrity chef Richard Sandoval, Toro Toro has a menu that includes smoked guacamole, blackened tuna sandwiches, ceviche and tiradito, sushi rolls and an array of grilled steaks. The completely redesigned space contains a welcoming central bar as well. 1300 Lamar torotorohouston.com

Postal Market

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