Popular globetrotting pop collective Architecture in Helsinki transforms the upstairs stage of Houston's Fitzgerald's into a throbbing, futuristic discotheque as its latest tour storms American shores. Formed in Melbourne, the ambidextrous dance band stirs fans with a tornado of flamboyant sounds, infectious anthems, and commitment-free instrument swapping. With hits such as “Do the Whirlwind” and latest single “Contact High,” lead crooner Cameron Bird and his cakewalking team of tunesmiths tickle ear bones and rehabilitate ankles in support of its latest album, Moment Bends. During the kaleidoscopic performance, the band seduces dance floors with 10-foot hooks and sounds culled from hypnotic synths, romantic glockenspiels, and strummed chest hairs. Filling out the bill, Swedish dance wizards Lo-Fi Fnk enchant with instant club hits and songs for strobe-light campfires, and pop enthusiasts Dom charm with stargazing Casios.
Friends and strangers gather around outdoor picnic tables at Moon Tower Inn, clutching cold brews and artisan weenies (think duck sausage with apple brandy or rabbit with bacon, wine, and herbs) nestled in soft pretzel rolls. The all-alfresco ambience at this dive bar/restaurant makes any meal feel like a chummy backyard barbecue, but with the added appeal of more than 60 beers on tap, and no curse-laden tirades from apron-wearing dads. This unique set-up, along with a list of no-nonsense burgers, has made Moon Tower Inn a destination recommended by both the Houston Chronicle and The Wall Street Journal.
Beyond Poison Girl’s bright pink entrance, pretty much anything goes. The schedule of live entertainment includes everything from soul DJs to Willie Nelson tributes. Out back, corrugated metal walls fence in a patio that’s complete with Cabbage Patch dolls and a statue of the Kool-Aid Man.
Despite its fiery name, the Volcano is best known for its frozen cocktails. Signature slushes include strawberry-basil margaritas, frozen screwdrivers, and the Cuba Libre—an icy rum-and-coke concoction. The smoldering Day-of-the-Dead-inspired atmosphere is often stoked by live musicians such as the New Orleans Hustlers Brass Band.
Opened in 1847, the building that now houses La Carafe is among the oldest in Houston. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and some even claim to have seen ghosts on its empty barstools. Today, customers sip on wine as Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong croon from the jukebox.
The Continental Club isn’t shy about embracing its past, claiming to be Austin’s first true burlesque club. Since opening in 1957, the elevated stage has showcased some of the finest blues, rockabilly, country and swing music in the city. Vintage signs and posters of past performers line the perimeter, meaning burlesque dancers like Candy Barr share wall space with musical legends like Mojo Nixon. By the bar, a chalkboard lists the week’s musical lineup, while the back is filled with packed-together tables, encouraging visitors to trade their seats for the dance floor. Couples twirl and two-step while the bands play, lit ever-so-slightly by the red curtain sporting the club’s name behind them. In a separate room behind the stage, guests play pool while admiring the motorcycle that hangs from the ceiling.