At Cloud 9 Hookah Lounge, patrons recline in a low-lit room full of comfy cushions and couches as they puff sweet-smelling tobacco from bubbling water pipes. They can relax as they exhale tendrils and clouds in flavors such as coconut, mango, mint, and jasmine, or they can experience a rush of citrus by inhaling lemon or orange tobacco or by smoking from a hollowed-out pineapple. Guests can enjoy the lounge during the week, or come on weekends for dancing and a live DJ.
Friendly, attentive staff help patrons by making flavor recommendations or blending ingredients into mind-blowing cocktails such as the orange-peach-vanilla Dreamsicle, or cinnamon-peach-vanilla Peach Cobbler. Visitors who pay an extra fee can rent out the secluded VIP room, a private paradise full of wall-to-wall black and white sofas.
With its weathered wooden bar, smattering of flat-screen televisions, and many tables and booths, Rocky's Bar & Grill exudes a thoroughly laid-back atmosphere where people can feel comfortable lingering over a drink with friends. The cooks embrace this same spirit as they prepare a menu of American and Tex-Mex finger foods as well as heartier meals. The selection includes shareable orders of cheese fries, nachos with chicken, and fried pickles, as well as burgers topped with everything from mushrooms and swiss cheese to bacon and jalapeño. Although the grill features two pool tables and four bouncy castles in the back room, it also keeps guests entertained by hosting special events throughout the week, such as poker nights, pub trivia, karaoke, and live bands.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
Served beside tiny pasta dumplings, the golden-fried Jäger Schnitzel looks even more massive than usual. Rumor has it that the mushroom-topped schnitzel is one of largest in Texas, so it should come as no surprise that it's the most popular dish at Bavarian Grill, an eatery that twice won GermanDeli.com’s designation as the Best German restaurant in America. Such recognition yields lofty expectations, which Bavarian Grill meets with ease thanks to multiple menus brimming with authentic south German cuisine. Guests will find the Jäger Schnitzel on the dinner menu, but 18 other types of schnitzels show up for Schnitzel Fest, a seasonal celebration held once each year. Oktoberfest, on the other hand, seems to be celebrated year round, fueled by a hefty list of German beers. Add in live accordion players and a plate of bratwurst-and-salmon-stuffed mushroom caps, and it’d be easy to imagine yourself transported to Germany, especially if your visit happens to coincide with National Wear Lederhosen Day.
It's hard to tell what folks love most about Katy Trail Ice House. It could be the patio—a homey, humble stretch of dirt covered in picnic tables, canopied by crisscrossing twinkle lights, and shaded by leafy trees—which was voted the city's best by D Magazine in 2012. Then again, it could be the bar, housed right beside the patio inside of an aluminum-covered barn. There, open to the outdoors thanks to two glass garage doors, customers can order drinks at a 50-foot bar stocked with 50 draft beers––a beer per foot, for those keeping track. Aside from the selection of brews––which include those brewed in the Lone Star state––the drink menu also features vodkas, whiskeys, tequilas, and even an oak rum, all distilled deep in the heart Texas. Of course, there's also the Texas-style BBQ to consider. Brisket, sausage, and ribs earned accolades from The Dallas Morning News, who called the spread "superb.” But the sustenance at Katy Trail Ice House isn't limited to saucy eats: burgers come loaded with jalapenos and jack cheese, mushrooms and avocado, or the restaurant's signature dark beer venison chili, while vegetarians enjoy meat-free sandwiches such as portabella burgers and ALTs (avocado, lettuce, and tomato).
Braised beef ribs dressed with smoked-gouda grits. Quail and okra fried Texas-style. Chicken tikka masala paired with naan. In a celebration of the spice and fried foods of the South, Pepper Smash reinvents classic regional dishes with playful twists while simultaneously borrowing from the cuisines of Europe and Asia. Behind a unique concrete-topped bar, bartenders blend bourbon and gin with fruit juices, herbs, and pepper, crafting cocktails bold enough to complement the kitchen's dishes and spicy enough to melt the ice trapping the mastodon in the basement. The bar's modern design mirrors the modern food: chandeliers illuminate hardwood accents and sleek metal bar stools. Above diner's heads, a collection of cocktail shakers occupy black and white comic cells.
Devoted diners may also download Pepper Smash's mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats.