Boys’ Weekend in Houston

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Ready to revel in a weekend with your boys? Houston delivers with unique attractions and a nightlife scene that keeps the party going into the wee hours.

FRIDAY

NOON After you’ve checked into your hotel, you’ll want to grab lunch. Head over to Lankford Grocery for a juicy burger in the middle of one of Houston’s gayborhoods, Montrose. Lankford is ranked one of the best in town and was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Look- ing for fare a bit lighter? In that case, pay a visit to  Barnaby’s Café, also a Montrose hotspot. This snug little diner features fresh, uncomplicated, contemporary food. Plus, the service is quick, and the price is right.

2 P.M. If you’re paying a visit to Houston, you’ve got to at least consider buying a pair of boots. And what better place to look than Cavender’s Boot City, a one-stop shop for the urban cowboy. Another option for a slightly higher-end experience? Pinto Ranch in the Galleria area offers beautifully designed boots, belts, buckles, and apparel.

5 P.M. One of Houston’s newest gay clubs, F Bar, also has one of the city’s best happy hours. Pretty much everything is half-off from 5–10 p.m. F Bar opened in the spring of 2011 to rave reviews and is drawing a regular crowd. The happy hour scene is chill and relaxed, with the patio being great for people watching. The action definitely heats up later in the night.

7 P.M. In a town known for excellent food from all over the world, picking just one place to eat can be a challenge. If you want to go the local route, check out Benji’s in Rice Village for great ambiance and a unique American bistro menu. The upscale casual favorite also features a stylish lounge and a lively weekend brunch scene. For a different take on traditional Tex-Mex, try celebrity Chef Bryan Caswell’s latest venture, El Real, inside a historic theater space in Montrose.

10 P.M. Start off the evening at a Houston institution, JR’s. This quintessential gay hangout with Southwestern-inspired decor and a fabulous patio has been a staple for the gay community for more than three decades. In- expensive drinks and a good mix of music and videos keep locals and visitors alike coming back. Next, head to the ultra-hip Vue Nightclub, which overlooks Buffalo Bayou and downtown Houston.

Drama queen living in a big Southern mansion. Well no one’s bringing back the Old South (too many petticoats, not enough vodka), but you can get a taste of aristocratic charm at Bayou Bend, the sprawling estate and cultural mecca in Houston’s Memorial Park.

NOON Houston is a culture-rich town, and perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the Museum District. Check out the Museum of Fine Arts Houston for its treasure trove of art through the ages. Or perhaps the Houston Museum of Natural Science is more your speed. HMNS is one of the most heavily visited museums in the U.S. and features the Wortham IMAX Theatre, the Burke Baker Planetarium, the Cockrell Butterfly Center, permanent exhibit halls and traveling exhibitions. If you have more time, consider purchasing a Houston CityPASS, which gives you access to these attractions, Space Center Houston and more!

3 P.M. Hailed as one of the best museums of its kind in the world, The Menil Collection is a treasure. See the life collection of Dominique and John de Menil, from antiquity to über-modern works.

5 P.M. You won’t find a more civilized place for drinks than Anvil Bar & Refuge. This former tire-store-turned-hotspot on Lower Westheimer serves up a wide array of creative cocktails developed by master mixologist Bobby Heugel.

7 P.M. “Damn good food, drinks and fun” is the motto of Beaver’s Ice House. Opened by famous local chef Monica Pope (of t’afia), Beaver’s is an upscale (food wise) version of an ice house and barbeque joint.

9 P.M. Even city boys need a little two-steppin’ excitement every once in awhile. Located in a bustling area of Midtown, Brazos River Bottom (BRB to regulars) has remained a staple since opening more than three decades ago. This is where guys go to two-step. Just a few blocks away is F Bar, which is packed on Saturday nights. Try one of their signature margaritas. Down the street is another Houston staple, Meteor, which has live performances to keep you entertained. Finish off the night with some dancing at South Beach in the heart of the gayborhood, or head over to House of Pies–one of Houston’s best diners–for a late-night bite.

SATURDAY

9 A.M. Assuming you handled last night like a pro, pay a visit to Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber, the proprietors of Revival Market on Heights Blvd. These guys have developed an entire grocery store around mostly local, organic products. Have a cup of coffee and a homemade biscuit in the café to start a day of exploring.

10:30 A.M. Go ahead and admit it. Ever since you were old enough to work your parents’ VCR, you’ve dreamed of being Scarlett O’Hara, a center-of-attention

SUNDAY

10:30 (or 11ish) A.M. Cool and hip, but still relaxed–you’ll love the bottomless mimosas at Farrago. For something a little more refined, head to Brennan’s of Houston. This New Orleans-style fine dining restaurant is known for long, sumptuous brunches. In the dining room, windows that were once camou- flaged have been revealed, eye-catching chandeliers glitter from above and chic, wingback chairs fill the space.

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