Big Top Lounge
Houston, TX 77002
- Patio/Sidewalk Dining
Houston Press' Description
The Big Top is the little brother of the Continental Club next door and the surlier cousin of uber-hipster watering hole The Mink around the corner. This block is one of Houston's most colorful, its restaurants and music venues teeming with life on the weekends. As hinted in its moniker, the Big Top is heavy on circus decor, festooned with dusty, quaint portraits and signs from that bygone yet uniquely American era of hucksters and freak shows. But that is just a small part of the bar's story. Live music happens most nights the Big Top is open, from garage-rock DJs to various Americana and covers acts playing under a big birdcage in the corner of the bar. If you feel like getting some fresh air under the stars, the back door opens onto the Continental's backyard and the outdoor Pachinko Hut bar.
Let Midtown get as gentrified as it can, certainly not a problem these days, but walking into the Big Top ("No phone, no pool, no pets") will always feel like being transported back to 1976. A toy store once upon a time supposedly the place that provided the inspiration for Toys "R" Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, no less the Big Top retains its playtime theme in everything... More >>
Let Midtown get as gentrified as it can, certainly not a problem these days, but walking into the Big Top ("No phone, no pool, no pets") will always feel like being transported back to 1976. A toy store once upon a time supposedly the place that provided the inspiration for Toys "R" Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, no less the Big Top retains its playtime theme in everything from the circus-themed paintings on the walls, leftover toys behind the bar and the circus-parade grillwork and elephant-trunk door handles out front. It's easily one of the darkest bars in town and, whether you're bellied up to the bar on one of the plush barstools or sunk into one of the booths, one of the most comfortable. The satellite radio is stuck on Sirius's '70s station, and frequent musical guests such as Peter & James (soft-rock piano/guitar request kings), the Light Rock Express (famous for their "Takin' It to the Streets" processional) and the Allison Fisher Band (vintage Gulf Coast R&B) keep the retro vibe intact without ever needing to fall back on the crutch of kitsch.
Tips from foursquare
The closest you can get to the circus without Barnum & Bailey. If the live pianists and pink elephants get to you, grab a cold beer (preferably from Saint Arnold, a local brewery), and a cushy seat.
sit on the throne!
Ahh for nights you aren't gonna remember. What happened?!
Excellent bartenders. Tip these folks big!
Most hipster bar in Houston. IMHO.
More Music Venues in Houston
Reviews and News
The Beans Fitzgerald's, January 17 Houston natives The Beans have been playing together only since 2010, but their raw, psych-driven... More on Big Top Lounge »
Houston has dozens of bars that are not also something else (restaurants, coffeehouses, etc.), just places designed for people to who want... More on Big Top Lounge »
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music... More on Big Top Lounge »