It doesn’t get much more divey than Legend’s Jazz Café. Quite literally a rectangular room with a stage, the performers here (from straight-ahead jazz to contemporary jazz) put on an intimate show that’s geared towards the thirtysomething professional. Free Buffet on Friday nights makes it well worth the $10 cover, as does their personable bartender and her tiny selection of red and white wine. Except a surprisingly snoot-free crowd.
1004 N. San Jacinto
Though Sammie Relford, the namesake of the club (back when it was Sammies), may have left to open another venue (The Real Sammies, 711 Franklin), Faye Robinson and the Mid City Players respectably fill his shoes with their own brand of sweaty R&B covers. Fridays and Saturdays [unbold all the days in this piece] are never without a crowd and neither is their bar, which serves up the expected clubby drinks. Expect 25-35-year-old professionals.
711 Franklin St.
The (free) open mic night at Boheme on Wednesdays has grown into a mostly polished showing of some of Houston’s finer musicians. You’ll receive a mix of sounds, but you can expect the majority of the music to center around acoustic singer/songwriters. If nothing else, Boheme’s pomegranate mojito will help get you through any less-than-great acts. Expect an artsy, bohemian crowd.
307 Fairview St.
Owner Emman LeGrand has been a staple in the Houston’s burgeoning African party population for some time now, so when he was signed on as GM at Club Kalahari, the venue gained instant credibility. Of course, booking authentic Soukous performers from Africa has helped a bit too. Kalahari punch seems to be the drink of choice here, although their $3 beers are popular as well. Fridays are typically the busiest nights. Expect a decidedly African crowd.
15000 Bellaire St.
One of the more storied venues in Houston, LCC is home to hippies, a folklored history, and a menu of Mexican food. Wander towards the back of the venue to find a surprising mini-ampitheater-esque set-up that can be found hosting everything from folk rock to R&B. Beers, margaritas, and the occasional mixed drink rule here. Expect an earthy crowd.
1403 Nance St.