Houston nightlife offers you any kind of Texas that you desire, from highfalutin' opera and ballet in the Theater District to your quintessential Dirty Southern culture, it's all here.
If you want Texas country music and dancing, Blanco's in River Oaks, for example, serves up national and local country acts in an intimate, lively atmosphere, or you can join the happy stompers always jam-packed into The Firehouse Saloon, located north of 59 and south of the Richmond strip. But don't forget you're in the fourth largest city in the nation. There's more. Rock and roll at Fitzgerald's on White Oak near the Heights, or scratch your indie itch at the Engine Room downtown next to the Toyota Center. Listen to R&B and blues classics on the jukebox, sample the excellent wine selection, and mingle with downtowners and the odd ghost left over from the pre-Civil War days of La Carafe in Old Market Square.
If your tastes are hip-hop, Houston is waiting for you. The 2007 Grammy winner Chamillionaire hails from Houston, and he's the heir to a homegrown lineage of mix-tape entrepreneurs, such as Mike Jones, who have gone on to national prominence. Mike Jones owns Club Ice Age in the Galleria area, an especially good spot to catch Dirty South and "screwed and chopped" (slowed down) styles, among others.
The Texas ice house tradition still survives in Houston, evolving from literal ice houses that became community gathering places for horseshoes, music and dancing, and very, very cold beer in the brutally hot summers. The West Alabama Ice House in Montrose is a thriving 75-year-old survivor with no-frills outdoor picnic tables where you can eat your barbeque and savor your icy cold beers, dance to the music sometimes, and enjoy a low-key mix of local regulars plus weekend visitors -- and your dog is welcome.
Houston also puts on the biggest Pride Parade in the Southwest, and its lesbian and gay bar circuit in the Montrose neighborhood is popular, too. Chances on Westheimer offers four different bars catering to women, stogie-smokers will like the atmosphere at Mary's Lounge, a gay Houston lounge institution, and the cruising is good at the South Beach dance club -- for women too on weekends. And if you want more, just wander down Westheimer and chances are you'll find it.