Tucked away near East TC Jester and W 20th with a convenience store for a neighbor sits one of the Heights’ most unassumingly charming bars — Providence. Owned and operated by a fantastic female duo, I have been watching this bar mature for about two years now and can absolutely label it one of my go-to favorites. No, you won’t find a high-paid mixologist behind the bar crafting complex concoctions that challenge cocktail culture, but what you will find is a friendly face who knows all your favorite drinks and is happy to pour you one of their local craft beers from their short tap selection. A long list of bottled and canned beer and frozen drinks round out their beverage menu. Speaking of their frozen drinks, and I can’t stress this enough, they are boozy. Not like “wow, this is strong” boozy, I’m talking about “holy shit, this has a ton of alcohol in it” boozy. They’re the perfect choice on a hot Houston summer afternoon while you sit out on their covered patio and enjoy some day baseball.
Which brings us to Providence’s happy hour — it’s fantastic. I am a sucker for any bar that offers weekend happy hours but Providence not only offers a Saturday and Sunday happy hour, their weekend happy hours are generous. How generous? From their noonish open on Saturdays until 7pm and all-day on Sundays generous. Breaking down their happy hour discounts, you will find that Monday through Friday, and Sunday, you can enjoy $3 Miller Light drafts, $2 off wine by the glass, $5 off bottled wine, wells for only $3.50, and $10 pizzas. Saturdays are more limited but we won’t complain about $1 off pints.
As far as amenities go, Providence provides plenty to do for your crew while they relax and enjoy a few drinks. Providence offers up their version of a college living room with televisions featuring retro video games (e.g., Mario Kart 64 and NES classics), table tennis (for which they occasionally bring a second table and host casual tournaments), two dart boards, and Golden Tee. We’ve also heard from their staff that Foosball tables and tournaments are in the works. As if all these weren’t enough to entertain you, the entire bar is filled with large HDTVs playing every sporting event imaginable and the staff are always happy to switch a game over for you if you’re a fan and don’t see your team.
It’s easy to miss Providence, sandwiched between the like of McIntyre’s, Wicklow Heights, and King’s BierHaus, so I’d understand if you’ve never noticed it before. Hell, half the charm of Providence is that it feels like a gathering spot, and not like an over-designed bar competing in Houston’s thriving bar culture. But if you’re reading this and don’t put it on your list of places to try in the Heights, y’all are missing out. One last thing: if Gus is lazing around, make sure to give him a gentle scratch between his old ears.