Cottonwood Houston – Review
Cottonwood is a place that has something for everyone, and another one of my favorite spots. Great drink selection – check. Solid food – check. One of Houston’s best patios – check. Cottonwood appeals to so many interests, which is why it’s hopping most evenings with a diverse fan base. The whole place just works and everyone I’ve invited to Cottonwood leaves the place happy and impressed.
Getting to Cottonwood is the hard part. It’s located in an odd location off to the side of Shepherd Dr., near the railroad underpass close to W. 34th St. See the map below (courtesy of Cottonwood’s website) that shows you how to find your way safely to Cottonwood where you’ll be rewarded with a large parking lot for your journey.
The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive will probably be Cottonwood’s sprawling patio. They easily have one of the largest and best patios in town. There’s multiple areas for seating, one large area of which is covered and faces a stage. There’s also trees and umbrellas to provide extra shade.
The property has a gateway to adjacent Graham Park allowing easy walking access for local residents. Cottonwood is child and pet friendly; expect to see plenty of both until later in the evening. The gigantic patio space also leaves plenty of room for multiple games of cornhole, as well as giant jenga and a foosball table. A second outside bar opens up during events. A huge, vibrant mural by local artist Gonzo247 featuring Saint Arnold and visual references to the Astros and Oilers is a cool sight to look out for near the stage.
Probably 80% of the property is taken up with outside area, but there’s also an inside area that features a large bar and a combination of booth and table seating. There are a few TVs inside, as well as a few in the covered portion outside, but the vibe isn’t “sports bar” and feels more of a comfortably casual blend of “icehouse meets gastropub”. The interior is pretty sparse except for some really cool lighting, with high ceilings making the space seem very open. Cottonwood is in a reclaimed building the frame of which is visible, giving a touch of an industrial look to the mix.
This is one of the best craft beer places in Houston to catch live music and the kicker is that there’s never a cover charge! Usually a couple of nights a week minimum feature music, but the nights vary (usually some combo of Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), so check their schedule on Facebook. In addition to live music, Cottonwood often features pint nights, tap takeovers and other special events. I’ve also noticed Cottonwood is a very popular choice for corporate and family events.
The food at Cottonwood is another big reason to visit. Their house burger, called The Squirrel Master, is a Texas Monthly top 50 burger and is easy to recommend. It’s poblano stuffed, and topped with a jalapeno fried egg, pepper jack cheese, and bacon. Lately I have really been enjoying their Burger of the Week (see pics of a few of those below) which always delivers and usually features unique ingredients.
If you’re not a burger fan, I also really enjoy their sandwiches. The Turkey Panini and Sloppy Jo-Jo, a braised brisket sandwich topped with a fried egg and fried onions, are amongst my favorites, but you can’t go wrong with any of the options. The menu isn’t huge but they also have three flavors of wings, quite a few appetizer options and a couple of other odds and ends like fish tacos and, The Sancho, a 1/2 Black Angus hotdog with Tex-Mex toppings. Friday and Saturday night, Cottonwood switches to a late night menu from 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM that features a more limited selection. Sundays from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM is brunch time in which the menu includes brunch items in addition to the majority of their regular menu. The brunch menu features Tex-Mex and more traditional breakfast options. My favorite is the Green Migas which feature scrambled eggs and poblano cheese grits in a salsa verde, as well as two sausage links.
Cottonwood has 42 taps that are dedicated to craft beer including two casks and a nitro tap or two. The majority of the taps are usually Texas beers, but many popular and some more obscure brews from outside the state share tap space. During my last visit Brash, City Acre, Holler, and Saint Arnold were some of the local breweries represented. The remaining taps featured a solid selection of Texas and national craft. The variety of beer is never an issue and they always seem to have at least a couple of beers for each type of broad category. For the non-beer drinkers Cottonwood also has an excellent selection of spirits, especially whiskey. They usually have a couple of unique frozen drinks to choose from as well. There’s also wine and cider options. Check out the awesome tap list here: Beer Menu!
Cottonwood has been one of my stand-by places for years. It works just as well as a place to catch a casual lunch, grab a few drinks after work or spend the afternoon with a group of friends. Cottonwood is a great place, and especially enjoyable while the weather is nice.
Address: 3422 N Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77018
Hours: Mon-Thurs – 4 PM – 12 AM; Fri-Sat – 11 AM – 2 AM, Sun – 11 AM – 12 AM
Monday – Half Off a Selected Whiskey
Tuesday – Steak Night
Friday – $5 Frozen Drinks