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800 W. Sam Houston Parkway N., Houston, TX 77024
Although it's smack dab in the middle of the suburbs, the Monnalisa feels immediately urban and sophisticated. Part of that is the cavernous, well-appointed bar itself that's centered around a massive fire pit and lined with semiprivate seating areas, all of which are supplied by a surprisingly excellent selection of beers (in bottle and on draft), wines and booze at the main bar. And part of that feel is the diverse blend of guests it draws at night -- true to the Energy Corridor setting, you won't find an all-white country club crowd here. On the weekends, the Monnalisa flings open its heavy wrought-iron doors to the cabana-lined pool of the Hotel Sorella, which overlooks the green lawn and busy shopping promenade of CityCentre below. This is when the Monnalisa really shines (and, coincidentally, when you can find sopping wet women in bikinis sidling up to the bar for a drink), especially if you're into a more South Beach vibe in your hotel bars. More dignified drinking can be accomplished during the week, of course, when the bar features great live music from the likes of David Beebe and Yvonne Washington.
Source: Houston Press
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