An Insider’s Guide to Houston, Courtesy of the Four Seasons Concierge
Let Dylan Mihalco be your guide to speakeasies, rooftop patios and the best restaurants for any occasion
This is Concierge Confidential, a series in which we learn about a city’s best-kept secrets from people who specialize in exactly that: long-serving concierges from the swankiest hotels in town.
The Four Seasons Hotel Houston is 40 years old this year, and it’s celebrating the occasion with the completion of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar transformation. The renovation includes updates to all 289 guest rooms and 179 suites, plus new restaurants and bars, and even the addition of two golf simulators, where you can work on your game — or take a few swings between drinks. So yes, here’s plenty to do on the property, but given the hotel’s downtown location, there are also ample opportunities to get out and explore the city.
For both situations, guests enlist Lead Concierge Dylan Mihalco. He’s been with the Four Seasons for five years and a Houston concierge for seven, so he’s adept at pointing people in the right direction. Below, he shares his top tips for visiting Houston, from where to score good coffee and splurge-worthy dinners, to a couple bars where you can get in just the right amount of trouble.
What’s a unique service offered at the hotel that you probably won’t find elsewhere?
Four Seasons Hotel Houston is the first hotel to offer Topgolf Swing Suites. Our two simulator bays are located in Bayou and Bottle [the hotel’s whiskey-centric bar and restaurant] and offer the ability to virtually play world-renowned golf courses and other sporting games in an indoor VIP setting.
What’s an underutilized part of your hotel?
I have always loved that we offer personalized bourbon lockers to our guests for those special occasion spirits. Being one of the only locations in Houston that offer this service, you’ll never know whose name will be on the locker next to yours.
Where can a guest get a good cup of coffee nearby and go for a walk?
If you find yourself in need of a little caffeine, look no further than The Italian Job coffee shop. Located right across from Historic Market Square Park, this ideal location offers you a great opportunity to take a little stroll around the park and take in the beautiful historic buildings, such as the Market Square Clock Tower and La Carafe, a modest, candle-lit wine bar housed in what is believed to be the oldest bar in Houston, dating back to the late 1800s.
Where do singles hang out?
The Montrose neighborhood has a lot to offer singles and those looking for a night out on the town in its many restaurants and bars. Present Company has become a popular location to meet new friends and sip on cocktails with a very photo-worthy backdrop. And if you are in need of a nightcap, you must head over to award-winning Anvil.
What’s a restaurant that only locals go to?
If you are looking for a nice evening out but don’t want a lot of fuss, check out Nobie’s. Set in a former residence, this American-style restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a meal and a craft cocktail or two.
What about a late-night spot where one can get into a bit of trouble? (But not too much trouble.)
The perfect place for a little late-night fun is the River Oaks District. An upscale boutique shopping destination that is home to some of the best restaurants and bars in the city, it has quickly become the place to see and be seen. Start your night at MAD, a vibrant, buzzy atmosphere serving up Spanish tapas. End the night at Loch Bar’s whiskey bar and let the nightly live music take you away. If you can score a reservation, a seat at Bandista, our new speakeasy, is the best place to rub shoulders over an inventive craft cocktail.
Best cheap eats in town?
If you are in the mood for a casual yet delicious meal, I recommend Fusion Taco. Have a redfish taco and a margarita and you’re all set. Bosscat Kitchen and Libations is another favorite of mine if tacos aren’t calling.
Best high-end restaurant when you want to splurge?
Turner’s is one of Houston’s newer additions to the food scene, and it’s a must if you are out to impress. From the atmosphere and the food to the service and charm, Turner’s offers the ideal setting to splurge and impress your friends, family or loved ones. Of course, the tomahawk steak at Toro Toro is the ultimate in splurge-worthy tableside presentation.
Where should I go for a sunset cocktail?
Sunset Rooftop Lounge, located in East Downtown behind the convention center, offers one the best rooftop patios in the city, with an incredible skyline backdrop. If beer is more your style, head over to local Houston brewery Saint Arnold’s tap house for an ice-cold craft beer, and take in the gorgeous views of downtown from their patio.
What’s an under-the-radar neighborhood that deserves more attention?
EaDo is what Houstonians call East Downtown. Perhaps not as under-the-radar as it was a few years ago, EaDo has really developed into the next hot part of town. It features several delightful bars such as Miss Carousel and Chapman & Kirby and an array of hot restaurants like Nancy’s Hustle and Indianola. EaDo is also home to 8th Wonder and True Anomaly breweries and is within walking distance of three major sport stadiums: Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center and PNC Stadium.
What’s a fun cultural site that’s not mobbed with tourists?
Located approximately 30 minutes from the hotel, the San Jacinto Museum of History and San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site offer a family-friendly experience just a little off the beaten path. The monument is visually pleasing and the museum offers a trove of Texas’s rich history.
What’s an only-in-Houston experience you’d recommend to visitors?
You can’t visit Houston without visiting the Space Center. Space Center Houston is the home for NASA’s Mission Control and also boasts the largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples in the world, as well as an abundance of space history. It’s proudly one of Houston’s most popular attractions; this is an experience that is out of this world and one that can’t be missed!
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