El Big Bad
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Reservations available for Houston Restaurant Weeks only! Walk Ins Welcome!
Huge wrap around outdoor Terrace with incredible views of Downtown Historic District. Best patio Downtown. Regularly voted Best Margaritas by numerous publications throughout the city, state and beyond.
Ideally located in the Historic District between the Theater District and Market Square area of Downtown Houston, El Big Bad offers a one-of-a-kind drinking and dining experience for gatherings of all sizes and types. Open since December 2013.
For private event or catering inquiries call us, email us or visit our website.
Book your next event with us
- Surfaces sanitized between seatings
- Common areas deep cleaned daily
- Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
- Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
- Sealed or wrapped utensils used
- Limited number of seated diners
- Distancing maintained in common areas
- Extra space between tables
- Waitstaff wear masks
- Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
- Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
I made a reservation through OpenTable for a Saturday night at 7pm and El Big Bad did not honor the reservation because they were "too busy." The owner, Steve, told me seating was first come first serve, even though I had email confirmation that I booked a table with them. Frustrating. We just got drinks and queso and then walked around somewhere else to find dinner. I wouldn't recommend this place for dinner, especially not if you want to get a reservation. I can see why people like the overall vibe of the place, if you're just there to drink and hangout on the balcony. However, the margaritas were inconsistent depending on which bartender you got. The downstairs bartenders made the house margarita a LOT different/better than the upstairs bar.
I did reach out to OpenTable about the restaurant not honoring our reservation and they were helpful and apologetic.
Hi Christina, Sorry for coming across insincere. It wasn't my intent. Your visit us was during National Margarita Day and downtown's Mardi Gras celebration. We cut off reservations but attempted to honor yours. The crowd simply took reserved signs off tables and refused to move. I understand the round of shots didn't make up for not having a table. If you decide to give us a chance on a typical night I'd love to make a round of margaritas for you personally.
Must place order yourself. Food then brought to the table. Chips were not crispy or fresh tasting. Salsa average. Beer was good! Crust on empanada was tasty but had to hunt inside for beans, plantain, scant stuffing.
Lively atmosphere. People said we should have tried the stacked enchiladas or tacos.
Left too soon!
Great food, great drinks and great service. The top floor was a little loud for us old folks.
The table we reserved was located in the downstairs bar area which was very loud, so we decided to move upstairs to a booth. The booths there are very old and need re-covering, and the music is very loud. The upstairs bartender was unfriendly and did not provide the full menu to us (tacos are on a separate menu for some reason). Although OpenTable claims that "special drink" offerings at $6 were available for our Saturday night reservation, the bartender said that this was an error as it should only be on weekdays. In addition, beer is served in cans and the $8 margarita served did not have salt or a lime slice since we didn't ask for them. We decided to move back downstairs to order food and the bartender here was nice and accommodating. However, the tacos served are quite small (maybe 4 bites?), and although tasted OK, seemed over-priced. Beans and rice side-dishes were even smaller. We also needed to move to another table yet again because a group standing at the bar near us were drunk, loud, and cursing. The men's restroom upstairs was also quite dirty.
I met there with a few friends on the evening of my birthday! I have been to El Big Bad a few times and highly recommended it to all of my friends. However, I was not very impressed this time around. I made my reservation for 7pm on a Saturday evening. Upon arrival, no one greeted us when walking in. There weren’t any signs to direct us on whether or not we seated ourselves. My date, found a printed sheet of paper with my name on it for our reserved table. We sat for a few minutes and then just went to the bar to place our orders. We quickly noticed that the air vents were blowing pretty cold air. It was already upper 50’s outside. We asked for this to be fixed but nothing changed. When using the restrooms, we noticed the thermostat next to the women’s restroom read 62 degrees. Another note on the women’s restroom, the toilets were not flushing and it was highly odorous. There was also a few light bulbs out near our table making it very dark and they didn’t have any solutions to this problem. When the food came out, they had brought the wrong meal. Then we waited another 15 minutes for our correct meal to come out. The margaritas were fair but not like I remembered! Overall, I think my friends and I were pretty dissatisfied. Hopefully these are things that can be improved in the future.
Fun place - food was outstanding. Bar area is very dark but offer multiple levels of dining options. Fajitas were great!
We picked this restaurant because it was close to the ballpark. I will definitely go back. There were great happy hour specials and everything we had was excellent. The dip trio is definitely a winner.
No host greeted us. Could not check in for our OpenTable reservation. Sat at the bar. Bar tender seemed inconvenienced by our presence. Very unfortunate outing.
After a few years I decided to try El Big Bad again, having previously liked it when I lived downtown. They no longer have waiter service. The entire bar/restaurant is grungy and dirty. The food is inedible. The margaritas are absolutely disgusting. No matter which margarita flavor you order, it tastes like pure lime juice. I would not return to El Big Bad. I also went to The Pastry War that night, which had great tamales and easily one of the best margaritas I’ve ever had.
Great place drinks was the best shrimp grilled tacos 2nd best good environment and great balcony view of Main Street
The tacos are all great, and definitely work with one of the bartenders to pick out one of the infused tequilas.
Absolutely love this place. So amazing and worth every second spent there. Everyone’s great, welcoming, food is AMAZING! great decor.
First time at restaurant. Some of the service was good, but there was a lot of confusion about reservations and there was no one checking in people with reservations - so we went to the bar and the barkeeper didn't have a clue how to deal with this. Another staffer was actually terrific and comp'ed a round of drinks because of the confusion. The food was okay, not great, not bad but not somewhere I would only go to to have drinks/bar snacks in the future.
It was a great experience. We really enjoyed the food.
Thank you for visiting our bar. We are so glad you had a great experience. We love the food too. Feel free to email me to say hi at love@elbigbad dotcom.
Everything was bad. The margarita tasted like pure lime juice, the chicken fajitas were dry, the peppers and onions were literally raw and the service was terrible.
Hello, I am so sorry for your experience. It is not typical. We use a refractometer to balance every batch of fresh squeezed juice with agave nectar to ensure optimal sweet/tart balance. Clearly we let you down. Please consider to shoot me an email to cares@elbigbad dotcom to tell me a little more about your experience. I will use our conversation to determine who made your items incorrectly and re-train them. If you decide to give another chance, I will make your rita personally.
We had a great time! Food and service were fantastic.
You have to order your drinks and food at the bar, but both were very good. Very reasonable prices
would prefer table service instead of ordering at the bar
Great service from the moment we walked in the door. Nice place to hang out with friends and enjoy some food and drinks
FrancoC, Thank you for the kind words. We love our food and drinks too. We'd love to have you back anytime. Shoot me an email so I can thank you personally. love@elbigbad dotcom
First time at El Big Bad, did not realize there were no servers, sat at our table for 15 minutes and staff was very rude when asked about how to order. Ended up leaving.
CJ33, Thank you for checking out our bar. I'm sorry we let you down. Your experience is not typical. Should you decide to give us another shot I know we can do better. You don't owe us anything but please consider to email me at cares@elbigbad dotcom. If you give me more information about your experience, I promise to use it to determine who you interacted with and retrain that bartender.
Great place ... the margaritas were off the chart. My wife absolutely loved the Champ. The music was bit loud ... very hard to carry on a conversation. My wife and I were on a date. I wasn't in love with having to walk up to bar every time we needed to place order for drinks or food ... but they did take care of us promptly when we walked up and they delivered everything to our table promptly. The staff was very friendly.
We are so glad you had a great time. Come back anytime.
I was disappointed in the overall service from start to finish. We did not receive all of our order. The table was off balance. The bartender was overwhelmed and it was difficult to even pay our bill at the bar.
This is not really a restaurant.. it's a bar. We didn't even need the reservations as there is no hostess and we had to go up to the bar to order food.
Thank you for visiting our bar. We are sorry we didn't exceed your expectations. Yes, we are a bar that doesn't require reservations. Reservations are strongly encourage on groups. We go beyond a typical bar with fresh squeezed margaritas and scratch kitchen using amazing ingredients like non gmo organic stone ground yellow corn tortillas and 44 farms free range steak. A lot of people eat dinner here even if not drinking. We'd love to have you back anytime.
The food was El Bad. The hamburger was majorly undercooked, the chicken on the enchiladas tasted like microwaved chicken and the appetizer arrived after the meal. Not one member was interested in fixing this. The upstairs was so loud, you couldn’t order a drink or hear yourself think.
Definitely disappointed. Will not go back.
Food was just ok , not great, nachos with what appeared to be sauce from a jar 0 prep...
We went for brunch on Sunday. The food was great and we loved the atmosphere.
This restaurant is Bar Service only. No waiters to serve you but they do deliver your food order to your table.
The server/bartender was rude and in helpful w the menu. I reserved a spot here for Valentine’s Day we ate and left shortly after.
Great food and wonderful value. The service was a little slower than usual, but overall a good experience.
Tequila infusion list was just amazing. Food was phenomenal. Service was fast and friendly. I can't wait to return.
This was our first visit to El Big Bad. We were early for dinner and even earlier for the bar scene, so it was fairly quiet and not crowded. The food was good, and the pitcher of margaritas was also good. The staff was friendly and we were served quickly. It was a little dark inside.
Waitstaff was extremely rude and not helpful from the moment we arrived. In addition, the kitchen ended up closing because they said they were too backed up. Will not go back.
Great spot with EXCELLENT drinks!! Definitely going back.
First time here, we stopped in before a show at the Theater and our entire family loved it. 5 of us ranging from 50 years old to 9 years old. Authentic Mexican food, not tex-mex. The corn was ridiculous! Some of the best tacos and margaritas ever had! They have a salsa trio appetizer which was just delicious, my kids were fighting over the options! If you can handle a cool bar scene and not need some fancy place to have dinner and just want some good food and drinks, this place in the theater district area is it.
CS99, Thank you so much for visiting our bar. We are so glad you enjoyed everything. We take amazing ingredients, prepare them from scratch and create really fun fresh margaritas and cocktails and also food inspired by the flavors of Mexico. We are so happy that downtown and the theater district is coming back after Harvey. We've been here 5 years and have always love being the casual fun fresh quality spot before/after the show. Hit us up so we can thank you properly.
loved it, will come back for sure and the best tacos i have ever tried.
AryzaelC, Thank you so much for visiting our bar. We love you back!! We love our tacos too. Everyone always says that the bread makes the sandwich, the dough makes the pizza and man do those tortillas make the tacos. Ours are made from non gmo stone ground organic yellow corn. The masa/tortillas most places use are made from a very industrialized corn. Ours cost us around 14x more. But so worth it. We are happy you enjoy them as much as we do. Hit us up so we can thank you properly.
Good Margaritas, excellent service, love the terraza with salsa music.
The service was terrible. Part of our party's food was forgotten and the service was very rude about it. Then they kept bringing stuff to our table that we didn't order. Extremely unorganized.
We enjoyed sitting outside and taking in the views of downtown. The steak tacos were great but we weren’t as fond of the shrimp tacos. The drinks were good and so was the service.
Fabulous tacos, crispy shrimp, carne asada, grilled red snapper. Fresh corn tortillas. 2 tacos a la carte is plenty, especially if you have an app. Excellent frozen house margs. Great beer at excellent prices. Excellent service. Especially Tashina on the floor & Ryan behind the bar. Such a great place I almost don't want anyone to know so it becomes too crowded. Infused tequilas look fab... I'm allergic to agave/cactus, or I'd have tried it. Amazing. Very cool place. Can't wait to return!
El Big Bad does offer delivery in partnership with Postmates and Uber Eats. El Big Bad also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (713) 229-8181.
El Big Bad is rated 3.9 stars by 177 OpenTable diners.
Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.