Found, unexpectedly, in a rambling ivy-covered brick building that houses a homey-looking branch of the Houston Public Library, the Kraftsmen Bakery, and the Black Labrador pub, Cezanne's is the city's most endearing jazz establishment. Above the pub, at the top of a paisley-wallpapered stairwell, this tiny club has been hosting local and touring acts on Friday and Saturday nights only from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. for the last 17 years. Featuring walls ringed with framed portraits and landscapes of the venue's namesake, Cezanne's has hosted the Pamela York Trio, Randy Brecker, and Eddie Gomez; audience members and musicians alike thank the jazz gods for such an intimate venue. Between sets, step outside into the front garden area to play chess with two-foot-tall game pieces on a giant chessboard painted on the pavement.
Tip: With a no-reservations policy and a cover that's just $10 per person with a one-drink minimum, this place draws a crowd, so it's best to arrive early.