This is not a drill. It’s wine o’clock (no seriously, look at your phone), which means it’s time to uncork some phenomenal vino-centric experiences in Houston. From bars with quiet backdrops and bespoke lists to heavy-hitters that have some seriously big time names behind them, these 11 most excellent wine bars are awaiting your arrival.
Fancy a nightcap? Make it a Pinot or a 'presso at this white-bricked, metallic laced vino and brew bar. The less than a year old spot has an all-star roster of local talent behind it, with the small vineyard selections curated by wine director William Fuller and a coffee program alley-oop from Blacksmith’s David Buehrer. The kitchen serves Italian and Spanish fusion dishes while the wine bar has more than 100 bottles on offer from spots around the globe. Don’t miss their 3oz pour wine flights you snack on truffle frites, warm brie, and Jamón Ibérico. Also, on Mondays and Tuesdays there’s free pizza when you buy a bottle. FREE. PIZZA.
If you’re not careful, you’ll probably look right past this unassuming wine lounge housed in a mini strip mall off Studemont. But step inside and you’ll find a dark, sultry space with tons of personality and a nice-size crowd sipping bottles over the occasional live music. With a dynamic 100+ wine list ranging from $30 to $200 bottles (and glasses starting around $9), both aficionados and newbies can find something to whet their appetite.
If you're looking for a European-style enoteca with eclectic, global selections housed in a super sexy ‘20s-era building, this is it. With an extensive 450+ library curated and cared for by co-owner Mike Sammons and grape goddess Adele Corrigan, the spot prides itself in selecting vinos with unique character and storing them at a temperature that you would never, ever guess by the name of the place. Damn fine charcuterie and bar snacks pair perfectly with the wines, which from the aromatized and fortified to the sparkling and seasonal and are offered by the bottle, glass, half-glass, and taste. Thanks to wine-centric dinners, pop up tastings and art installations, and special bottles lists on Sundays, it may just be the best date spot on the city.
Oporto Wine Cafe, the first food and wine concept from husband and wife team Rick and Shiva Divirgilio. sought to bring Houston a European-style wine bar, similar to what you might find in a taberna in Lisbon or Porto. Now with a second concept in Midtown, the duo continues to provide a relaxed, chic atmosphere with outstanding petiscos and thoughtful roster of over 50 boutique wines, including the largest Portuguese wine collection in the city.
Beverage Director David Keck is just one of Houston’s most well-respected sommeliers, he’s also a freaking opera singer. And that’s just one of the awesome things about this coolly unpretentious wine chamber from Keck and Paulie’s Paul Petronella. The user-friendly "DAMNED WINE LIST" is broken down by flavor instead of origin, making it easier for EVEN YOU to find the perfect glass or bottle (but the staff is also well-equipped to assist). And there’s sick selection of beers, cyders, salumis, and cheeses, and even Lone Star tall boys, because that thing we said about them being cool and unpretentious.
Uptown Park (& Other Locations)
This unintimidating mini-chain keeps winos quenched through good eats and a smart laundry list of retail-priced wine. The majority of which is offered by the glass, bottle, and case (score!). Don’t miss happy hour, where you can get wines by the glass for as cheap as a Lincoln to take down with tapas, charcuterie, and bubbly pizzas.
Good wine becomes excellent wine when coupled with smokey lavash pizzas and piles of Bangkok-style fries in one of Houston’s most charming backyards. Things get even cozier inside, where brick walls lined with Venetian accents and antique light fixtures provide one of Houston’s sultriest atmospheres. Bring a date and pop a reasonably priced bottle or go solo to find gaggles of singles enjoying a night on the town.
You can’t visit Market Square without popping into this creaky time warp to the 1800s, housed in one of downtown’s oldest buildings. The cash only bar boasts an extensive wine list with candelabras, antiques exposed brick, and a sexy playlist featuring jukebox selections from Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, and Bob Marley to boot. And if that doesn’t make you feel all kinds of good inside, it’s because your soul is dead and nothing will (just kidding... kinda).
This duo of vino bars focuses on small lot selections from a particular region. Can you guess which? Make the most of your money with truly awesome 7oz pours and versatile wine flights and bottles, or hit at happy hour to get carafes of house sangria and things like 50% off pizzas and $10 cheese flights.
Step inside the old Cotton Exchange Building and you’ll find this Art Deco-style cocktailery with all kinds of Clutch City swagger. And with Houston’s very own Dionysus Justin Vann behind the drinks and culinary guru Justin Yu behind the snacks, you know you’ll be in the best of hands. A boutique selection of hard-to-find Old World wines are mixed with "New World classics" and ciders, beers, and simple tinctures that you can sneak in as you please. All of it goes down beautifully with bar eats like Yu’s house-made baloney, served warm with smoked cheese spread and Ritz crackers.
We don’t know what we like better, the crazy good lineup of house-cured salumi or the crazy good roster of distinct Italian wines. Good thing you can hit this Venice-inspired vinoteca at anytime and get both. But perhaps the best time to visit is during happy hour, when wines by the glass are just $2 or $3 and small bites called “cicchetti” are just a buck. Or on Sundays, when they roast an entire suckling pig.
1. The Tasting Room1101-18 Uptown Park Blvd, Houston
2. Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar307 Fairview S, Houston
3. 13 Celsius3000 Caroline St, Houston
4. Beckrew Wine House2409 W Alabama St, Houston
5. Absolve Wine Lounge920 Studemont St #150, Houston
6. Oporto Wine Cafe3833 Richmond Ave, Houston
7. Oporto Fooding House & Wine125 West Gray Ave. Suite 500, Houston
8. Camerata at Paulie's1830 Westheimer Rd, Houston
9. La Carafe813 Congress St, Houston
10. Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant801 Studewood St, Houston
11. Public Services Wine & Whisky202 Travis St, Houston
12. Vinoteca Poscól608 Westheimer Rd, Houston
This Houston area mini-chain offers a European style dining experience with, of course, plenty of wine to go around. Their Uptown outpost has a great happy hour deal Monday through Friday-- get a wide variety of wines for only $5 a glass, or half off artisanal selections.
This Montrose wine bar has a cool ambiance, a great back patio, and sharable plates like Bangkok-style fries and cheese boards.
When this bar took over this shambled Midtown spot in the mid-2000s, they opted not to polish it off in the style of other wine bars. Rather, they opted to keep its steely warehouse appearance and add a sleek white marble bar to class it up just enough. The 100+ wines, hand-selected from all over the world, are kept at 13 degrees celsius (hence ... well, you get it) in the cellar until you order a glass, bottle, or flight with your cheese plate or Italian panini sandwich.
Fancy a nightcap? Make it a Pinot or a 'presso at Beckrew Wine Bar in Upper Kirby. The kitchen serves Italian and Spanish fusion dishes while the wine bar has more than 100 bottles on offer from spots around the globe (there's an emphasis on small vineyards and producers).
Absolve your sins in a glass of vino at this Heights area wine bar and lounge. With live music every weekend and dope happy hour deals on small plates, this is the ideal place to get comfy and pop bottles.
The Greenway/Kirby outpost of this Houston fave offers bistro-inspired food and drink in a warm, European style cafe atmosphere. Stop by for happy hour and enjoy a wide variety of small plates, or petiscos, including grilled pizzette flatbreads, all for under $10. They taste even better when you pair 'em with house red, yours for a cool $5.
An offshoot of Greenway’s Oporto Wine Café, this food and wine bar in Midtown is like the café’s younger, cooler brother. The fun, chic space creates a welcoming atmosphere where guests can munch and mingle over Portuguese and Indian-influenced tapas while peering into the beautiful open kitchen. It also has a thoughtful roster of over 50 boutique wines, including the largest Portuguese wine collection in the city.
Named for social gathering chambers from the Italian Renaissance, Camerata in Montrose's Paulie's lives up to its name with a delightfully unpretentious, brick-and-black-leather bar, known for drawing friendly, laid-back crowds with its impressive drink and snack selection. Groups roll in at the end of night to lounge on comfy couches, share a plate of imported meats and cheeses while attempting to pick from more than 150 European wines, beers, and ciders.
Settled inside Houston's oldest building, La Carafe looks as if it's about to fall to pieces on the outside, but is rife wth history on the inside. Miraculously still level and smattered with antiqued photos and mementos, La Carafe's been close to shut down on the basis of broken fire codes many times since the '80s, but its jazz-bumping jukebox, impossible to imitate ambiance, and massive wine selection have kept it alive.
This super cozy wine bar has everything you're looking for in a great vino spot; Pinots a plenty, comfy couches, and farm fresh bites. Offering solid happy hour deals seven days a week, Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant is a top notch choice for those looking for sophistication and small plates in The Heights.
Housed in the old Cotton Exchange building, Public Services Wine & Whisky is doing its due diligence, providing Downtown Houston with options abound in each category, as its name boasts. The whiskey list covers its ground -- Scotland, America, Japan, Ireland, Spain, and even India are represented. (The Scotland selection is strong, and is broken down by region. Do yourself a favor, and spend some time tasting through it.) The wine list is no different, with everything from Sherry and other fortified dessert wines, to sparkling, whites, roses, and reds, Old World and New World alike. Other libations live here, as well, like brandy, absinthe, and Amari, and house cocktails, beer, and cider. And finally, they offer a small selection of bar snacks available to abet in your tasting journey, wherever it may take you.
At this cozy Italian restaurant, charcuterie, small plate pastas, and roast suckling pig on Sundays are the main draw, but next-level finger food is this intimate spot's true differentiator. Expect an extensive selection of salumi, mortadella finger sandwiches, and veggie dishes like the zucchini and mint, all of which can be paired with a pick from Poscól's rotating wine menu.