Food & Drink

The Best Wine Bars in Houston

Published On 02/17/2016 Published On 02/17/2016

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.

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Venue Node ID

4171460

Venue Name

Beckrew Wine House

 

Neighborhood/Location

Upper Kirby

Description

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.

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Venue Node ID

4208736

Venue Name

Absolve Wine Lounge

Neighborhood/Location

Washington

Description

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.

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VJ Arizpe

Oporto Cafe

Kirsten Gilliam 

The Tasting Room

The Tasting Room

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.

Boheme

Montrose
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.

Flickr/Sean Davis

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Venue Node ID

3606929

Venue Name

La Carafe

Neighborhood/Location

Downtown

Description

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).

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Venue Node ID

4208764

Venue Name

Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant

Neighborhood/Location

Heights/Upper Kirby

Description

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.

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Public Services Wine & Whisky

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Venue Node ID

3909645

Venue Name

Public Services Wine & Whisky

Neighborhood/Location

Downtown

Description

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. 

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Venue Node ID

4055482

Venue Name

Vinoteca Poscól

 

Neighborhood/Location

Montrose

Description

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. 

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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston writer who must think it’s always “wine o’clock” because she clearly has no idea what time you’re reading this. Follow her and her wine mouth @BrookeViggiano

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1. The Tasting Room 1101-18 Uptown Park Blvd, Houston, TX 77056 (Uptown)

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.

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2. Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar 307 Fairview S, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

This Montrose wine bar has a cool ambiance, a great back patio, and sharable plates like Bangkok-style fries and cheese boards.

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3. 13 Celsius 3000 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77004 (Midtown)

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.

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4. Beckrew Wine House 2409 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77098 (Montrose)

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).

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5. Absolve Wine Lounge 920 Studemont St #150, Houston, TX 77007 (The Greater Heights)

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.

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6. Oporto Wine Cafe 3833 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77027 (River Oaks)

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.

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7. Oporto Fooding House & Wine 125 West Gray Ave. Suite 500, Houston, TX 77019 (Midtown)

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.

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8. Camerata at Paulie's 1830 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098 (Montrose)

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.

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9. La Carafe 813 Congress St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

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.

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10. Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant 801 Studewood St, Houston, TX 77007 (The Greater Heights)

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.

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11. Public Services Wine & Whisky 202 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

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.

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12. Vinoteca Poscól 608 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

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.

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