Food & Drink

10 of the Oldest Bars in Houston

Published On 06/29/2015 Published On 06/29/2015
Flickr/stjnky (edited)
Flickr/atbaker
CharBar
Kay's lounge
Flickr/awalker
Flickr/bargas
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1. 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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2. West Alabama Ice House 1919 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77098 (Montrose)

To a non-native Houstonian, West Alabama Ice House doesn't look like all that much, given that it's just a covered bar and patio in West Montrose. But this iconic bar has seen Houston through history since 1928, when it operated as a literal ice house, just shilling the cold stuff to neighborhood homes. Now, of course, it's a regular haunt for Houston's most in-the-know, who come, humidity be damned, for a frosty Lone Star Beer, a taco from whatever truck is parked across the street, and some love from the regular influx of dogs that appear with their owners.

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3. Warren's Inn 307 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

Google Warren's Inn and the reviews are unanimous: divey with stiff drinks. Prepare for chipper locals and friendly bartenders in a brick-walled bar with good tunes.

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4. Griff's 3416 Roseland St, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

Griff's is Houston's oldest sports bar, opened in 1965, but its party scene is hot as ever. There is always something to celebrate or a game to watch at Griff's, so if you are looking for a quiet night out, this is not the place for you. Regardless, this is still one of the best bars in Houston.

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5. Charbar 305 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

Say cheers in a tux at Downtown Houston’s Char Bar, a hybrid drinkery and tailor shop. The bar inside 70-year-old Duke of Hollywood Tailors was initially conceived to redeem owner Michael Shapiro’s failing garment alteration business, and it now draws both locals and visitors to indulge in a strong martini while their shoes are shined or their dresses are hemmed. On display in the narrow hall are fabrics sourced from decades and decades of people in once-ill-fitting outfits.

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6. Sheffield's Ice House 5118 Telephone Rd, Houston, TX 77087

Serving since 1942, Sheffield's keeps things legit, so come by for a non-judgmentally good time complete with a jukebox, neighborhood potlucks, and now -- TVs!

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7. Kay's Lounge 2324 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005 (Rice Village)

This homey space is decked out with vintage ads, sports memorabilia, old photos, and its much-beloved giant table in the shape of Texas. It's definitely the kind of place you can stay a while.

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8. The Marquis II 2631 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005

This neighborhood bar draws a steady crowd of Rice University students thanks to a laundry list of cheap beers and stiff-as-hell Texas teas.

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9. Jimmie's Ice House 2803 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007

This ramshackle ice house opened its doors 1950, and it hasn't changed much since. Just unapologetic bartenders, beat-up picnic tables, and cheap, ice-cold brews.

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