Wine on a Dime

AAM 2011 attendees – you are going to love “wining” about Houston. Locals – let us know your favorite wine spots.

For me personally, like everything in my life, I prefer to sniff out the ‘value.’ The dollar reigns supreme and so does the vino at these establishments.

Bar Boheme

307 Fairview [ corner of Taft ] in Montrose

This little quaint coffee and wine bar suits its name. A casual venue filled with art and sculptures from local artists where you might imagine the next artist renaissance being imagined in a dark corner of the patio.  Everyday from 4-7 pm Boheme pours $4 glasses of ‘house’ wine. I say ‘house’ because it’s whatever is open, pretty much. AND $4! If you have a more refined pallet, they also have a great selection of bottles lining the walls. Extra treat: Sunday it’s happy hour all day. And Thursdays are Cultured Cocktails benefiting a different local arts group each week.

Block 7 Wine Co 

720 Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77007 in Heights/Washington Corridor

While it seems B7 has brought in some higher end product, I can usually still find a glass around $7-$9. But why would I do that? Order the bottle. It’s the same price as if you order 2 glasses. I can usually snag a great find for $25. And there’s no corkage fee. The staff always picks out a gem for me. I love this venue for its history. It used to be an old hardware store and when the owners transformed it into a wine bar and retail shop, they kept a lot of the same architectural pieces and some furniture. Check out the retail space for some original beams and hardware drawers used for the cash area. There’s usually a great old vice grip hanging around there, too. Double points for live music on Sundays, free Saturday tastings and happy hours 4-7pm with $5 glasses of wine and appetizers.

Sambuca 

Photo from Christine Tremoulet flickr.com/photos/bigpinkcookie/2681958317
909 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002 in Downtown

Another fabulous happy hour and located in the heart of downtown: This dinner club boasts $5 glasses of wine and 1/2 off appetizers til 7pm in the bar area. And stay for the live music every night and dance the night away.

13 Celsius 

Photo courtesy of Katherine Shilcutt http://www.flickr.com/photos/kshilcutt/419123622

3000 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004 in Midtown

Located off the beaten track, 13 has my heart. Sadly, they usually get my wallet, too. They’ve introduced happy hour specials for between $5-$10/glasses and they have some great nibbles. My weakness, however, is the sparkling shiraz. One of only 2 places in town, to my knowledge, to find some [Sonoma Wine Bar is the other and Spec’s Liquor Store]. The killer deal is Sunday’s though when all open bottles are 50% off! Snag a table at their interior patio and it feels like you’re in a little French country café – or so I imagine, since I’ve never actually been to the French countryside. Bonus: the fortune cookie factory next door contributes to an absolutely heavenly scent throughout the whole neighborhood!

State Bar 

909 Texas St Ste 2A, Houston, TX 77002 in Downtown

State Bar remains one of my stalwarts for happy hours – be you in a wine mood or martini mood. It’s hidden around the corner and up the stairs from Sambuca in downtown Houston. Exposed brick walls, old leather sofas and a great wrap around bar ooze the history of the bar – once connected to the famed Rice Hotel where JFK spent his last night before his assassination in Dallas. Snag a seat on the awesome patio & laugh at everyone stuck in traffic from 3-7 pm while you sip your $4 glass of house wine.

Cha

810 Waugh Dr. Houston, TX 77019 in Montrose

New to the scene, this retro champagne bar [Houston’s only champagne bar] is located in a little strip mall next door to Jack In The Box and is unassuming and perfect for a quick sip. Happy hour specials aren’t the usual house wines but start at just $5/glass or $20/bottle. The back party room is very Mad Men meets Austin Powers, but on gorgeous Houston spring days, I like to climb up to the patio and try to steal a comfy spot while watching the progress on the new Whole Foods construction across the street. And don’t worry about running to Jack In The Box, the bites at Cha are stellar.

–Mandy Graessle
AAM 2011 Houston Hospitality Subcommittee member

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