An attractive wine bar ups the ante beyond having a great selection. It is a place with depth of inventory, unpretentious ambiance, uniformly knowledgeable (and helpful) staff and an atmosphere malleable enough to become whatever you need it to be on a given night.
Were Houston only allotted one wine house, La Carafe would very likely win the vote in a landslide. This place really does have something for everyone (except liquor . . . or a credit card machine): an inventory with more than enough depth to satisfy vino devotees, good beer, legit staff and more character and history than you’ll find in any two bars Downtown.
Tasting Room - Uptown Park
This Tasting Room location wins out over its brethren by being the hippest of the TR outposts. It's also home to a number of events that have an organic "party" atmosphere such as annual Paella Festival and frequent beer dinners.
By no means a snob-friendly environment, Khon’s pays no mind to trends, instead filling out their list with moderately-priced wines that the owners and their friends enjoy. Admittedly more about atmosphere than selection, you can still find a great mid-level glass here.
True to its name, Boheme looks like an artist’s hangout. Not a broke artist; one with a decent day job. Local art adorns the exposed brick walls, the chairs are mismatched and a bongo sits alone on a concrete stage. It’s hip but not too pretentious. The patio behind the bar is spacious and comfortable. A decent selection of wines are sure to please.
The bar is gigantic, wrapping around the entire room. The rustic décor and dark lighting set a great mood for wining and feasting on fine cheeses and meats. It’s a very date-worthy spot and be assured your wine will be at the perfect temperature. And if you’re not a wino, try out their micheladas, which are a favorite among regulars.
Absolve Wine Lounge
We love this little wine bar for its dramatic decor and friendly service. It can be a romantic spot for a night cap or place to sit and sip the night away. Good food, too.
Originally published 4/1/09. Updated 2/18/11.