Houston's Best Patios: The 10 Best to Drink a Glass of Wine

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Backstreet Cafe
​With patio weather season in full swing, Houstonians are absolutely spoiled for places to enjoy the day outside. And sometimes all you know is that you're in the mood for a patio, but can't figure out where to go. So how do you choose?

Over the next five weeks, we'll be guiding you around Houston's best patios in several different categories:

And this week's category: The best places to drink a glass of wine. Sometimes all you want to do after work or on the weekend is relax in a quiet setting that's doesn't have the pulsing vibrations of a Sunday Funday crowd or dozens of kids underfoot. These are your patios.

Backstreet Cafe

With one of the best sommeliers in the city -- Sean Beck -- and one of the prettiest patios, Backstreet is a surefire bet for this category. If you dress up, you can pretend like you're a Lady Who Lunches, even if only for the afternoon. And to quote ourselves, the best thing about Backstreet Cafe is that "the food is better than it has to be."

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Brenner's on the Bayou

Of all the Houston patios located near water, Brenner's on the Bayou has the nicest view by far. Being located just down the street from the Hogg Mansion has its benefits, one of which seems to be that the stretch of Buffalo Bayou that runs behind Brenner's is always clean, making for a magnificent view from the rolling, manicured lawns down into the water. It's best enjoyed during the weekly happy hours, when a broad selection of wines by the glass and small bites are offered at surprisingly low prices.

Daily Review Cafe

Unlike Backstreet Cafe, the food here can be hit or miss. But you're going for wine and a patio, remember? Daily Review has both of those in spades. To quote the Daily Review's own website, the "wine list is extensive and constantly changing." And you're almost always guaranteed to find something on that list worthy of the beautifully quiet patio.

Cru

It's a wine bar by name, so you'd already expect the offerings to be top-notch. But what places Cru on this list is its patio, facing The Woodlands' Market Square, which is one of the absolute best places for people-watching in the entire city-unto-itself that the suburb has built near Cynthia Woods Mitchell and the developing Waterway.

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Vineyard on the Square

Much like Cru in The Woodlands, the strength of the Vineyard's patio is its great people-watching along the Sugar Land Town Square. But more than just a nice patio, the Vineyard also has a state-of-the-art Enomatic wine system that allows it to offer up to 48 wines by the glass at any given time. And as at Block 7 Wine Co., you can purchase wines from its retail side to drink with no corkage fee, then take the rest home if you don't finish a bottle.

Simone on Sunset

This is the newest on the list, but it made quite a heavy-hitting impression on our first visit. Tucked into the side yard of a nondescript house on Sunset, Simone is a neighborhood joint in every sense of the term. But feel free to invade it anyway (if you can find parking). A small but interesting wine list along with a pleasant patio that looks like someone took a slice of Tiny Boxwoods and relocated it to West U made Simone an instant winner for us.

Zimm's Little Deck

Zimm's seems purpose-built for snacking on small dishes and quaffing interesting glasses of wine, which rotate nightly. The "good, better and best" options by-the-glass are listed on the chalkboard inside (admittedly, not my favorite system). In the winter, there's a toasty fireplace outside, and in the summer, you can play pétanque between glasses of white.

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Photo by This Is It
The Grove

Is there a prettier sight in all of Houston than a bustling city park filled with farmers' market shoppers, little kids in swimsuits, happy dogs with Frisbees and beautiful old oak trees among the green grass? That's the view onto Discovery Green on Sundays from The Grove, although the view is equally fetching on every other day of the week -- especially from the second-story patio onto the downtown skyline at dusk. Add a respectable wine list with plenty of intriguing options by the glass, and you have a stunner.

Crapitto's

Ignore the silly name, because Crapitto's is paradoxically one of the most lovely and romantic restaurants in town. To quote its website, the little Italian restaurant on Mid Lane is tucked into "a converted farmhouse under 100-year-old oak trees," the same broad-limbed oaks that make patio dining in Houston such a splendid affair. It also has an impressive number of wines by the glass as well as a pricey cellar selection that's ideal for a special occasion.

Vintropolis

One of the only good things about the criminally low occupancy rate at the Carillon Center in West Houston is that wine connoisseurs get a whole lot of space to spread out at Vintropolis. The massive patio is also dog-friendly, so feel free to bring along your vino-loving four-legged pals. Even better: There are at least a dozen wines on the wine bar's massive list that are only $5 by the glass.



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Location Info

Vintropolis

10001 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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36 comments
smoky888
smoky888

Branch Water Tavern's outdoor area is nice as well!

Mike
Mike

Is the beer at Zimm's Little Deck as expensive as the beer. $8 for a St. Arnold is enough to keep me from visiting again. I tried to go cheap, but it was $4.00 for a PBR - ridiculous.

Flybynite
Flybynite

The patio at Zimm's Little Deck looks as comfortable as setting up a table on the median: no trees or greenery, next to the traffic on W. Alabama, and then you're overcharged.

Djangobells
Djangobells

I've seen it from the street, driving by, and it is sorta barren, a giant expanse of brick and earth, stretching wide but not high, for there are no trees, only the building that backs up to the patio like a stern fatherly hand.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

It's actually on Richmond, the quiet part. Have you ever been? It's really quite nice in the evenings.

Mike
Mike

Mwant to say is the wine as expensive as the beer.

TQro
TQro

I'll add Block 7 Wine Co. Red red wine makes feel so... well, it makes me forget that I'm staring at Shepherd. Great wines at retail price!

VanDykstrom
VanDykstrom

Think I would add Haven in there somewhere, as the wafting of dumpster sushi from neighbor Cafe Japon was put to an end recently by the City. They've always had a good drink/wine program.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Awesome Katharine you included Simone...my new favorite place! Great list!

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

Don't forget the patio at Samba Grille. With its cool urban setting and Marc Borel on hand to provide suggestions on the vino, it's a win-win situation.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

How in the world did Baba Yega's fail to make this list? I can only assume you've never been.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

For wine? I would not send anyone to Baba Yega to get wine.

Nanceriga
Nanceriga

Totally agree. Boheme has a better patio, and I'd be hesitant to send people *there* for wine, and it's way ahead of Baba Yega.

PaulsonH
PaulsonH

Right! Under the Volcano, same thing. Great patio. Wine service needs work.

Eric S
Eric S

You know what this means, right? You should have just done "top 5 patios in Houston." It would have generated 200 angry comments about how dare you exclude my favorite patio (Baba Yega/Little Big's/some other place in Montrose), and you're an idiot to include some underdog choice outside the loop (Sam's Boat for me). Page views aplenty and none of this subtly of different patios for different purposes. I hope you've learned your lesson for next time.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

I'm rather fond of those types of lists.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Let me further amend that by saying that Baba Yega, as lovely as it is, has never once managed to get my wine order correct (i.e., bringing me a glass of white zinfandel instead of just a glass of zin; bringing me a pinot grigio instead of a pinot noir). So, no. Baba Yega will be included in an upcoming installment of this five-week series, but absolutely not for wine.

Jeff
Jeff

I'll back you up on this one. My dad LOVED Baba Yega. I've been there dozens of times over the years and I really like the food. But, I've been there numerous times when getting a drink that wasn't water, tea or a soda went badly.

The last time I was there, two people with me and I decided to get a bottle to make it easy. The kid who waited on us, bless him, had no CLUE how to deal with it. He struggled for what seemed like 5 minutes trying to figure out the bottle opener. I was there another time when they brought red wine when everyone at the table ordered white.

I love the place, but I've never had luck getting anything alcoholic there.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

That's a shame, and very odd. I have been there at least a dozen times and never experienced that, nor did my other dining companions.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

On a Sunday to enjoy with their brunch? Let's just say I strongly disagree. But I'm usually fine with the typical $8-10 merlot or malbec.

Hutchinson Kathy
Hutchinson Kathy

The Tasting Room at CityCentre or at Uptown - The BEST patios in town!!

Nanceriga
Nanceriga

...except for the ones at COVA, where the wines are *also* sensational

Steviedoor
Steviedoor

"Ignore the silly name, because Crapitto's is paradoxically one of the most...."

Ouch.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Ouch? You can't ignore the fact that most people titter like schoolgirls when they hear the name. I'm telling people to cut it out and appreciate how awesome Crapitto's is.

I think your "ouch" would best be reserved for something I've said that's actually shitty...from which you have plenty of options to choose. ;)

Steviedoor
Steviedoor

...uh, like saying that The Moghul's has closed when it really hasn't?

ouch!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Like that. Although my information came nearly straight from the source, so I don't think they're long for this world...

Caroline
Caroline

Suggestion for when you get to patios to bring the kids -- Mission Burritos on W. Alabama. I miss being within walking distance of that place! A great place to kick back with a drink and let the kiddo burn off a little energy if she finished her food before the grown-ups did.

John Lomax
John Lomax

Check out Las Ventanas way out the Katy Fwy at Highway 6 near the original Lupe Tortillas. Kids can romp in a bouncy castle and through a huge garden with fountains and such. It beats Lupe at its own kid-friendly game.

Dysonnorriega
Dysonnorriega

Think Alberto Baffoni's father-in-law is the chef there; he used to be with Las Alamedas. Great job with the new landscaping.

Jennilangusto
Jennilangusto

Dolce Vita for me. Evening, before the crowd arrives or late late lunch. Honey-suckle combines with diesel fumes for an urban pastoral that's pitch perfect. Not to mention, they have a great all-Italian wine list.

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