Houston's Top 10 Wine Bars (2013 Edition)

Categories: Top 10, Wine Time

winebar1.jpg
Photo by Umbria Lovers
The perfect wine bar should have good wine, good food and good friends.
Partially because it's National Wine Week and partially because my body is composed of more wine than water, I've been thinking a lot about wine bars lately. I spend far too much time sitting alone in my apartment drinking wine with my cat. Yes, I'm that person.

In an effort to not die alone and get eaten by my cat make new friends and explore more of what this fine city has to offer, I've been venturing out to wine bars across town.

The last time we ranked wine bars was in 2011. Since then, some on that list have closed and newer ones have blossomed. So here's the list, updated for a new year and a new crop of wine aficionados. Cheers!

Honorable Mention: French Country Wines isn't a wine bar per se, but it does host great tastings on Saturdays and imports some of the best wine in Houston.

10. Memorial Wine Cellar
Memorial doesn't have a kitchen that prepares fanciful dishes to pair with wine, but it does have a great selection of wines from all over the world. There's absolutely nothing wrong with not having a full restaurant at a wine bar, of course, and food trucks like GastroPunk do a great job of providing grub to the hungry masses. The wine prices are very reasonable, and owners Dwayne and Mary Harrison are always on the hunt for more exciting products to stock. This is a small family business, and they aim to please. If there's something you want them to try to get, just ask. They'll be happy to oblige.


Location Info

Map

French Country Wines

2433 Barlett St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Memorial Wine Cellar

7951 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Sonoma Retail Wine Bar & Restaurant

2720 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Vintropolis

10001 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Cru Wine Bar

2800 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Absolve Wine Lounge

920 Studemont, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Vine Wine Room

12420 Memorial, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Vinoteca Poscol

1609 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Camerata at Paulie's

1834 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

13 Celsius Wine Bar

3000 Caroline, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tasting Room -- Uptown

1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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12 comments
VineLover
VineLover

The Tasting Room is THE F'ING WORST. If Houston Press had a top 10 list for WORST SERVICE in town, they would be #1. A great wine list doesn't do anyone any good if you can't get a server to bring you a glass. Or when you can't leave because you can't get anyone to bring you a check. 


I used to patronize Tasting Room at least once a week and not a single server recognized me or knew my order after I had been visiting for roughly 8 months straight. Their company has been around for 8 years - if you can't figure out the most important part of being in the restaurant industry, then get out of the game. 

xmissmabsx
xmissmabsx

In regard to 13 Celsius:

"The bartenders here are some of the best in town, and they're able to figure out exactly what customers who may not be well-versed in wine are seeking."

Just be careful, because the other night I asked for a recommendation and they recommended something that was $16/glass. I did not ask about the price initially, which I should have...but considering that I had been drinking wines that were $9/glass the entire night, I found it slightly deceitful when I got my check. Just be careful and always ask for prices if you don't want to get hosed for a wine that isn't any better than the less expensive ones.

Also- try the Don Prospero Tannat $9/glass. If you like Malbecs, you will enjoy Tannats (from Uruguay).

 

TexanRon
TexanRon

The Memorial Wine Cellar is a real hidden jewel out there. Very comfortable surroundings and has a sort of "neighborhood place" feel to it. The owner really does know his wines and will work with you to find something to suit your needs, be it for a drink after work or for your dinner party the next night. So, it appears that a place can be outside the loop (just barely) and still be a great place to go.

aaronhernandez
aaronhernandez

Oporto is often overlooked, although haven't been there in awhile. it was good for quite awhile

SlinkySpectator
SlinkySpectator

I was disappointed to not see The Corkscrew on this list.  It is the only wine bar that I have been to in Houston that is definitely not pretentious, and has amazing live music on the weekends. 

carriebwc
carriebwc

Query:  What is exactly constitutes a "hip, New York-style wine bar."  Curious.

amanda.cox
amanda.cox

great list, have you checked out the corkscrew in the heights? 

paval
paval topcommenter

Unfortunately Cha closed, so we have top 9 wine bars on this list only.  Which is a shame, I really liked Cha the most out of this list, though I have not made it to Camerata yet. But they were in a tough spot on Waugh, across from a Whole Foods that was serving beer and wine for shoppers and other hang-outers and outside of the "haute" areas of Montrose and Midtown.


klipsch
klipsch

@SlinkySpectator  

Uh, the Corkscrew won editor's choice for "Best Wine Bar" this year in Best of Houston, so they kinda already got their recognition. Consider this as a runners up list; Max's Wine Dive, the Readers Choice for 'Best WIne Bar' is also absent here.

adriennebyard
adriennebyard

Apparently she can not, as it has been two days with no clarification.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@paval Yeah, I'm putting in a replacement right now. I wrote the list up before I heard CHA closed :(

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