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These hip Houston wine bars are worthy of a toast

Chron 2/2/2023 Robin Soslow, Special to Chron

When it comes to wine bars in Houston, lovers of the grape can have a field day—and night. Whether you're planning a romantic evening, a celebration or a leisurely rendezvous, Houston's best bars for wine lovers have you covered with selections from regions around the world. In addition to traditional pours, you'll also find glasses of rare wines, natural wines, biodynamic wines and fortified wines.

Bookmark this sampling of the hottest wine bars in Houston the next time you're ready to indulge in a glass or two of vino.

Montrose wine bars


Feel worlds away on Boheme's chill, romantic patio, surrounded by a garden adorned with stone sculptures from Zimbabwe, or inside amid antique fixtures from England, France and Germany. Globe-trotting selections include a red rosso by Raina in Italy, a tempranillo by Pixide in Spain, and a malbec-cabernet blend by Ricominciare in Argentina. Cocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails are available too.

Tasting bites: Pair the Rowen red blend with Boheme's famous Vietnamese fries and Korean barbacoa pizza.

Find it: 307 Fairview St., Houston, TX 77006; 713-529-1099

Camerata at Paulie's 

This wine bar in the Montrose neighborhood focuses on beverages that reflect where they are made and the people that make them. Sommeliers serve an eclectic selection of fine wine, beer and sake. Elyse Wilson, Camerata's wine director, earned certification in Japan as an advanced sake professional. Wine lovers have dozens of choices that include Australia-based maker Yetti and the Kokonut's bubbles, an elegant white albariño from Spanish brand Bodegas Ethereo, and chardonnays from acclaimed French producer Jean-Philippe Fichet. The bar's name was inspired by the Florentine Camerata, a group of Renaissance artists, musicians and intellectuals.

Tasting bites: Try Familia Bresesti's cabernet franc from Uruguay with the artisanal cheeses and salumi.

Find it: 1830 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77098; 713-522-8466

Light Years Natural Wine Shop + Bar

Light Years is dedicated to natural wine, resulting in juicy, lively, sometimes funky flavors. This cozy outpost pours reds such as a cheerfully labeled Chilean país called Waro from Vinos Gustavo Martinez, whites including Les Gats sauvignon blanc from Domaine de la Petite Soeur, bubbles, rosé and more.

Tasting bites: Pair the sourdough bread and Bordier butter, Cantabrian anchovies and charcuterie with Aureo rosé from Marioni Wines, based in Sonoma.

Find it: 1304 West Alabama St., Houston, TX 77006; 713-425-6673

Montrose Cheese & Wine 

At this little foliage-filigreed haven, savor wine on the breezy, intimate patio with a cheese board or pastries. You can order by the glass or enjoy a bottle from the shop with no corkage fee. Be sure to try June's sparkling rosé, a collaboration between master sommelier June Rodil and Austrian winemaker Markus Huber.

Tasting bites: Share a tray featuring three cheeses of the day or Portuguese egg tarts, and pair it with Kracher Beerenauslese, an Austrian dessert wine.

Find it: 1618 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77006; 832-380-2461

Uptown wine bars

Postino WineCafe (multiple locations)

Count on the Postino family of wine cafes for affordable selections (daily $6 wines until 5 p.m.), cheerful indoor and outdoor settings that are dog-friendly and creative, colorful bruschetta and charcuterie boards. The five Houston locations offer selections that are both fun and fine, such as Milou Rouge syrah-grenache, from a medieval village in the South of France, to Mayu Pedro Ximenez, a white wine from one of Chile's highest-elevation vineyards. Pro tip: Postino Wine Cult, a membership-only club, offers intriguing wines and wine experiences that are decidedly not snobby affairs.

Tasting bites: Pair bruschetta boards with sweet-and-spicy toppings with a kabinett-style Mosel River Valley riesling from Maximin Grünhaus. Or pair a soft, warm pretzel slathered with slow-churned butter with Domaine Savary's old-vine expression of Chablis.

Find it: 1151 Uptown Park Boulevard, Suite 12, Houston, TX 77056; 713-965-4929. Find other Houston locations here.

Stella's Wine Bar at The Post Oak 

Tucked inside Uptown's Post Oak Hotel is a swanky setting fit for unwinding with fine wine and gourmet nibbles. Stella's keeps things comfy with an open-air pergola and built-in heaters, offering wines from 30 different regions worldwide. Directed by master sommelier Julie Dalton, the wine list features tasting flights and draws from the award-winning wine cellars at the Post Oak's family of in-house restaurants.

Tasting bites: Savor 60 wines by the glass with Stella's cheeses, pretzel bites, flatbreads and sliders.

Find it: 1600 West Loop South, Houston, TX 77027; 346-227-5174

Rice Village wine bars

Lees Den 

Enter this speakeasy-esque space up the stairs from Local Foods Market (formerly Benjy's) and chill in a tropical treehouse. Lees Den, a nod to the beloved Chinese restaurant by the same name, is an intimate wine bar that serves 250 wines by the glass and bottle, as well as bar snacks. Unwind on Chartreuse velvet seats or mingle on the covered patio. Wine director and sommelier Chrisanna Shewbart is a Houston native with a passion for natural wines.

Tasting bites: Pair Benjy's "hurricane popcorn" with Schramsberg Mirabelle brut rosé. The pistachio whipped goat cheese with flatbread also goes with Ovum Big Salt Oregon co-fermented white wine.

Find it: 2424 Dunstan Road, Houston, TX 77005; 713-522-7602


Thirsty for niche, sustainable and family-produced wines? Vinology's sommeliers will help you find new favorites. The wine menu features four weekly flights plus 12 by-the-glass selections (white, rosé, orange, bubbles and red among them).

Tasting bites: The aromatic tones of Subject to Change Preconceived Notions muscat complement the deviled eggs nicely.

Find it: 2314 Bissonnet St., Houston, TX 77005; 832-849-1687

Midtown wine bars  

13 Celsius 

Ensconced in a 1920s, Mediterranean-style building with a pressed-tin ceiling, crumbling stucco and a 40-foot bar, 13 Celsius has nurtured a following for dates, schmoozing and wine studying. The Old World-focused list spans classics to natural wines as well as hard-to-find bottles from around the world. Be sure to try some skin-contact white wines, made from white grapes that have been macerated and fermented on the skins (also known as orange wine). Relax in the open-air courtyard, which feels like a quaint Italian enoteca.

Tasting bites: Pair the mortadella panino with Chilean país grown on 200-year-old vines.

Find it: 3000 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004; 713-529-8466

Washington Avenue Corridor wine bars

Trez Art and Wine Bar 

This welcoming bistro appeals to each of the senses. Rotating displays of local artists' paintings, curated by Houston gallerist Carla Bisong, fill the walls; pop and R&B tunes from DJs and bands fill the air; and nectars made by women winemakers fill glasses. There's almost always something going on at Trez: Saturday Supper Club with Houston bands, Sunday music brunch, wine dinners and wine tastings, just to name a few regular happenings at one of the liveliest Houston wine bars.

Tasting bites: Artisan truffle fries paired with G.H. Mumm Champagne. Rosemary jerk lamb chops paired with Maison Noir Love Drunk rosé.

Find it: 920 Studemont St., Houston, TX 77007; 281-501-1788

East End wine bars

How to Survive on Land and Sea

This sexy wine bar on Harrisburg Boulevard has become a real community hub after a recent change in operators. The selections lead toward natural wine and rotate constantly, even throughout the night as they run out of limited bottlings. Your best bet is asking the sommeliers for a taste of whatever's open and takes your fancy. How to Survive has also started displaying photography from East End artists in the back.

Tasting bites: Try the extra crispy Vietnamese wings from Goldie's, the bar's new kitchen resident, with whatever the bartender thinks is showing best that day.

Roots Wine Bar 

Opened in 2021, this lively joint brings on the cool with a fresh concept: 56 serve-yourself taps with 1-, 3- and 5-ounce pours. Roots Wine Bar highlights hidden gems from small producers, women winemakers and those that give back to charities. Their cuisine is also fresh and seasonally driven.

Tasting bites: Pair Laurent Herlin Tsoin Tsoin cabernet franc and crab tostada; pair a glass of I Carpini Rugiada del Mattino timorasso, an ancient Piedmontese grape variety, and the gourmet baby greens salad.

Find it: 3107 Leeland St., Houston, TX 77003; 713-818-2709

Downtown wine bars

Pur Noire 

At this downtown winery, sip wonderful varietals in a smart setting. Houston's first Black-owned tasting room and winery inside the Loop was opened after the founding couple fell in love with wine following the purchase of a bottle of pinotage, the signature red grape of South Africa. The bold decor scheme of greens, ruby reds and black at Pur Noire adds flair to wine time.

Tasting bites: Charcuterie pairs well with all wines featured in the Pur Collection, including a petite sirah-based blend, a pinot gris-sauvignon blanc blend and a tempranillo rosé.

Find it: 802 Milam St., Houston, TX 77002; 832-476-2974

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