By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Back in 2008's Best of Houston® issue, we awarded the handful of already existing tables on the sidewalk outside the venerable bar's front door "The Best Place to Smoke and Drink."
In defense of that pick, we cited the "prime view of the skyline" and the chance to bathe in the sweet sounds of the bar's killer juke, and even trotted out a quote from late columnist Sig Byrd, who once called Congress Street that "old, crowded, tired avenue once so proud, so bright with gaslight and hearty laughter."
And we rejoiced that more people would soon be adding their hearty laughter to that tired avenue, people smoking and drinking in the beer garden outside of La Carafe.
Apparently the City of Houston has other plans.
Although Carolyn Wenglar owns both La Carafe and the vacant lot in question, she has been told that patrons would not be allowed to carry drinks from the bar to the tables on the lot. Wenglar told Hair Balls that the narrow space between the two properties is a city-owned alley, and to cross that alley with booze in hand would bring on the Mayan Apocalypse two years early, or — perhaps more likely — be in violation of Texas liquor laws, and thus have held up her permit.
"I just don't understand," Wenglar says. "I own both properties. And you'd think they would want the chance to make money off my expanded business."