Best Liquor Store (2004)
Spec's Liquor Where else in Houston can you get a case of Guatemalan lager, a bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio, a towering pastrami sandwich and a big, stinky Arturo Fuente Churchill cigar for the ride home? Nowhere, that's where. In fact, calling Spec's a "liquor store" is like calling the Taj Mahal well a liquor store. Spec's is a 40-year-old, family-run institution, with floor-to-ceiling spirits and a friendly, knowledgeable staff. You have to know your stuff when your flagship store packs thousands of labels of wine, beer and hard stuff into 80,000 square feet. Check out Spec's monthly "Twelve Under $12" wine recommendations, tips on what kind of vino goes with foie gras and recipes for every drink from a Warm Cozy Fire (brandy, butterscotch schnapps and hot chocolate) to a Zanzibar (gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters, sugar and lemon juice). And Fridays and Saturdays, the place becomes a veritable happy hour for drinkers on a budget -- samples of wine and liquor are handed out throughout the store. Bottoms up!