Best Place to Smoke Houston 2000 - The State Bar and Lounge
Readers' Choice: Outside
Walk up. Sit down. Light up. Savor. The State Bar, that one-flight-up reincarnation of the Old Capitol Club at the Rice Lofts, pays ample tribute to an earlier time when tobacco could be richly enjoyed, right along with well-mixed drinks and quiet conversation among trusted associates. Atop the grand stairway, it is quickly obvious that this is a place that pays impressive homage to the earlier era. Some of the furnishings are straight from that power bastion of the original Old Cap Club (even though it was downstairs). There's ample space around the long U-shaped bar for smokers. And in the more intimate area, the tall leather sitting chairs practically command guests to extract their sterling-silver cigarette cases, give a few sharp filter-tip taps on the elegant tabletops and take that Zippo out of retirement. The best at the State Bar awaits beyond the balcony doors, on the grand porch overlooking Texas Avenue and the throngs below. Plenty of Houston's most influential figures, from Jesse Jones on down, worked their deals in this kind of setting. Then they shook hands and fired up fine cigars to salute sealing the deal. The deals may be gone these days, but the State Bar has brought back that same sense of satisfaction.