Long live the darker dive that you can just slink into and wile away the hours with some good conversation instead of the ubiquitous craft cocktail and after hours scene. That's La Carafe, which sits in great contrast from the booming, trendy clubs that surround it, a testament to the olden days, when times were simpler and Houston bars were a lot more chill. Here the candles drip their ages-old wax and the walls seem to tell the story of beautiful decay, not all too common in Houston. It's not a fussy place, but the wine selection is pretty solid and so are the bartenders, who are happy to strike up conversation so long as you're not a blathering idiot and have a little reverence for the place. On Sundays you can find some of the city's best singer-songwriters performing during the open mic, and the door here is always open. It leads straight back in time.