Warren's Inn is, unquestionably, a revered downtown Houston landmark. No stranger to winning Best of Houston® awards, most recently for Best Downtown Bar 2010, Warren's boasts charm, character and cordial, heavy handed bartenders. The space definitely has a vintage vibe, with heirloom chandeliers hanging from the pressed tin ceiling, large ornate mirrors and red damask-print walls.
All are welcome in their flip-flops and shorts, suits and little black dresses and -- on one occasion in my recent past -- dinosaur costumes. Warren's is a great place to relax after work with a martini, enjoy a cocktail before or after a show or celebrate your Dad's birthday, proving to him that you do, in fact, have good taste when it comes to unique downtown dives.
This past Wednesday I paid a visit to Warren's to learn little about kindly bartender Jeremy and this beloved Houston institution.
Where are you from? All over. I've been in Houston for the past eight years, but I moved around a lot as a kid. I was born in California so I consider Southern California and Texas home. I've spent all my adult life in Texas.
How long have you been bartending? This time around, about five or six years. I used to bartend in Austin, my first gig was at Matt's El Rancho, but I came back to Houston in 2003. I've been at Warren's for about four years.
Could you tell us a little about the bar's history? Originally Warren's was where the Kim Son parking lot is, and it opened in '78. We moved over here in '87. Warren is Carolyn -- the owner's -- brother, and this was his bar. When he passed away, she took over. The chandeliers, the mirrors, all the stuff came from over there; it was a beautiful place. If I had worked there, I would have worn a bow tie.
How would you describe the bar's aesthetic? It's a classic throwback.
How would you describe the crowd? It's a very eclectic crowd. Other than the red and brick walls and the décor, the people add to the aesthetic. We'll have someone in beach attire next to a couple in formal wear going to the opera, judges, politicians, kids... it's very come-as-you-are.
Do you have a specialty or a drink you pride yourself on? I make a lot of sidecars and margaritas; we're known for our margaritas and martinis. I also make a lot of Old Fashioneds.
And you guys pour pretty heavy. Yeah we're definitely known for our pour. People ask me "so...do they teach you to pour like that?", and I'm like "yeah." When I first started working here, I did a standard pour and they told me, "more."
What are your favorite Houston spots? I'm a creature of habit so I end up doing the same things in the same places. I love Grand Prize and Big Star. I eat at Rudz a lot, probably too much. I live right down the street.
What is one thing that would make Houston a better city? It's already cool enough.
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Wildcard from loaded questions box: What expression do you normally have on your face? Awesome.
Warren's Inn, located at 307 Travis, is your cozy neighborhood bar amidst the bustle of downtown Houston. Stop in for a stiff, grown-up drink when you get tired of taking pineapple upside down cake shots on Washington.