Starbucks recently announced that it would be adding beer and wine, as well as an "evenings menu," to select locations around the country, after testing the plan in 26 markets during the last several years. The bad news? Starbucks booze isn't coming to Houston anytime soon. The good news? We don't need it.
Houston is home to a number of bar/coffee shop hybrids -- something I hadn't really seen anywhere else before moving here. But the fact that Houstonians want both alcohol and caffeine in one convenient location just makes me love this city even more. News outlets across the country are reporting on this Starbucks story as if it's groundbreaking.
Coffee and wine? Together?!
Please, people. We're way ahead of you, Starbucks.
Here are the best places in Houston to get your drink on and caffeinate, too.
Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails The name says it all. If you've gotta get a fix in Midtown and can't pick a poison, fret not, because Double Trouble has all the coffee, tea, wine, beer and cocktails you could ever want. The spot is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., so whether you need a pick-me-up on your way to work or a slow-me-down (What? That's a thing.) after live music at one of the nearby venues, Double Trouble will quench your thirst. It's owned by two ladies affectionately referred to as "the Robins," Robin Whalan and Robin Berwick, who previously worked at Poison Girl and wanted to create the same sort of friendly but edgy vibe in Midtown. Job well done, ladies.
Southside Espresso Located behind Uchi with convenient access to Uchi's free valet lot, Southside Espresso is a great spot for a quick light bite or a long evening spent with a laptop in front of you and a glass of wine in your hand. The wine list was created by Victor Torrijos, and there's a great rotating selection of craft beer. The baristas at Southside are also known for their wild latte art, which sometimes even edges into three-dimensional foam designs. Guaranteed to be even more entertaining after a glass or two of vino.
Khon's Wine Darts Coffee Art Should you be craving something beyond beer and wine with your latte, Khon's stocks a large amount of sake that you can order to sip or in cocktails. It's a funky place full of artsy folks, thanks to the owners' commitment to hiring local musicians to perform and displaying local art on the walls.
Bohemeo's Just look for the pink and yellow building! Bohemeo's has been serving up coffee, wine, beer and atmosphere in the East End since 2006, long before Starbucks thought of combining coffee and booze. The eclectic spot has live music a few nights a week, but during the day it's a great place to hang out and relax on the patio. Check out Bohemeo's Facebook page for info on the day's menu and rotating craft beer options.
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Antidote Coffee Antidote has all the caffeine you'll need the morning after imbibing too heavily at its sister bar, Poison Girl. Of course, Antidote also has plenty of beer and wine, if hair of the dog is more your jam. If you can get past the total lack of available parking (sorry, neighbor whose house I always park in front of), Antidote is a great place to hang out with friends or a laptop and munch on local food while drinking whatever strikes your fancy.
Agora If you're feeling like a little something Greek, check out Agora, where you can munch on pastries, drink coffee and relax with a little Greek wine that's virtually un-pronounceable (Xatzimichalis, anyone?). Agora is a large, two-story space with ample seating, but it's a popular destination for study groups and meetings, so sofas and tables fill up quickly. If crowds bother you, just start downing some beer from the massive selection, or indulge in some bubbles with your latte. What? That's also a thing.
Cafe Brasil Come for the wine, beer and coffee; stay for the excellent food. Cafe Brasil consistently produces some of the best breakfasts in town, and the quaint Dunlavy shop also serves lunch and dinner. The drink menu isn't fancy--there are basic coffee drinks and cappuccino, about a dozen beers and a handful of wines, but the prices are very reasonable and the ambiance is calm and inviting.
The Honeymoon OK, so this bar/cafe isn't quite open yet, but we hear it's coming soon. The Honeymoon will be the only business of its kind on the now-bustling strip of Main Street downtown that's home to Goro & Gun, Little Dipper, Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Lounge, Dean's and the Pastry War. These establishments are all bars/restaurants, and there are plenty of other restaurants in the neighborhood, but the nearest coffee shop is Double Trouble, which is a bit of a ride down the lightrail. The Honeymoon will offer both booze and coffee (and food) for the best of all worlds. "And, of course," says co-owner Matt Toomey, "we'll combine the two and have coffee cocktails." Perfect.