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Exploring “Historic Downtown”

I took a really fun walking tour of downtown Houston last night.  It was a “Historic Downtown Pub Crawl” and we got to learn a lot of the history behind many of the beautiful old buildings that are interesting watering holes.  It was a good mix of education and recreation.  🙂

First we started at Georgia’s Market, a cool downtown grocery store with a focus on locally grown, organic produce and meats.  Also, they have a cute little bar down in the basement with lots of local beers and wines.  My favorite part was a beautiful wine cellar in the back that you can rent out for events.

The cool wine cellar in Georgia’s Market

Next, we walked a few blocks to a bar across the street from Market Square Park (which has a dog park in it!).  The bar is aptly named Market Square Bar and Grill, haha.  I tried a local beer from Karbach Brewery called Weisse Versa Wheat.  One of the other people on the pub crawl told me that brewery tour is really fun, so I’ll have to add it to my growing list of things to do here!

After hanging out and sipping beer for a little while, we walked on to the next few places.  One of the coolest/most unique places we visited was Char Bar.  Apparently this street used to be called Tailor Row because of all the tailor shops that were there, and this is the only remaining one (yes, it’s also a bar).  They also offer shoe shines; what an eclectic mix!

You know, just shopping for a tie while I have a cocktail. . .

The facade of Char Bar

Pictures showing the history of the family that owns it above the bar

After that, we stepped into Warren’s next door, to check out the atmosphere.

The little stage inside Warren’s (historically occupied by burlesque dancers)

Every place we went had such cool light fixtures; Warren’s was no exception

Next, we stopped for a quick minute into La Carafe, the oldest bar in Houston.  Apparently it’s also one of the most haunted places, and there’s a ghost that has to give you her approval before you can work there.  It smelled heavily of incense, and there was a scary gypsy monkey guarding the cash register.

The monkey (sorry for the not so great picture)

It had such a cool atmosphere, I totally want to come back for a glass of wine sometime!

 

Next, we stopped for a drink in a bar called Hearsay.  It’s in a really old brick building, and they have a two story open floorplan with a beautiful chandelier.

The gorgeous chandelier!

They had an awesome menu, and I really wanted to try a bunch of their cocktails.  I settled on the “twelve spot;” a mix of bourbon, orange, sugar and angostura bitters.  It was delicious!  I think this was my favorite stop of the night, it had such a cool vibe, I’d love to come back for dinner.

The back of the bar

Our last stop of the night was the Hotel Icon.  It’s in a building that used to be a bank, and the vaults are still there.  We got to peek into the back office where you can still see the lock mechanism of the safe.  The building sat abandoned from the mid-eighties until 2007, when a business magnate spent 50 million dollars to rehab it and turn it into an absolutely gorgeous hotel.  They even imported artisans from Italy to hand carve all of the crown molding and plaster work in the lobby.  It’s now owned by Magic Johnson and managed by his son, and they’ve put even more money into it.  It’s really opulent, and very Texas (there were cowhide chairs in the lobby)

The beautiful ceiling in the lobby

Another view of the lobby

Overall, it was a really fun night.  As a total newcomer, it was nice to have interesting places pointed out to me, and I won’t be at a total loss next time I”m in the neighborhood looking for something fun to do.

 

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Fun Stuff

 

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