Tip your hat to La Carafe.
Nestled in at 813 Congress St. between two modern gastro lounges on the border of Market Square Park in downtown is one not-so-modern establishment. La Carafe Wine Bar is a historic haunt housed in a building that’s stood for over a century and remains to be the oldest in the city of Houston. [Featured image: @shotsbyrayray]
Someone once said: “Time is like wax, dripping from a candle flame.” One imagines that the metaphor came to him over a glass of wine at La Carafe in Houston. Here at La Carafe, stalagmites of wax pile up all about the bar indicative of its passage through time. Built in 1847, and rebuilt in 1860 after its wooden framework was decimated by a fire, the building has been the home of a bakery, trading post, Mexican hair salon, and drug store before it became La Carafe in the 1960s.
It’s said to have been the hangout for the legendary likes of Debbie Reynolds, Johnny Mathis, Liberace, and James Baldwin. It’s rumored that Sam Houston himself even crashed at La Carafe one night in his later years.
To this day, it retains its intimate and warm-lit atmosphere. Fit with a chandelier, wax-crystallizing candles, antique relics of times past, and a timeless jukebox, patrons can saunter through this candle-lit time capsule and experience Houston the way it was way back.
La Carafe exclusively serves beer and wine and is cash only. While you’re there, be sure to take the creaky stairs up to their second-story balcony for a sweeping view of the Market Square. Also, it’s probably haunted so keep your spirits in check.