Step into a time portal this season in Houston at the oldest bars and restaurants in Houston. From ice houses to barbecue to seafood restaurants that have been running over a century, here’s where to enjoy the legacy of Houston’s most historical eateries.
1. West Alabama Ice House
You won’t find many sparkly cocktails here — in fact, you won’t find any. As per icehouse tradition — and the West Alabama Icehouse being the oldest icehouse in Houston — it serves only beer, wine, and cider.
You may bring your own food, or better yet, order from Tacos Tierra Caliente — one of the best tacos trucks in the city parked across the street. It’s a great hang day or night, with ping-pong tables, cornhole, a pool table, and a basketball court for you to drunkenly squander your hoop dreams. 1919 W Alabama St.
2. Three Brothers Bakery
Boating four locations across Houston, Three Brothers Bakery is a great place to indulge in delicious treats! There’s truly something for everyone, from cookies and cupcakes, to holiday treats and everything in between. So whether you’re a connoisseur for baked goods or just looking for something to sort out that sweet tooth, stop by one of the four Three Brothers Bakery locations.
3. Lankford’s Grocery and Market
Open for over 70 years, Lankford’s Grocery has had ample time to dial down their burger recipe. Presently, the Montrose grocer turned icehouse fires up mouthwatering burgers for which you’ll gladly shell out a cheat day or two; see their mac-and-cheese-loaded Grim Burger, Frito-filled Frito Pie Burger, and hot hot hot Firehouse Burger.
4. Christie’s Seafood and Steak
As the single oldest running restaurant in Houston, Christie’s Seafood and Steak has been serving the city with excellent Gulf Coast cuisine and state-sized steaks for the past 105 years. Born in Galveston moved to the Texas Medical Center in 1934, Christie’s continues to serve the seafood and steak recipes three generations later.
5. Yale Street Grill
What began as a pharmacy and grill in The Heights in 1923, Yale Street Grill is now a full-service restaurant and grill 100 years later. Where before Houstonians would collect sodas, sandwiches, and prescription medications, now can enjoy counter service, hearty breakfast and lunch cuisine, as well as nostalgic atmosphere.
6. La Carafe
While not a speakeasy, La Carafe Wine Bar on Congress St. largely flies under the radar of Houston’s bar scene. Housed in a building built in 1847, the historic dive is believed to be the oldest bar in Houston.
La Carafe offers an intimate and ambient atmosphere, fit with a chandelier, wax-crystallizing candles, antique relics of times past, and one damn good jukebox. Take the stairs up to their second-story balcony for an enchanting view of downtown.
7. Char Bar
Suit up at Char Bar. Opened originally as a tailor, Char Bar is still a tailor – and also one of the most unique places to get a martini in Houston. Like something out of Mad Men, Char Bar is a historical establishment where patrons can get fitted for a suit while enjoying a vodka, tequila, and possibly a shoeshine.
8. Prince’s Hamburgers
Opened in 1934 as a one-man operation, the traditional scratch-made burger practices of Prince’s Hamburgers continue almost one hundred years later. Located at Sharpstown Golf Course, and with concessions at NRG Park, The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and more, Prince’s delivers on outstanding comfort food and the best milkshakes in town.
9. Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue
Though it’s undergone numerous changes since its inception 88 years ago – including a building, ownership, and name – Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue’s pit-fired brisket still hits the spot. Originally named Shepherd Drive BBQ, Pizzitola’s (after former owner Jerry Pizzitola) still features old-fashioned service and doesn’t run out of food.
10. Avalon Diner
Opened initially back in 1938 in tandem with Avalon Pharmacy, Avalon Diner is a greasy spoon institution. Now with three outposts in Houston, the diner offers an extensive menu with features ranging from hotdogs and chili to drug store burgers, deli sandwiches, and breakfast medleys.