Since opening in 2003, The Tasting Room has morphed from a wine bar to a full-service restaurant with four locations—all while retaining its wine-bar charm and racking up numerous awards and accolades. Diners can select libations from a list that boasts more than 200 wines, pairing them with contemporary dishes whipped up by executive chef Jonathan LeBlanc. TTR offerings run the gamut from small plates of mini grilled sandwiches and classic bruschetta to entrees including creole-spiced quail and Jamaican jerk chicken breast, which diners can savor at windowside tables or on the plant-ensconced patio and garden area.
The eatery doesn't just sate hunger for eclectic classics and thirst for fermented grapes. It also hosts live music, meetings, and events such as 2011's Grapes vs. Grains, which pitted beer against wine in a liquid wrestling match. The owners have their hands in other culinary enterprises, too. There's the Houston Cellar Classic, for example, an annual celebration of food and wine. Also popular is MAX's Wine Dive, a destination for gourmet comfort food best defined by its slogan—"Fried chicken and champagne? ... Why the hell not?"
Surrounded by Winetopia's brick-laden walls, visitors sample a succinct selection of tapas, absorb the notes of live music and karaoke, and explore the flavors of rare wines gathered from around the world. In the dining room, the arched tops of built-in wine cabinets fit snugly into exposed-brick walls, and the chatter of guests clustered around intimate tables syncs with the clinks of wineglasses alighting on a granite-top bar. A menu of small plates romances appetites with everything from light snacks, such as marcona almonds and indian popcorn, to more substantial morsels, including veggie samosas. Plates strewn with various cheeses find companionship in chatty napkins and the sweet notes of fresh fruit or the deep flavor of assorted cold cuts. The rotating selection of more than 200 small-production wines overrides the need for a formal list, so instead sommeliers pilot patrons through vinos imported from New Zealand, South Africa, Oregon, and Argentina. The less traveled can charter entire flights of wine or sign up for a tasting class, or eschew grapey spirits altogether for one of the bar’s 59 domestic or imported beers.
Pinot's Palette combines wine and art to create an enjoyable night out with friends or a date. The painting sessions encourage adults' inner artists whether they have any painting experience or not, encouraging light-hearted conversation, fun, and good cheer while painting and sipping BYOB beverages. Each session's painting of the night may feature anything from landscapes and wine-inspired art to known classics such as Van Gogh's Starry Night, and each painter tackles from their own artistic angle under the guidance of an experienced instructor. At the end of the night, painters can take their painting home with them and ring a "Gong of Awesomeness" on their way out to signify a good time.
Cellar 17 is a boutique wine bar and retail shop. Wines range in price from $10 - $500, specializing in small production wineries from all over the world.
We have fabulous Wine Tasting Events and a much touted Wine Club. Enjoy wines by the glass or bottle and pair it with one of our many delicious appetizers.
The aromas of succulent small dishes waft through the air as corks pop from wine and champagne bottles inside Cha's modish lounge, whose edibles and atmosphere earned the title of Best Wine Bar 2010 from the Houston Press. Pungent cheeses, olives, honey, and nuts ($15) ferry their cargo of harmonious flavors into mouth harbors. Cool crème fraiche and tarragon mustard engage in salty conversation with passing capers as each secretly hopes for a slow dance with smoked salmon ($10). Groups of four daintily tear at the seams of a blanca flatbread pizza with white-truffle oil and fresh mozzarella, or breathe in the smoky perfume of the barbecue-duck flatbread. The chef ties up leisurely meals with two portions of the dessert of the moment. Though not included in this Groupon, guests are encouraged to heighten their dining experience with jewel-colored libations from an extensive list available by the glass ($9+) and bottle ($30+).
With its fantasy-furnishing fusion of bohemian and baroque decor, Absolve Wine Lounge cossets diners within an elegant dining environment. Sink into a plush velvet armchair and rest your feet on a thick oriental rug while the rustic glow of ornate candelabras to survey the extensive menu with magic-carpet levels of ease. Diners can immerse tongues in the Absolve cheese experience with three cheese choices from a lineup including cambozola, manchego, raspberry bellavitano, roquefort, and more ($16). Prove the old adage that misery loves company almost as much as hunger loves meatballs with the Italian Stallion panini, stuffed with spiced meat spheres and mushrooms ($8), or simplify eats with a bacon pita burger, with beef, bacon, and cheddar jack sandwiched between two slices of crisp pita spread with homemade honey dijon ($8). End an evening on a syrupy note with a sumptuous slice of New York–style cheesecake ($6).