Where To Find Great, Inexpensive Wine On Tap In Houston
Kegs aren’t just for beer anymore, and the proof is in select restaurants and bars around the city proudly serving a different beverage on tap: wine.
Though some may be tempted to brush off kegged wine as a trend, the market looks poised to keep growing, as eliminating bottles means less waste, lower costs, and more options for guests to taste at smaller quantities.
Some automatically assume lower cost means lower quality, but that’s not the case; vintners keg the same wines they bottle, and this new serving method ensures consistency in every glass. Unlike opening a traditional wine bottle, with keg systems there’s no risk of oxidation, thanks to inert gas that protects wine from coming into contact with oxygen. Temperature controls also mean each glass tastes the way the producer intended.
To taste quality wine on tap in Houston, the following spots offer options from reputable producers and have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer questions.
Harold’s Tap Room, 350 West 19th: The downstairs bar area at Harold’s Restaurant and Bar has a wine on tap program that encourages accessibility. Harold’s is one of the few places in town that offers wines by the carafe (one liter) and half carafe (half-liter), which means quality wine at a lower cost to guests. A bottle of Trefethen Chardonnay would typically cost $50 to 65 by the bottle, but the one-liter carafe here sells for $40. The current selection of nine wines on tap includes whites, reds, a rosé and Zardetto Prosecco, a sparkling option.
Max’s Wine Dive (two locations): Max’s takes its wine on tap seriously, and it shows in their keg and producer selection. Since starting the program over five years ago, they’ve consistently pushed suppliers for quality wines and environmentally friendly kegs. The generous happy hour—from open to 6 p.m.—makes it easy to taste through seven options at just $5 per glass. That’s a good reason to sip on Capriano Organic Pinot Grigio over a lunch meeting, or just re-locate work for the day.
Local Pour (two locations): This lively pub is known for its huge selection of beers (around 90, with about 45 on tap), elevated bar bites and live music. But the wine on tap selection offers real competition, which means it’s a place beer aficionados can take wine-drinking friends. Plus, both locations are open late on weeknights: perfect for a nightcap of wine. The King Estate “Acrobat” Pinot Noir is especially tasty.
The Heights Bier Garten, 1433 Shepherd: It may technically be a beer garden, but the recently opened, German-themed leisure spot also offers an unprecedented number of keg wines. With 30 taps dedicated to wine alone, there’s no reason patio drinkers can’t taste their way through several varietals while enjoying a round of yard games or relaxing in one of several hammocks.
Rico’s Morning + Noon + Night, 401a Gray: Wine on tap in the park—yes, please. Tucked inside Bagby Park in Midtown, Rico’s offers plenty of patio space and four wines in its tap rotation: Cupcake Chardonnay, Cupcake Red Velvet, Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10 Span Pinot Gris. Perfect for people watching and pairing with a Chili Cheese Dog.
Whole Foods Market, 1407 South Voss: When searching for a drinking destination, grocery chain outposts probably don’t rank high on the list, but it’s not every grocery store that offers wine on tap. The bar at Whole Foods on Voss offers a perfect excuse to sip one of four rotating wines at the in-store bar, or if you prefer to drink while you shop, that’s allowed too. If growlers are more up your alley, take wine on tap home after taste testing.
Lauren is a food writer and editor with a background in cheese and a penchant for pontificating on the joys of eating and drinking.