My time in Houston, Texas was very short. The city is the fourth largest in the United States, and I clearly underestimated my time there. There were two main reasons why I wanted to go to Houston this year. One was to use some frequent flier point I had that were going to expire. The other was to take the Historic Pub Crawl Tour with Urban Adventures tour that I won through the World Nomads contest.
My tour started at the Cellar Bar, a small bar located in the basement of Georgia Street Market, a grocery store. I ordered a beer, and chatted with the bartender while I waited for my tour guide. I got a call a few minutes later at the bar that the tour guide was in a meeting and running late. No worries. I order some mini sliders, and Connie, the tour guide came in a few minutes later.
I was originally the only person booked on the tour, but John and Lindsay, a young couple who were at the Cellar decided to join the tour as well. According the website the tour has a max of 12 people, but being just one of four was really fantastic. The small size meant we could ask questions, and really hear what was going on. We were shown several different interesting landmarks, like a Chicago style building, the Rice Hotel where JFK gave one of his last speeches before being assassinated in Dallas. The Rice Hotel is no longer a hotel, condo I believe, but the hotel sign is still there and the word Rice lights up in the evening. Connie also talked a little bit about Texas and Houston’s history. One thing I didn’t know was that when Texas was it’s own republic Houston was the capital before it was moved to San Antonio. We were shown the area where the capitol of Texas used to be.
Of course there was more history, but having a drink at every bar we visited proceeded to make my handwriting really messy. I discovered that Houston has some really good microbrews, and that if you go to Hearsay you should try the Hal-apeno – a drink made with muddled jalepenos, vodka, lemon and sugar. The bars themselves were all very historical, and all within a few blocks of each other. One of the neatest bars we visiting was Char Bar, which doubles as a Tailor Shop during the day and a bar at night (luckily the clothes are kept away from the drinks). The oldest bar we visited was La Carafe, which was built in 1847 and is the oldest two story building in Houston. I asked if this was a pretty popular area for locals, and the tour guide said that she found a lot of locals don’t know about the bars this area. It’s tucked away, close to downtown which looks like just office towers and 9-5ers. Obviously perceptions can be misleading.
For me the best part of the tour was the small group size. Being the only person on the tour not from Houston I learned a lot of interesting information about Houston, a lot completely unrelated to history. Our conversation turned to the oil industry, work, relationships, stripclubs, and other tangents completely unrelated to travel or history, but I loved it. Coming to a new city, and being able to talk to locals and just have a conversation is always a great thing. My first pub crawl was a success, and the fact that I got to learn a little history was a nice bonus. If there’s another historic pub crawl in my future I’ll be glad to go.
Note: While I won this tour with Urban Adventures this has not impacted my review of the tour. The original price of the tour is $30 and does not include drinks or tips. Since this particular tour involves alcohol You do have to be at 21 to join. To find out more about how to win contests check out my post How To Win Travel Contests – Amazing Tips From A Multiple Contest Winner.