Houston >Food & Dining > Spec's Wines Spirits & Finer
2410 Smith St, Houston, TX | Directions 7700629.748558 -95.377269
M-F 8am - 5pm
Neighborhoods: Midtown, South Central
You'll find everything, from liquor to wine to beer to even delicious sandwiches at this Houston favorite.
Wine and liquor heaven – The original Spec's is a destination shopping event for anyone who likes wine, and certainly anyone who drinks liquor. A true homage to all things wine and liquor, with a gourmet section of cheeses and other foodie staples, Spec's is unlike any other place in Houston. I like to wander the aisles and read the handwritten recommendation signs in the hopes of discovering that one true "find", a bargain priced wine that tastes like a million bucks. It's hard not to go crazy though and I can rarely leave here without buying at least 6 bottles of something to try. So beware, you are in danger of dropping some mega bucks if your eyes light up like a kid in the candy store. This kid doesn't mind whatsoever.
Houston's best liquor store – I always go here for the booze but end up leaving with something else, whether it's some delicious food or something for the kitchen. The booze selection is phenomenal with every brand of beer, wine, or liquor that you can imagine. The food really blows it away though with an awesome deli and great party food, as well as stuff to keep me full when I'm looking for something easy.
Friday afternoons there are so many liquor vendors sampling that you can get a good buzz on.
This is really the go-to liquor stop. There are just too many things I can ONLY find here and nowhere else. They have the best port selection I have ever seen including some bottles from the 1930's. Love it.
I Don't Think Any Liquor Store in Town Can Beat Spec's – I am lucky enough to live near Spec's (my wife and I moved to Houston only a few months ago), and I have been to the Midtown location probably more than any other business in Houston, save Lowe's and Target.
Pay cash and save 5%. I've seen it at places in other cities, and it's a great idea. I haven't paid with a credit card once, and I won't as long as I can keep saving.
The wine selection is great, but I would say that if you are looking for a certain wine, it can be hard to find sometimes without asking someone for help. The beer selection is good, and the prices are slightly below average. The liquor selection is good, but once I went to buy a bottle of rye, and they were out of the two I was considering. An employee called the store at Montrose & Westheimer, and they had it. Later that day I stopped by there, and they had it waiting for me at the counter.
My favorite part of Spec's is the grocery department, but more specifically the deli counter. The sandwiches they make there are probably the best bargain in town. Don't show up a second past 7:30 PM though, or you will get a response by the (sometime surly) deli staff that the "grill is closed.' (They will be happy to make you a sandwich that doesn't require heating up though.)
Basically, for a liquor store this place is the total package. The only place I have ever been to that rivals it is The Party Source just outside downtown Cincinnati in northern Kentucky.
All that is good in life – Drink a diverse array of excellent beers.
Drink fine wine from around the world.
Eat soft and hard cheeses from the most excellent of cows.
Taste gourmet chocolates from the finest cacao.
Feast on enormous deli sandwiches piled high with tasty deli meats, cheeses and condiments.
Indulge in a vast selection of superb spirits- rums, tequilas, cognacs.
That is Spec's Midtown, and that is all that is good in life.
Impress Out-of-Towners – Whether you have guests from Paris, Texas or Paris, France, their eyes will pop when they visit this Sam's wearhouse-sized liquor store. There's a reason why the Spec's rabbit wears glasses...well, why else would he?
The best time to go is on Saturdays, when they have liquor/wine distributors sampling their brands. It's also fun to people watch as they party plan down the aisles.
The gourmet items like the clotted cream with strawberries and the frozen desserts from Belgium are a foodie's dream come true. I can also buy my Godiva Creme Brulee here. There's a deli, but the food display does not look too alluring.
You can also register for a Spec's Key card, but you might look like a rehab candidate if you carry it on your keychain.
Terrible Policies – My wife and I love Spec's. We almost exclusively shop for wine at their locations in both Houston and Austin and have attended Bear Dalton's (the Spec's wine buyer) classes at Rice University three times. Due to the proximity to our home, I occasionally walk to the Spec's downtown location when buying small amounts. We love the selection, prices, and Bear's expertise in wine.
Last Saturday evening on February 13th, we were having guests from out of town and the weather was good, so I decided to walk to the Spec's downtown location. I had brought my backpack as I was planning on buying more than a couple of bottles. When I walked into the store at 5:30pm, the woman at the front guest kindly asked that I check my bag. I did and received a #6 clip and another gentleman gave me a shopping basket. After I had done my shopping, I went to the cashier nearest the exit.
While the woman was ringing me up, I told her I needed to fetch my bag to put my bottles in. She said it was fine and I left to get my bag and returned. I paid for everything, neatly put everything in my bag, and headed for the exit. As I was just about to leave, a large man behind me yelled, "I need to search your bag, did you check it?" I replied, "Yes I did, with the woman up front." I left Spec's and I was walking down the sidewalk, a smaller man with a goatee, a ponytail, and a Spec's polo shoved his elbow into my chest yelling, "You can't leave!" At this point, an HPD officer outside intervened, asking the two Spec's employees what was going on. I reached into my bag to show the officer my receipt and the two Spec's employees immediately fled inside the store. I asked for their names and why they had accosted me, but they had left very quickly after the officer arrived. I asked the policeman why this had happened. He stated he understood my frustration and said, "the policy is screwed up, this happens all the time."
I'm a reasonable and pretty easy going guy, and I understand that shoplifting is a concern, but I felt the actions of the two Spec's employees to be outrageous and reprehensible. I was treated by the two employees as a thief without cause and assaulted on a Houston sidewalk. The experience has left me shaken.
Racially Profiles Customers – After parking my Lexus in the parking lot, I walked in the front door where I was asked very rudely by an employee to leave my gym sack at the front desk. Since I just left the gym and had no pockets, I had to get my wallet, keys, iPhone, and iPod out of my gym sack (which I use when working out since I don't have pockets in my gym shorts) and hold it all in one hand.
While in the store, I noticed many other customers (mostly Caucasian) who had back packs and other large bags on, and many White women with large handbags much larger than my gym sack. Even after finished shopping and trying to retrieve my empty gym sack I was again harassed by store security (my little gym sack was the only bag being held at the front desk). I am a successful young man with a graduate education and a six figure salary, store employees deliberately targeted and harassed me due to race and appearance (since I was in gym clothes, I assume).
I will never go back to another Spec's, the selection of alcohol may be good, but there are many other liquor stores in Houston where I can go without being targeted and harassed.
:) Spec's Liquor – People are always happy to celebrate something at Spec's. I personally feel it's a landmark of Texas
Best place to shop in town – I have always LOVED shopping at Spec's Liquor...knowledgeable, intelligent staff who seem as if they'd be fun to socialize with outside of work. If I walk in looking lost, they offer immediate assistance, suggesting the ideal libation, if not outright saving me time in looking for the exact product I have come to expect is in their wide selection; the best in town. Yesterday, I was really impressed, as I thought I had left my wallet at the counter in a rush and it had been pickpocketed. When I returned, Louis, I believe, searched the trash cans outside the store and another manager ran the surveillance video for me, verifying that I didn't remove my wallet from my purse, I had paid out of pocket, therefore, it wasn't left on the counter to be picked up. I was so relieved! I found it, but they went over and above to help me in my stressed state of mind. Spec's Liquor is a fine example to study for any business wishing to improve their service.
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