Houston's best espresso and vintage clothing?
March 11, 2010 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Houston! Caffeinate and clothe me, please. Can you recommend your best espresso and thrift/consignment shopping? (I'm going to be staying not far from the Menil.)

Specifics, should you want them:
- Designer thrift is awesome, vintage is even better
- My normal espresso haunts are some of these in New York (where, it seems, we are now serious about such things)
- I'll have a car

posted by minervous to Shopping (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Blue Bird Circle Resale Shop is not far from the Menil. It's on West Alabama, on the other side of Montrose. (Hours 10-4 M-F, 10-2 Saturday.)
posted by Ery at 11:20 AM on March 11, 2010

FWIW, I've never had much luck at Bluebird. I've always thought their prices were high, too. I used to find great stuff at The Guild Shop, although I haven't been there in years.

For coffee:
Empire Cafe


Diedrich, also known as Dirk's

We are also famous (via Lewis Black's rant) for having two Starbucks, right across the street from each other. However, last I heard there were now 3 Starbucks in that location, as they have put one in the bookstore that's in that same intersection.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:36 AM on March 11, 2010

Oh, you are in luck! You can visit the Epicure Cafe on W. Gray. They serve excellent espresso and their European pastries are to die for (yum, lemon tart). They also have outdoor seating which is lovely in nice weather. Also, it is located next door to a resale shop called Twice New. I have never shopped there, but according to their website they are a couture consignment shop that carries mostly designer brands.

Enjoy your stay - I'm jealous (former Houstonian).
posted by halogen at 11:37 AM on March 11, 2010

Oh, and for clothing, Buffalo Exchange has been around forever, although again, I haven't been there in years.

All these places are in the Montrose area, BTW. There are probably other consignment and vintage stores there - they come and go pretty rapidly in that neighborhood.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:40 AM on March 11, 2010

I'll second the Guild Shop, Empire Cafe and Brasil. If the weather is nice you can just walk from the Menil to all of those locations.
posted by zamdaba at 11:44 AM on March 11, 2010

Best answer: Inversion Coffee is a favorite of mine.
posted by thack3r at 12:08 PM on March 11, 2010

Brasil also happens to be across the street from Houston's "thrift" strip, which include Buffalo Exchange, TaxiTaxi and a handful of other places. It's also across the street from Empire Cafe and Agora.
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:38 PM on March 11, 2010

Diedrich/Dirk's, yes.
posted by Neofelis at 1:06 PM on March 11, 2010

The thrift stores on Washington, like the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores, are cheaper and, IMO have a better selection.

Also like Taft Street Coffee, which is a cool bookstore, art gallery, coffee shop combo run essentially in the basement of a church. They serve Katz' Coffee which is by far the best local roaster.
posted by cross_impact at 1:24 PM on March 11, 2010

Best answer: If you're willing to drive 5-10 minutes, my outrageous coffee snob Seattle transplant friends love Catalina Coffee on Washington and Antidote just north of there (my favorite). If you are a serious thrifter and you're willing to take a serious drive (30 mins, maybe), the Pasadena, Texas Value Village is where it's at. (I say "serious" because it's near the heart of all the oil refineries, with all that that implies.) I think it's where many Houston thrift stores go and get their stuff. It's pretty unfiltered. There are two designer consignment places I know of, Twice New (5 minute drive) and More Than You Can Imagine (10-15 minute walk).
posted by *s at 2:55 PM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thirding Brasil. It's a really nice place for coffee, and to just hang out.
posted by Houstonian at 5:44 PM on March 11, 2010

Lots of good recs already. A thrifty friend of mine loves the Savers Thrift stores - and she finds some great stuff. Trudy's has some fun resale stuff. Also I've found good stuff at The Way We Wore. Also sometimes you find good things on 19th Street in the Heights.

For coffee you must try a local favorate: Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Givral's or Pho Saigon on Milam are both great.

I second Catalina, Antidote, Brazil, Epicure, Inversion, Empire. All wonderful atmospheric places.

I've been meaning to try a new place, Waldo's on Heights. Can't vouch for it yet but it looks interesting.
posted by dog food sugar at 4:52 PM on March 16, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone, for your answers!

I ended up trying Brasil, Antidote, Catalina, and Inversion. Antidote and Catalina were by far my favorite places for coffee. I think Antidote has the better atmosphere - the used bookshop eight next door is a huge plus - but both had fantastic espresso that I would gladly drive walk or hitchhike there for.

I had less luck with the thrifting, if only for the fact that I ended up spending most of my spare time drinking espresso or at the Menil or FotoFest. I did find Retropolis though, and scored a vintage picnic dress.

Thanks again, all.
posted by minervous at 7:01 AM on March 22, 2010

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