Texans—we love our bars, and we love our history. So, why not beat the holiday cabin fever and take a trip to one (or more) of these bars that are woven into the fabric of the Lone Star State?
Located inside the historic 1930s-era Hotel Settles, Pharmacy Bar & Parlor is named in homage to the hotel’s original pharmacy, which served as a community water cooler, and was a place where Big Spring locals met to talk about weather, drops, politics or the topic of the day. It’s still like that today. The vibrant pharmacy-turned-bar area often features live music for guests to enjoy while offering a variety of classic cocktails and an extensive beer and wine list. Over the years, the hotel itself has hosted notable guests such as Elvis Presley, Lawrence Welk, and President Herbert Hoover, as well as Jerry Allison, Big Spring native and drummer for Buddy Holly and The Crickets
While Stagecoach Inn is one of the oldest restaurants in Texas, we’ve included it here. After all, it does have a bar inside the restaurant. Plus, it has a history stretching back more than 150 years!, Located along the historic Chisholm Trail, Stagecoach Inn first opened as the Shady Villa Hotel in 1861 and quickly became a renowned highway stop for locals and travelers alike. The restaurant was recently renovated and re-opened in early 2017. Today, the bar serves drinks like the Rio Verde with Polish vodka, basil, agave, green chartreuse, lime and grapefruit, that represent the core of Stagecoach Inn: a healthy reverence and respect for the past and a keen eye for ingenuity.
Built in 1887 as an exact replica of London’s House of Lords pub, this revered establishment was once the site of more cattle deals than any place else in Texas. It’s also said that Theodore Roosevelt recruited his Rough Riders here before heading off to fight the Spanish-American War. Today, the bar serves up innovative cocktails, garnished with some Lone Star history.
Built in 1847, La Carafe is inside Houston’s second oldest building. Over the years, this bar has served as many community staples, including a Pony Express station, a bakery, a Native American trading post, a Mexican hair salon, a bordello, a boarding house used by Sam Houston, and the hangout of people like Debbie Reynolds, Johnny Mathis, James Baldwin and Liberace. The bar pays homage to its history by sticking to its original concept: selling beer and wine only, for cash only, to this day.
Cover photo Pharmacy Bar & Parlor, Big Spring