I know, I know, I am very late to this party. I’ve been hearing amazing things about 13 Celsius for years, and since I don’t live near it, I didn’t get around to visiting until a few weeks ago. Big mistake. This place is great, and I plan to go there as often as possible. Here are my impressions after my first visit.
Atmosphere: Comfortable, with an elegant-yet-rustic sort of vibe. Suitable for showing up in whatever you wore to run errands earlier in the day, or dressing up and taking a date. I like the variety of seating options - sofas, tables, or bar.
Wine List: Extensive. 2 full pages of wines by the glass, with I don’t know how many more pages of bottle options. And a wide variety of wine styles. For instance, I’ve been meaning to try orange wines (wine made from white grapes, but using the method for making a red) for a long time (I’m late to that party too), but hadn’t seen them available anywhere. 13 Celsius had 5. BY THE GLASS. Pretty amazing.
Oh, and you know that full 2-page list of wines by the glass? You can have any of them as a 3-oz pour also. Double amazing.
I've heard that the name 13 Celsius comes from the temperature of a wine cellar (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit), and wines here are indeed served at the proper temperature. I'm always amazed how many "nice" restaurants will serve a room-temperature red wine. A good wine bar should pay attention to service temperature, and I appreciate that 13 Celsius does.
Food: The menu ranges from the standard wine bar fare of bread and meat and cheese (albeit with a wider variety of options than most places), to Panini, to larger hot meals. I had bread and cheese and a deliciously hot-out-of-the-oven pretzel.
Service: One of the most important features of any good wine bar is a knowledgeable staff, which 13 Celsius definitely has. Even if you know a good bit about wine, you'll still appreciate some guidance in selecting from their extensive list.
Bottom Line: This place has earned a spot on my shortlist of favorite places to drink wine in Houston. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to get there!