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Drink & Shop Secrets

Drink and shop: Five Houston stores that make the holiday madness truly merry

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pouring champagne wine into glasses
A little bubbly with my Cavalli? Don’t mind if I do. Photo by © Wilson Parish

Let’s face it. The holiday season can incite just as much stress as it can illicit joy. Schedules get more hectic. Task lists get infinitely longer. Wacky family members descend for visits. And social obligations increase tenfold.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, to top it off there’s the dreaded holiday gift shopping. If you’re not a cyber-type of shopper, there’s a lot to contend with when shopping in person: crowded malls . . . elusive empty parking spaces . . . finding the right gift (in the right size and color, no less) . . . heavy shopping bags . . . aching feet . . . arm-wrestling in the middle of a store to see who gets the last sales pair of . . . wait, that last example may or may not be one of a singularly personal nature, but you get my drift.

 Imagine how much less stressful the gift hunting process could be if you were able to simultaneously have a tipple while you perused the merchandise. Wouldn’t life be grand? 

How many times during one of those holiday marathon shopping excursions have you found yourself desperately wishing for a nice, comforting, calming cocktail? If you’re like me it’s been more times than you can count (which, coincidentally, also describes the number of cocktails you ended up consuming after said excursion).

Imagine how much less stressful the gift hunting process could be if you were able to simultaneously have a tipple while you perused the merchandise. Wouldn’t life be grand?

Well, before you actually begin to try to strategize where to stash your flask or how to set up a portable bar in your car trunk, let me clue you in on something: Some of Houston’s top retailers have already got you covered.

Here are five places you can get your sip on while you get your shop on:

Tootsies

If the chichi likes of Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Giambattista Valli, Valentino, and Missoni are on your gift list, then Tootsies is your mecca. It’s not just about fabulous designer brands however, as the fashionably au currant team at Tootsies has the art of providing a gracious, genteel shopping experience down to a science.

The store was built with a sense of social conviviality in mind, and that includes a tucked away bar area. The sales staff has no qualms about providing customers with a glass of wine to help quench their thirst while they stroll about the store to browse the racks of beautiful garments. A little bubbly with my Cavalli? Don’t mind if I do.

Billy Reid

Most good Southerners will often instinctually offer you a cocktail upon arrival in their home. With its roots in Southern culture then, it’s no wonder that the boutique that bears Reid’s name offers the very same kind of graciousness to customers.

Described as a men’s and women’s “American luxury brand” that pays the “utmost attention to detail, standards of quality and service," the store has an array of libations on hand sure to please even the discerning imbibers and shoppers.

Q Customer Clothier and Rye 51

Gentlemen, take note. Next door neighbor men’s retailers Q Custom Clothier and Rye 51 have just about everything you could possibly want in a shopping experience. High-end custom-fitted suits, shirts, ties, and accessories? Check. Quality men’s sportswear? Check. Comfy leather club chairs? Check. Flat screen televisions with the game on? Double check.

And, most importantly, a bar stocked with the stuff you like to drink. Check and mate.

Bar @ Saks

Many years ago Saks had a snazzy little bar on the third floor in the men’s department where my brother Dennis and I would meet regularly for a cocktail pre- and/or post-shopping.  Then in a cruel, fist-shaking gesture to the shopping gods, it was unceremoniously closed and removed.

After several years of wailing and gnashing of customers’ teeth, the powers that be came to their senses and installed the new and expanded “12 Bar.” In addition to having an excellent selection of tequila, whiskey and champagne (hello, lover!) the bar gets extra points for selling an array of sweet treats as well. After all, there isn’t much that the combination of liquor and sugar can’t make better.

Saint Laurent

The lady in your life has made her gift requests clear: She wants a fabulous pair of designer shoes and a luxurious designer purse. There’s no need to panic, just make a beeline for Saint Laurent located on the street level in the Galleria, just outside of Neiman Marcus. 

The store has a gorgeous selection of handbags and shoes as well as other exquisite women’s and men’s apparel and accessories. What’s more, you’ll be pampered while you shop with a perfectly chilled glass of bubbly. Avoid having more than one glass however, or you may end up walking out with a few more items than you intended to purchase.

On second thought, I think you should have three glasses and then pick up a bracelet for me. I’ll take the Signature Monogramme cuff in silver tone brass, please.

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Do you have a favorite place to sip 'n' shop? Let us know in the comments section below.

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