Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Spec's #00 - Downtown

Not Rated.
Spec's #00 - DowntownSpec's #00 - Downtown

43 Reviews
Reviews: 43
Visits: 89
Avg: 4.42
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

2410 Smith St
Houston, Texas, 77006-2316
United States
phone: (888) 526-8787

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @specs1962

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 43 | Visits: 89
Photo of Sammy
3.14/5  rDev -29%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 1.75 | selection: 4

This is a supermarket so no service or vibe expected
Wireless access would be a minimum. Very good selection though. If they bring the brewer in, then all the current offerings tend to be there.

 195 characters

Photo of shoky01
3.45/5  rDev -21.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4

The downtown Spec's at Smith st is one of our most traveled to destinations, and its 40 miles from where we live. Being that we mostly go down there for the expansive beer selection. They carry the larger brewers, and are always willing to pick up new ones as well. Have seen at least 2 new one in as many weeks. Though being a busy metropolitan store has its downfalls: slim pickings by the weekend and not great parking. Also being that its the main store in the region if there is a limited release they may be the only one that gets it and being that focused it goes quick. Had to go to Austin just to find more Drinkin' the Sunbelt since every Spec's in the area was completely out or never got it. But overall i like it there.

 732 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.63/5  rDev -17.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75

Huge selection of beer, off top. Four or more aisles of bottle, packs, a local aisle, tons of coolers and end caps. Most stuff was fresh, but there were some brands that seemed to sit longer, so I became weary if I couldn't find dates for IPAs. I had no problem racking up a $200 bill. **PLEASE NOTE** Plan ahead and have cash; things are priced cheaper if you pay with cash, not credit/debit. So it's definitely a value, especially paying cash.

Service was meh. Plenty of staff and apparent management, just in the beer area, but never saw a staff member talk to anyone but other staff members. Lots of shooting the shit going on. I didn't need help, but when someone does, I bet they'll feel like they're intruding. Sadly.

In the end, hard to top the sheer variety offered.

 778 characters

Photo of Getalegup
3.74/5  rDev -15.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

Great selection and price for our region. It is hard get help from the tons of people working there. Maybe the two times I have been is when the beer people were having a bad day. I don't know what the problem was. I will continue to go but not for the service. For service, you need to pay a little more and go to your neighborhood bottle shop.

 345 characters

Photo of
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%

Stopped in 12/28 while in Houston for the Texas Bowl.

Quality of my purchases (what I have tried) was fine. I didn't see much dust on anything, and the seasonals were appropriate.

Service was quite good. If you stop for more than a minute or two, someone will ask if you need help. The two questions I asked were promptly answered. One of the guys even went and got a "professional" for the section after I told him not to worry about it. The professional knew the answer.

Selection was a little less than what I had hoped for. Maybe it suffers from comparison to Baltimore. Still, you should be able to find something good, especially if you are after Texas beer. Belgians and German beers seem to have good representation. Other crafts include Stone, Rogue, Great Divide, New Belgium.

Pricing seemed reasonable. I bought a six pack each of Rahr's and St. Arnolds, and they were both about $7. I also picked up 7 bombers (Lagunitas & Left Hand), a 12oz. Delirium Tremens, and a Lindemans. The total for that was another $46. Just remember to use cash so you save the 5%.

 1,083 characters

Photo of myspoonistoobig
3.86/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Stopped here on a recent business trip. Now, don't get me wrong, this is an incredibly impressive store. Unparalleled square footage. Tons and tons of beers. I believe the others reviews that say if it is available in TX, it's at Spec's. That said, I left here feeling a little empty. It felt like a Best Buy of booze.

The employees, busy restocking the shelves, were helpful. They pointed me towards the local brews and things they thought I wouldn't be able to get in NY, but one displayed an odd level of arrogance that I found off-putting. When I asked about Jester King, he said "yeah, well, we're the only place in Houston to get it and we sold out 15 cases in three days." Not only was it untrue that they were the only place to get it, but why would I want to know how quickly they sold it? Granted, if they got 15 cases when Central Market only got one, that is a display of their buying power. But is that supposed to make me feel better about buying there? In any event, the other employee was much more engaging, and gave me the head's up that they would be receiving more CoCoNut Porter the next day, which I thought was really nice. He also made some decent recommendations.

All told, thought, I feel like they may be a victim of their own success. There were no hard-to-find beers there while I was there. I suspect it's because if something rare is coming out, everyone and their mother comes here looking for it.

I'd consider going back, just for the spectacle if nothing else, but I'm in no rush.

 1,520 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev -9.5%

When visiting my daughter in Clear Lake, I've shopped at her local Spec's and her Kroger for beer. The Spec's in Webster has an extensive beer selection. Hell, even the Kroger has a nice array of beers. The word, though, from my daughter was that I needed to get to Spec's Superstore to really experience an enormous beer selection.
So, after going to the zoo, we found ouselves on Smith Street. While the beer selection was pretty huge, I didn't think they had that many more brands than the local Spec's.
Still, at least to this New Englander's eyes, they had a lot, and I had fun browsing around. The staff was knowledgeable and helpful, and the prices were quite reasonable.
I think whenever I'm in downtown Houston, I'll hit this place up.

 744 characters

Photo of aforbes10
4/5  rDev -9.5%

We stopped at specs in Houston because we heard it was the biggest beer place in texas and was not to be passed up. i also heard from someone that they had massive amounts of lagunitus and dogfish head so i was really excited....and i have to say i was a little underwhelmed. they did have a good selection but our local place in south bend is better. maybe i shouldn't have expected that much from texan beer. oh well. i did grab some massive bottles of el salvadorian beer just to try them and i found a bottle of avery's samael's oak aged ale that didnt have a label and a clerk made a label for me so i could buy it. that was nice of him. but yeah, i guess this place is pretty darn good if you're from anywhere in texas, louisiana, mississippi, etc. but if you're from the coasts or upper midwest...you've seen better.

 823 characters

Photo of YonderWanderer
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%

This is one of the largest liquor stores I have ever been in. I was blown away by the sheer size of it from the outside, and the layout inside is impressive as well, and also very well organized. The beer selection is very well-laid out, with several shelves of bombers, more shelves of 6-packs, and a long line of coolers. Of course all of the macros are represented, but beyond that, they's an impressive line of micros from around the country, Texas locals, Belgians, and a variety of other imports. A large cooler of singles is also available if that's what you're looking for. This store and selection was just highly impressive, especially compared to what else I saw in Texas. I would definitely recommend this as one of the beer stops if you're in Houston.

 764 characters

Photo of acrawf6
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%

I have some mixed thoughts about spec's, or maybe Houston. They certainly did have a nice selection of beers, but i just thought they would have more, particularly in the american micro genre. It's not a bad or low selection, i guess i was just expecting more (wishfull thinking from where i'm from).

The quality was good, seemed they took carefull attention to the beer isles. They also have pretty much all the beers they have in coolers, which is nice.

Service was pretty good. one guy stuck around the beer area asking if anyone needed help.

But i guess overall the selection what pretty nice. Lots of things i usually cant get. (i just thought houston would have more). I thought the belgian section was slacking, nothing out of the ordinary really. English beers were pretty generous. As far as american beers, they sold lots of texas beers, had a large amount of Avery Brewery beers, as well as Great Divide. But it just seemed their selection was focused on texas and Colorado. Nice to see abita there; very nice to see lots of people buying them.

Value is average.

Overall it is a great place to check out. Tons of wine, tons of liquor. Nice little grocery store in it as well. Check it out.

 1,206 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%

I could not help but be impressed by the size of the location. Eileen, my CS host, said that the entry was in the corner, under the dome. Under a dome!?! WTF? Once again, we have nothing like this in Pennsylvania. The logo was of a bespectacled jackrabbit - specs, get it? For their super quick service. this was not just beer and wine, but high-end cheeses, a full-service delicatessen, liquors of every stripe, glassware, coffee, cigars, cigarettes. 21 checkout lines. Two prices - one for cash, one for everything else. My only complaint was that you could not break 6-packs and the single selection was limited.

 615 characters

Photo of armock
4.2/5  rDev -5%

This is on of the biggest liquor stores that I've ever been to. Compared to the rest of the stores selection the beer section was smaller than expected. I'm not saying that they don't have a lot of choices but the beer area was kinda small. With the space that is for beer its very well stocked and kinda organized. Micros are all togeather and the others by country. They have a pretty good selection of bombers too. I hade to limit myself to just a hand basket of beer because it would have been easy to buy beer for a good long time there.

 542 characters

Photo of champ103
4.24/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I am always impressed with Spec's Warehouse. A huge place, and a great selection. Everything that is at the regular Spec's stores around Houston plus much more! Well, pretty much everything that is distributed to Houston. The Gentleman is is a regular on the sight, and is the very informative beer manager of the store. He is always helpful, and knowledgeable. Though the rest of the people working here can be a bit standoffish. If I was just rating Joey, the service score would be much higher.

Everything that comes to Houston can be found here. Jester King, Smokestacks, they get more cases of Saint Arnold DR's than any other place in the state. Find the beer manager, and he will gladly talk your ear off. As well as find you what you are looking for.

 759 characters

Photo of Bayou_beer_guy
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Okay. This place has the best and largest beer selection in Houston. If there is a limited release in Houston it will be found here. Here is the bone I have to pick with this place:
Spec's only do their special releases at their downtown location and only on weekdays at 10:00 am.
Only a select few can get to this location during a weekday morning for these releases.
I realize that this is a a personal thing, but really this cuts out a whole bunch of people that would like to get their hands on some limited stuff. I talked to the managers of the beer sections at other Specs and they have told me that the beer managers at this location will not make those limited releases available to them.
But as I said, great beer selection.

 738 characters

Photo of Hopmodium
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I went to D&Q Mini Mart last week to stock up so I decided to give Spec's on Smith a chance to see if they could compare.

What Spec's makes up for in selection and prices, they lose in atmosphere and service to D&Q without a doubt.

I had heard the deli was amazing and it was, gyro for me and a veggie sandwich for my lady did us well after our beer shopping. Great selection of chips, chocolates, and cheese to go along with what you get from the deli. Simply amazing selection on almost all products they carry, prices were also the best I have seen in Texas.

I found three 4-packs of brews I had never tried, two 6-packs of some gems from California and 6 more bombers with my food from the deli all for $108 compared to $115 from D&Q for roughly the same amount I spent solely on beer the week before. Do not trust their website to be accurate although it did help me see what they claimed to have carried, which was an assorted variety like no other.

The staff that was supposed to be helping customers in the beer section were more busy trying to impress one another while using the coolers as stand-up recliners, keeping us from shopping in certain areas without feeling like we were interrupting them. They did ask us if we needed help but quickly seemed annoyed that we were asking for beers that they did not carry (D&Q had them, by the way). I was just using the information I had retrieved from their own website when asking them for products and they seemed irritated and judgmental.

Classic example of big vs. small, you pay more at D&Q but you will get better service and atmosphere although Spec's does have a larger selection and better prices (even if you are not paying with cash).

This place is certainly worth the visit if you just remind yourself that within the hour you will be able to enjoy your beverages without the pseudo-hipster glares haunting you from the corner of your eye.

 1,912 characters

Photo of HardTarget
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%

Ground zero for the beer and liquor selection for Texas.
A huge warehouse feel, aisles and aisles of every beer, wine, liquor, spirit, and glass you could want. The beer section has about 12-15 cooler doors, and about 2 aisles of warm beer choices. They do a good job of keeping a lot of the choices in Texas in stock, but I think Hall’s (in DFW) might have an edge on them. They had a good selection of DFH beers and I got the Midis Touch and 120 min IPA which are hard to find in Texas. I also found Ice Cider, which even Grapevine in Austin didn’t carry.
Staff was very friendly and helped me find what I needed and served me with a smile.
This is the place to build a party, whether it’s a small gathering of just you, or a block party for the ages.
If you’re in Houston, there’s no reason not to be at Spec’s downtown.

 835 characters

Photo of adamhimself
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%

I really like Spec's Midtown (or downtown if you are old school.) They have a great selection across the board. The cool thing about the place is not only do they sell quality beer, but they also have a multitude of other items. In fact, I had been looking for some really rare spice and I happened across it right near the beer isle by sheer accident. They also have a full deli with some really good food. They even have specialty food items for sale such as fancy cheeses.

The cool thing about Spec's Warehouse is they are the 1st in town to usually get the rare and limited releases. In the past month I have picked up Deschutes' The Abyss and Brooklyn Brewery's Black Ops. They also have a little special section dedicated solely to Texas beers. Chances are... if its available in Texas, then its as Spec's.

 813 characters

Photo of GJ40
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%

Wow, this place is huge! The beer selection is big but that's not where the size comes from. There's also a big selection of wine, spirits and specialty foods. It's nothing fancy (as described, it's a warehouse) but they really stock this place.

I only focused on the beer. They had a few loaded aisles and a long refrigerated section. It included a pretty good selection of beer from throughout the US and Europe along with several local breweries. They seemed to have sixes and larger bottles but no mix a six option. I made the trip over for The Abyss and Black Ops and managed to find both.

The prices are a bit on the high side but the cash discount eases the pain a little. I was asked if I needed help but I didn't take him up on it so I can't really comment to much on the service.

I hit a lot of beer stores on my travels and Spec's is right up there. It's well worth a visit.

 888 characters

Photo of Dubblebock
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%

Spec's is a Houston liquor store institution, and this downtown location is one of the best beerstops in town. I used to shop here a lot when I lived in Houston, now I go when I get in to visit the in-laws.

Easily located, well-lit, adequate parking, clean lot.

Very good service. There is always someone there to answer questions or offer information regarding one of the beers. Above average selection compared to most liquor stores, but not as good as some of the places in Austin. Lots of domestic micros, a good number of imports. Clean stacks and displays. Prices were competitive to slightly high on a couple of items.

All in all, a good place to try if you're in the area. Spec's has a lot going for it if you want to find something a little out of the ordinary in H-Town. They have smaller satellite locations all over town, but none has as good a selection as this main locale. Spec's also has an online order-entry system for those who might want to buy via the Web.

 988 characters

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%

This place is huge and has a lot of liquor, wine, and beer. There are free samples everywhere. It was awesome. I got to try some satan beers, some vodka, some wine, and some good cheeses. It's like a supermarket of beers. I've never been somewhere where they give samples before.

They had a nice selection and GREAT prices if you pay cash. You get a 5% discount if you pay cash. I really really liked this place. I got a winter mix case for $20.86. They also sell a good amount of mixed singles. Try this place out. It's pretty nice.

Everyone here is pretty nice and helpful. I recommend going.

 600 characters

Photo of drummermattie02
4.41/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Spec's Midtown has a warehouse feel to it because, essentially, that's what it is. Beer selection is easily the best in town -- if it gets distributed to Texas, there's a very good chance that Spec's has it. They also have a great selection of Texas locals, including seasonal releases.

Liquor selection is also pretty amazing, I could spend way too long just browsing the aisles of this store.

Finally, I enjoy the updates that get posted on BA by their beer guy -- keeping the BA community informed of recent product updates is so easy, but also so important.

 563 characters

Photo of RickSawyer
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%

If you are in Houston and searching for craft beer, Spec's downtown is a must visit spot. They have 'THE' best selection in town. Their employees are very helpful and knowledgeable (usually) about the beer they keep. High volume helps keep older items off the shelf. Their only limitation is the limits placed on them by the state. Great selection of Texas crafts to boot. Unfortunantly, no growler fills (no draft) but they will try to help you attain anything that is 'attainable' in the state of Texas. A must for beer advocates in Houston area.

 548 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Went here a couple of weeks ago and can't wait until I get to go again. Fortunately, I have family there, so I have a reason to go, other than beer.

Checked out a couple of 'satellite' Spec's locations, but this is the one to go to. They have everything the smaller spots have and more. Found several things that I was searching for along with a few surprises that I didn't expect.
The staff was very helpful and even pointed out a couple of things that I'd missed, based on what they saw in my cart.
Prices were what you'd expect them to be, overall. A couple of items were a bit pricey and a couple were cheaper than expected, so it kind of balanced itself out.
They have a decent wine and liquor selection, too, by the way.

This location also is a high-end grocery store. Imported cooking goods and chocolates. Fresh produce and meats and cheeses. A great selection of sodas, a few of which even I was unfamiliar with.

Aside from the beer, the best thing about this location is their deli. You can get food to go or they have bench seating in the front of the store so you can eat it there.
My wife and I agreed that this is the best deli sandwich spot we've found outside of New York.

An excellent store that is not to be missed.

 1,237 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

This is a huge liquor store, it's property takes up an entire block. Spec's has a small specialty food section with plenty of food to pair up with wine or beer. They also have an enormous selection of any wine or liquor you'd want. Furthermore, this is the best place to purchase beer in Houston. Spec's has a very strong selection of all the major imported countries and American micros. Spec's employees are always eager to help and have knowledge of the stock. The prices are very reasonable considering the huge selection and items frequently go on-sale. Since the stock rotates quickly I've never had a beer that has sat too long or been unreasonbly skunked. This is well worth the drive, unless you have a well-stocked neighborhood Spec's close by.

 754 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Nothing bad to say about this place at all...I wish the Austin Spec's were more like this beauty of an all-encompassing alcoholic beverage emporium. Did I mention they have a huge section of fresh foods too? I got stopped by a lady at a booth selling her own Olive Oil...delicious.

The beer selection has everything you'd find in Texas. I didn't notice any huge omissions, obviously, and they seem to get new stock regularly, including Rogue's Captain Sig Northwestern ale and Somer Honey when I visited. Plus, they put signs up all over the shelves that list and describe future releases (although this did provide me some false excitement/disappointment when no Mikkeler, Allagash Belgian Stout, and Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ales were to be found). Staff is helpful and friendly, roaming the aisles and generally bustling about. Very lively store, to say the least. Prices are low, as expected for Specs.

 914 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Spec's #00 - Downtown in Houston, TX
97 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.