The Best Little Wine Bar in Texas

The Owl Elgin, Texas-4

What do expats, travelers, artists, and humanitarians have in common? You wouldn’t believe it but all these folks hang out at this really rad wine bar in small-town Elgin, Texas – about 30-45 minutes outside Austin. The Owl Wine Bar and Home Goods Store has much more than meets the eye and I was overjoyed to have stumbled upon it.

The Owl Elgin, Texas-1

Co-owned by Molly Alexander and Gary Luedecke, these guys are changing the landscape of Elgin, Texas. With an urban planning background (and having worked at the Downtown Austin Alliance), Molly quickly saw the potential of the charming old Elgin downtown.

The Owl Elgin, Texas-32

The one thing I kept asking Molly was… well, why Elgin? Austin in all of its bohemian glory is a quick 30 minute jaunt away. The answers will surprise you.

“Having come from a large city, I didn’t expect to find the depth of human interaction, creativity and connection that I have found in Elgin. Every community, in my opinion, is full of diverse and interesting people. However, while I am a bit biased, I have found that Elgin always exceeds my expectations. Our community is accepting, diverse, affordable and I believe our proximity to Austin has created a great place for artists, farmers, creative folks and others to call Elgin home. It has always been our goal that our store is an extension of our living room – we welcome folks to hang out, create and build community. We have amazing friends who have supported the store and everyday we have new customers who find us and add to our belief that Elgin is the Marfa of east Austin.“

The Owl Elgin, Texas-15

I just kept blinking in disbelief as I met more and more kindred spirits. A sculptor that has done multiple pieces for Houston. A humanitarian who had spent a lot of time in Africa. A slew of musicians were waiting their turn for the microphone. Molly herself spent a year backpacking around the world in 2001. I somehow found “my people” in a small city outside of Austin in this really rad wine bar. It would have been a damn shame if I had never come here in the first place.

With a big, beautiful mural painted on the wall (original from 1909!), the energy on a Friday night was contagious. People kept piling in for open mic night, shouting wine and beer orders to a furiously working Gary and Molly – in a city no bigger than 100,000 people.

Antiquing Texas

The Owl Elgin, Texas-6

And the wine – OMG. One of the really awesome concepts behind The Owl is finding great wines that aren’t too expensive that you can’t find at your local liquor store. “Red, pink, or white?” Molly smiled as she held up a few wine bottles. She gracefully poured me the REVO LUTION Malbec, which was probably some of the best I’ve had since we were living in Buenos Aires. I moved on to the “pink” which was a Father & Son Rose – delicious, cold, and refreshing for a hot, Texas summer night – and ended on Kung Fu Girl, a riesling from Washington. Normally I’m not a fan of incredibly sweet wines but this one was a nice, crisp wine to finish up on. Make sure to ask them for suggestions!

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And a quick heads up – it is incredibly hard to leave the store without buying any of the fab antiques found everywhere. Seeing as Shaun and I are setting up roots in Austin again, I wanted to own just about everything I laid my eyes on. Great find here, my friends. While I’m not normally an antiquing girl, I think Molly and Gary may have converted me on the spot.

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“We hope that The Owl spurs a retail renaissance for downtown Elgin and we encourage other creative entrepreneurs to come to downtown Elgin and try out their newest concept. The cost to start a business in Elgin is low, the community is ripe for redevelopment and open to creative concepts.”

You have me considering exactly that, Molly… you really do.

Molly Alexander was recently featured in Austin Woman Magazine. If you would like to read her article, please follow the link below:

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Disclosure: I was given a heads up about this place from a PR company in a no obligations deal. It sounded cute and Molly rained wine upon me when I arrived.


31 Responses to “The Best Little Wine Bar in Texas”

  1. Hayley July 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    This sounds like such a great place to spend an afternoon getting inspired. I will definitely remember it if I ever make my way to Texas! Cheers guys 🙂

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 11:57 am #

      I’ll be full of great ideas for you when you get here!

  2. Nicole July 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Digging all those antiques!!! I would definitely go there and try out wine! =)

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 11:58 am #

      I have never been an antiques person but now I’m convinced I just have never found the right ones. 😛

  3. Angela July 19, 2013 at 4:53 am #

    Sometimes life is weird like that, finding awesome people in places you never expected them to be. This place looks perfect to have some wine and look through all of the antiques.

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 11:58 am #

      I think it is Molly’s ploy to keep you in the shop longer. 😛

  4. Maria July 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Cool spot to get some shade, spark some creativity and chill for a while with something yummy!

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      YES. Although I would sit out on their patio more if it wasn’t a gazillion degrees outside.

      • Maria August 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

        I’m at home, in the A/C with some Dripping Springs chillin’ in the fridge. Come on over!

        Heard we’re at 25 consecutive days over 100 – better than last year *sheepish grin*

  5. Heather July 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    This place sounds like it’s outside my usual hangout…in a *good* way! I’m getting into wine (so far so good) and the funky antiques remind me of going to yard sales when I was a kid (classy ones, of course).

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      I’m just getting into wine as well – which is why I’m still down to try everything. It has taken me a while to start tasting different flavors but I’ll get there. If I can get Shaun to like beer, I’m sure I can get myself to love wine. 😛

  6. Alex July 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    I love this! Looks amazing. I’ve seen business like this popping up in my hometown of Albany, New York and it fills me with joy. Sometimes I think we get caught in the mindset that mega cities are the only planes to find worthwhile artistic and creative communities, and that’s just not true!

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      I think most cities have their enclaves, you just have to go and find them. I love projects like this.

  7. thetravelfool July 25, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    I will have to check it out next time I go through Elgin. I always make a side trip there because of the great BBQ places in town.

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Yeah, we always make a pit stop as well to grab sausage. GOOD STUFF.

  8. Barbara Weibel July 25, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    There’s so many antiques I cant imagine where they put all the people.

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      It does get a bit crowded but they do move a few things around to allow for a good time without worrying about breaking everything.

  9. Iain Mallory July 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    I always appreciate getting a new drinking hole tip, this one looks awesomely quirky. I do hope the items are genuine though, there is a company in the UK which actually provides paraphernalia like this, they even have a catalogue!

    Great photos.

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      They are genuine. Antiquing in Texas is SERIOUS business! I’ve seen the catalogues before and it is weird how they age things.

  10. Ava July 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Sitting in The Owl right this second and – you are right – it truly is an awesome find! Molly and Gary are here now ready to make wine suggestions. Come join us!!!

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Ava! I’m so glad that you got a bit of inspiration to head out there. They are super great people!

  11. Molly July 28, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Erica – thank you! Wow, we are overwhelmed by your love of our place. Thank you so much, your enthusiasm for our business brings tears to our eyes.

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      I’m so glad that I could be of help Molly! <3 My sister is dying to head out there so I'm sure you will see me soon.

  12. Stephanie - The Travel Chica July 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    You’ve convinced me that I must visit Elgin and this wine bar when I make my way to Austin.

    • Erica August 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      And me. You’re visiting me as well! 😛

  13. Diana Edelman July 30, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    AHH!! I SO want to go here!

  14. Ayngelina August 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    I love the style of this place, looks awesome!

  15. Mary @ Green Global Travel August 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    You’ve found a treasure! Could the second to last photo look more tempting?


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