Opened in 2008 by whiskey aficionados Mike Raymond and Steve Long, Reserve 101 features 340+ whiskeys from 14 different countries, including rare selections, Texas whiskeys and hand-selected private barrels bottled directly from some of the world's best distilleries. With an edgy-but-friendly staff committed to educating customers about the ins and outs of whiskey and other spirits, along with monthly whiskey tastings hosted by master distillers and ambassadors from premium brands from around the world.
Reserve was recognized with a Gold award in Whisky Magazine's "Great Whiskey Bars of the World" in 2012 - the only bar in Houston and one of 20 in the U.S. to earn the distinction - and was selected as one of the "Best Whisky Bars in the USA" by The Whisky Isle in November 2013. Notable visitors have included The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Shakira, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant, Dana White and Sean Penn.
Visit Reserve for Happy Hour on Monday-Saturday from 2-6 p.m. for half-priced premium draft beer, $5 premium cocktails and $20 bottles of wine. Each draft beer has a suggested whiskey pairing, such as an Odell 90 Shillings beer with a Dalmore 12 year old.
Mike Raymond is the co-founder and co-owner of Reserve 101, Houston's premier whiskey bar and cocktail lounge located downtown. In 2008, after 20+ years of experience in the restaurant and bar industry, Raymond founded Reserve 101 with childhood friend Steve Long. Reserve 101 is known today for its internationally acclaimed whiskey selection – the largest in Texas – along with exclusive tastings with coveted whiskey brands, an extensive range of Texas spirits and beers, niche cocktail offerings and a prime location right across the street from the House of Blues Houston.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in New York and New Jersey, Raymond graduated from the Atlanta College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1997. He entered the restaurant industry in Atlanta as a bartender at Jocks & Jills, a restaurant owned by former professional athletes. He was soon managing each of the restaurant's eight different locations before joining Santa Fe Café in Decatur as bar manager, followed by a position at Aramark in Atlanta's Turner Field.
Raymond moved to Houston in 2000 to begin a three-year bartending stint with Champs American Grill and then landed a position at Downtown Houston's Strip House in 2005.
Inspired by his various experiences in the food and beverage industry, he began strategizing about how to open his own bar concept. Noting Houston's established wine and beer market, Raymond focused his research around whiskey. After several years of hard work and planning, his vision became a reality, and Reserve 101 was born as a home to a whiskey list with more than 340 whiskeys from 14 different countries including rare varieties that are highly sought-after.
Reserve 101 caters to a diverse audience—from business owners and judges to musicians and Houston Rockets staffers. Throughout the years notable visitors have included musicians The Killers, Arctic Monkeys and Shakira; Oscar winning actor Sean Penn; basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and NBA superstar Kobe Bryant; UFC president Dana White; and Houston Texans star Andre Johnson. The bar has won numerous awards and honors including USA Today's Best Bars for Whiskey Lovers and Eater's 14 Deepest Whiskey Lists in America. Reserve 101 continues to be known for its unpretentious, no-frills atmosphere and as a unique destination for scotch, monthly wine selections, exotic martinis and whiskey tastings.