One year after its opening, I finally made it to Anvil Bar and Refuge, a cocktail oasis in Houston, TX. Anvil is co-owned by Robert Heugel and Friends, and it serves what are probably the most interesting cocktails in all of Texas.
The Texas cocktail scene is growing by the day, with respectable cocktail bars now open in Austin, Dallas and Houston, but Anvil is leading the charge, offering more hard-to-find spirits, house-made infusions and bartending talent than any bar I’ve frequented across my thirsty home state.
My visit to Anvil included a Friday night, drinking with the masses, and a subdued Saturday, sipping cocktails in the closed bar with Bobby Heugel. Standout drinks included the Pink Mountain, a well-balanced drink composed of gin, Campari, lemon juice, egg white and Angostura Bitters, and the unique Golden Gate Swizzle, composed of Fernet, orgeat, falernum and seltzer.
If nothing on the 10 drink menu catches your eye, pick a number from “The List” – a catalogue of 100 cocktails the Anvil crew suggests everyone try before they die. It includes staples like the traditional Manhattan and Old Fashioned, plus more obscure libations, like the Tailspin, Monkey Gland and Suffering Bastard.
And for the record, Bobby’s favorite cocktail? The Vieux Carré.