When it comes to national publications assessing Houston's best bars, cocktail bar Anvil Bar & Refuge is a sure thing for inclusion, but the rest of the city's drinking establishments tend to get overlooked. As Anvil prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary, surely it's time to acknowledge a few other spots.
That's exactly what the editors of Southern Living and Garden & Gun have done in their recent looks at the South's best bars. Both lists include a couple of unexpected, and highly welcome, new additions for visitors who are looking to sample the best of what Houston has to offer.
G&G taps The Pastry War, an agave-focused concept from Anvil owner Bobby Heugel and beverage director Alba Huerta, as its eighth best new bar. The magazine praises the downtown spot for its focus on tequila that "may finally earn one of the Lone Star State’s favorite spirits a place alongside whiskey in the South’s pantheon of liquor." Of course, they can't resist a bourbon comparison by noting that "vintage bottles of Herradura Blanco and Del Maguey (can) command Pappy-high prices." While G&G doesn't note Pastry War's jovial atmosphere and top-notch service, they are both essential components of its appeal.
The Pastry War also joins Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar and Spirit Lodge, the West Alabama Ice House, Alice's Tall Texan and (of course) Anvil on the Southern Living list. First, it's nice to see two of Houston's best dive bars get a little national attention. On a nice day, is there anything better than drinking a cold beer and eating tacos from Tierra Caliente on the Ice House's sprawling patios?
Perhaps more importantly, it's nice to know that the editors of Southern Living were obviously inspired by CultureMap's picks for Houston's best new bars by the inclusion of Pastry War and Bad News.
Don't worry, there are still lots of quiet, under the radar spots for drinking with friends. After all, a bar doesn't need national press to be great.