Houstonians already know that Anvil Bar & Refuge serves great drinks, but the Montrose establishment continues to earn national acclaim, too. Award-winning spirits writer David Wondrich has included Anvil in the inaugural class of Esquire magazine's Bar Hall of Fame under the category of "general excellence."
"That’s cool. That’s awesome," an excited Bobby Heugel (Anvil co-owner) tells CultureMap. "It’s David Wondrich. I think over the last 10 to 15 years of this whole cocktail thing happening he’s the premier expert when it comes to bars and spirits. Considering the source, that’s a huge compliment."
Heugel says he and Anvil manager Jessey Qi happened to run into Wondrich in Dublin as they were wrapping up their trip to various whisky distilleries. "(Wondrich said), ''Hey, I put Anvil into this thing that Esquire asked me to do,' '' Heugel recalls. "I didn’t fully understand what he was talking about until today."
Anvil's status as Houston's first bar to embrace the craft cocktail movement certainly gives it an advantage when it comes to this sort of attention, but Heugel thinks other factors play an even larger role. For example, the bar hosts pop-ups like its recent Texas Tiki Disco Night and runs specials like its celebrated Break Even Bottle to reward regulars. He also credits the bar's staff for much of the acclaim.
"You take that many people and put them in one space it makes it awesome. My job is to not fuck that up," Heugel says. "We’ve been blessed with good people who’ve shared their lives with us."