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Houston completely snubbed on Best New Restaurants list, but a downtown bar wins big

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The Pastry War people at bar with Bobby Heugel
The Pastry War is one of America's five best new cocktail bars, according to Bon Appetit.  Photo by © Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
13 Coltivare restaurant Houston January 2014
Unfortunately, Coltivare couldn't continue Houston's streak of having a top 10 best new restaurant.  Photo by Eric Sandler
The Pastry War people at bar with Bobby Heugel
13 Coltivare restaurant Houston January 2014

Well, so much for Houston restaurants earning a three-peat on Bon Appetit editor Andrew Knowlton's "Hot 10" list of America's best new restaurants. Coltivare, the Italian-inspired restaurant in the Heights with a massive garden and the city's sole 2014 semifinalist, did not make the cut.

However, that doesn't mean Houston was snubbed entirely. In addition to listing restaurants, Knowlton also compiled his Top Five new cocktail bars, which is where readers will find downtown Houston agave bar The Pastry War.

 The Pastry War has found an audience and critical praise despite refusing to serve mainstream brands of tequila that aren't made in the traditional way. 

"The Pastry War specializes in all things tequila and mezcal, so, yes, I would go on vacation with their Margaritas — and, no, I would have no problem ordering a frozen one," Knowlton writes.

Fittingly, Pastry War proprietors Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta, as well as general manager Francisco Terrazas, are currently traveling in Mexico and unavailable for comment, but a representative did provide the following reaction to the news.

"It's an honor to be included, and it's fitting that they are all in Mexico right now — touring distilleries, meeting mezcaleros. That's what this bar is about. Relationships, great spirits and the drinking culture of Mexico." 

Perhaps even more impressively, The Pastry War has found an audience and critical praise despite refusing to serve mainstream brands of tequila that aren't made in the traditional way. In a recent Facebook post, Heugel explained the bar's policy for which brands to carry, which consists of rejecting anything made at distilleries known to use "diffusers." 

"We firmly believe that part of hospitality is serving guests products with levels of quality that we can confidently endorse," Heugel writes.

Sounds like an award-winning philosophy.

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