With two new upcoming bars, Bobby Heugel has some busy months ahead of him . . . And that's not mentioning the budding Houston bar and restaurant mogul's drinks tent at the Free Press Summer Festival, his seminars at the Tales of the Cocktail convention in New Orleans and the launch of his company Clumsy Butcher, which will open the hotly-anticipated Julep lounge by the end of the year.
"Yeah, people have been asking why we're doing so much at once," Heugel laughs in an interview at Catalina Coffee. "I should mention that these aren't all my own projects. We have so many talented and eager people on our team right now, and it's all just happening at the same time."
First on the agenda was The Pastry War — a cantina-style bar at 310 Main Street in the heart of downtown's quickly-redeveloping Market Square area. Clumsy Butcher's new offices are located two floors up and the company's OKRA Charity Saloon is just around the corner. Captain Foxheart's and Goro & Gun are just doors away on the same block.
"There's a synergy of cooperation in the neighborhood right now," Heugel says. "We're trying to build a place in the city where you can visit multiple bars run by good operators."
Named for the 1838 French-led invasion of Mexico, The Pasty War is an homage to tequila and mezcal. The Clumsy Butcher crew spent months traveling through Mexico to meet with farmers and producers. More than 80 percent of the bar's product will be sourced from families the company knows personally.
Named for the 1838 French-led invasion of Mexico, The Pasty War is an homage to tequila and mezcal.
"This is a bar we've all wanted to open for a long time," Heugel says. "It's a casual place inspired by some of our favorite Mexican cantinas and all the drinks will be affordable. We're planning one of the city's best and cheapest margaritas for only $6 or $7.
"Ultimately, we hope to encourage customers' interest in tequila."
Next door at 308 Main, Trigger Happy will serve up a short list of bold beers and wines. Heugel guesses this bar won't have an across-the-board appeal . . . but doesn't seem to mind.
"We'll only have the beers and wines we're most excited about," he says. "There will only be 20 taps — all ales and 'dork' beer — and about 50 wines from lesser known regions. We really want people to discover new things here."
Both Trigger Happy and The Pastry War are expect to open by the end of the summer. Houston firm Collaborative Projects, which designed Clumsy Butcher's Underbelly and Hay Merchant, has been tapped to handle interior renovations.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited Julep — the forthcoming bar from cocktail guru Alba Huerta — is finally making headway after resolving several structural problems at its vintage building on Washington Avenue. The Clumsy Butcher hopes to open it by fall or winter.
Heugel also revealed plans for the Free Press Summer Festival tent, which will be designed to mimic the Anvil space on Westheimer . . . but with cloth walls. Expect a small food menu and four julep carts directed by Heurta herself.