lose the battle

Anvil owner's downtown tequila bar will say adios at the end of October

Anvil owner's downtown tequila bar says adios at the end of October

The Pastry War people at bar with Bobby Heugel
A vintage photo of Bobby Heugel behind the bar at The Pastry War. Photo by © Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

One of downtown's most acclaimed bars will close at the end of the month. The Pastry War's last day of service will be October 30, owner Bobby Heugel announced. 

In a lengthy Instagram post, Heugel explained that the bar is still only earning a third of its 2019 revenue while downtown still recovers from the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Facing an imminent lease renewal, an uncertain future, and no money from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, Heugel writes that "my job is to now realize our fate and do my best to transition our staff to other opportunities in our company." 

Opened in 2013, The Pastry War — named for an 1838 conflict between France and Mexico — provided a venue for Heugel and business partner Alba Huerta to explore their passion for agave spirits. The bar's selections rejected larger brands in favor of smaller producers that utilized traditional methods, including many that Heugel visited personally. Anchored by the bar's signature margarita — made with a blend of juice from both Persian and key limes — the Pastry War focused on making the best versions of classic Mexican cocktails.

The Pastry War's imminent closure is only the latest change to come to the bars Heugel opened on or near Main Street in 2013 and 2014. Earlier this year, the partners behind the Original OKRA Charity Saloon sold it to long time general manager Mary Ellen Angel, who reopened it as Angel Share HTX. The Nightingale Room, Heugel's record bar, closed in 2019 and became '80s themed dance club Cherry earlier this year. 

Still, the news isn't all bad. Heugel said he plans to open another agave bar sometime in the future. He also teased two upcoming projects with James Beard Award-winning chef Justin Yu: a second location of their Heights patio bar Better Luck Tomorrow and "a big project planned for 2022 that will require tremendous focus." Considering the duo partnered to open Squable, widely considered one of the city's best restaurants, that constitutes legitimately exciting news.

As for Tongue-cut Sparrow, the formal, Japanese-inspired bar that opened inside a second floor space within The Pastry War, it will continue to occupy the former Etro/Penny Quarter space next to Anvil for the foreseeable future.

"Tongue-cut Sparrow, likes its martinis, is chilling right now here in Montrose," Heugel tells CultureMap.