Houston bar pioneers know there can never be too much of a good thing, so they keep evolving with the times and shaking things up. Here’s the latest sip!
Bobby Heugel Pours It On
Refuge drinks (photo by Jenn Duncan)
Calling it his “best bar yet,” Bobby Heugel, the bartender who helped fuel Houston’s modern craft cocktail movement, has opened Refuge, a new bar located in the same building where Anvil debuted in 2009. With only 50 seats, Refuge will follow a similar path as Heugel’s former Tongue-Cut Sparrow: a dark, lamp-lit nest for serious cocktails where every detail has been thoughtfully curated from the elegant glassware to the soundtrack and dream team staff. The new bar is set above and behind Anvil, in the second-floor area that Heugel first fashioned into Penny Quarter, which closed at the outset of the pandemic.
Getting thirsty? Refuge’s drinks start with a back bar of 200 spirits – all the newest amaros, modern gins and European brandies. Its 20 cocktails are divided into three sections: Originals, Classics & Riffs, and Excessives. If you like bubbles, the Hall Pass made with gin, lemon, chamomile, gooseberry and Champagne, might be your drink. For the whiskey sour afficionado, The Eastern Non-Sour is a Japanese whiskey sour made with a seven-citrus cordial. Cocktails in the Excessives section are even more imaginative and made with premium spirits and other high-end ingredients.
Meanwhile, Heugel and chef Justin Yu, who have previously teamed up on Squable and Better Luck Tomorrow, just announced they’ll be opening The Fancy in Galveston. It’ll open later this year in the new Hotel Lucine, a modernized 1960s-era motel on the Seawall, proffering “French-inspired cuisine” with a Gulf-seafood focus. Their joint hospitality group, Thorough Fare, will also operate the hotel’s pool bar, rooftop bar and other restaurants. Stay tuned for more on Hotel Lucine as the summer opening nears!
Julep Rolls Out New Menu
Aphrodite’s Cup at Julep
Hot off the heels of her popular Derby Day party and hosting the Death & Co. book tour, Julep owner Alba Huerta recently introduced a new seasonally changing bar menu. Expect picture-perfect cocktails – almost too pretty to drink! The Creole Crusta is back – a sunny yellow rum and lemon concoction served tall and elegantly garnished in sesame seeds. New to the menu are classic cocktails categorized by spirit type and a selection of trendy low ABV cocktails for the health conscious. Aphrodite’s Cup looks irresistibly refreshing with tequila blanco, orange liqueur, watermelon shrub and lime. Ditto the cocktail No Bad Days featuring aged rum, pineapple lemon and ginger. Huerta also has added four different juleps – yep, she is quite fond of juleps. “I named my bar Julep because it draws inspiration from ingredients, people and ideas of the South,” says Huerta.
Bosscat Expands. Paws Up!
Bosscat Kitchen & Libations
Rather sip whiskey? Houston’s most whiskey-obsessed restaurant will soon have a second home in The Woodlands.Bosscat Kitchen & Libations by Daily Dose Hospitality group will open on Market Street in the former Berryhill Baja Grill space in the fall. Daily Dose also owns and operates Ten Sushi + Cocktail Bar in Southern California and there are plans for a Houston location this year in River Oaks. At the new Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, expect seating for 150 guests inside and 100 on the patio fashioned with a fireplace and an indoor-outdoor bar. In addition to its signature Whiskey Room, anticipate a new "library" adjacent to the bar with semi-private dining. Come hungry for American comfort foods like the Bosscat burger, gold medal chicken sandwich, and shrimp and grits. American comfort desserts include banana pudding and fried apple pie, along with plenty of whiskey-centric nightcap selections.
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One could describe all of the work in Superimpositions as “non-representational,” but shape and color is a powerful combination, and inevitably triggers a concrete image in the mind’s eye of the viewer. Most of the pieces on display are small, and are thoughtfully installed throughout The Alta Arts’ unique, warehouse-like space. “You might walk through and think all of the art was done by one person,” says Pozo, “but I don’t know if you could tell which one of us it would have been!”
Duarte and Pozo, born in Venezuela and Chile, respectively, are both architects who use printmaking to let their imaginations run a bit wild. Pozo is also a self-taught musician, and believes rhythm is the thread connecting his work as an architect and creative output as a musician and a visual artist. “We use rhythm in architecture to define the repetition of elements in a musical way,” explains Pozo, “which is tied to the way I use sound.”
'Assembler' by Pozo
'Lepanto 2' by Pozo
Alta Arts in Gulfton
When Pozo decided to dive into the art of screen printing, he contacted Carlos Hernandez, co-founder of the artist collective and print studio Burning Bones Press. “Carlos pretty much taught me the system I still use,” says Pozo, who at age 55 is refreshingly unpretentious in his desire to learn and synthesize so many different creative mediums. “Architects are pretty full of themselves,” he laughs, “so we kind of think we can do everything.”
Maybe he’s not kidding. This year, in addition to holding down his day-job, making prints and creating digital art, Pozo found time to record Dystopian Gates, a CD of dark ambient instrumental music inspired by the “little imaginary structures” he creates using digital modeling. Dystopian Gates will be released by the Fort Worth-based independent label Dada Drumming later this month.
Though not an architect, Koehn is also influenced by rhythms of Houston’s ever-shifting urban landscape, and occasionally includes materials found on construction sites to augment her installations. But the close-knit patterns Koehn creates using both printing and weaving techniques also call to mind the narrow-strip textiles or “country cloth” of West Africa, Brazil and the Southern United States, patterns which in turn mirror downtown Houston’s strange and distinctive skyline. But that’s just one tangent to consider. Taking the time to navigate Koehn’s scaled-down environments yields one surprise after another.
And after walking through and taking in the colorful shapes, shades and layers of Superimpositions, Houstonians may never look at the city the same way again.
THE NEW ISSUE of Houston CityBook magazine features Astros owner Jim Crane on the cover.
Crane is one of the 10 subjects in the magazine’s annual “Leaders & Legends” portrait series, including images by Gittings Photography, and presented in partnership with Residences at The Allen and Bentley Houston. He was photographed by Gittings owner Greg Lorfing at Minute Maid Park.
Under Crane, whose Astros are currently ranked first in the American League West, the value of team has quadrupled. Through his Astros Foundation, the owner, a self-made shipping magnate, also operates the Houston Open golf tournament.
This is the fifth time Executive Publisher Lisa Holthouse and the editors of CityBook have presented “Leaders & Legends,” a regal portrait series pairing icons in given categories — such as business, science and the arts — with reigning leaders in the same fields. Past subjects have included a Nobel laureate, a multi-Grammy winner, a billionaire biz titan, a member of Congress, some the city’s most renowned restaurateurs and artists, and world-famous socialites like Lynn Wyatt and Joanne King Herring, who was honored earlier this spring at a ceremony at the United Nations.
The full roster of 2022 Leaders & Legends appears in the new mid-spring issue, which hits newsstands tomorrow.
Jim Crane photographed by Gittings owner Greg Lorfing at Minute Maid Park.