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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