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Bobby Heugel

Anvil Bar & Refuge

Bobby Heugel has changed the cocktail culture of Houston in the seven years since opening Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston’s first bar dedicated to classic cocktails. His commitment to training, quality spirits and hospitality at Anvil set the standard for the industry in Texas, subsequently earning five James Beard Award nominations for the bar and one for himself.   


A respected—and opinionated—voice in the cocktail and spirits industry, Bobby is most passionate about agave spirits. This interest led to the opening of The Pastry War, a mezcaleria with fiercely traditional standards and one of the most well-curated agave spirits selections in the world. Bobby frequently travels to Mexico to visit distilleries, spend time with mezcaleros and personally work the fields to learn more about the process.


Always one to challenge business models for the greater good, Bobby partnered with a group of independent restaurant and bar owners to open Houston’s first not-for-profit bar, the OKRA Charity Saloon. This 501©6 entity is run just like any other bar, except for the fact it donates all of its profits to charity.  Since the OKRA Charity Saloon opened in December 2012, it has donated nearly $700,000 to local charities. 


Bobby formed Clumsy Butcher, LLC in 2011 as a management group to help colleagues open their own concepts. In 2014, Clumsy Butcher worked with Alba Huerta to open Southern cocktail bar Julep and Mike Criss to open live music venue The Nightingale Room, bringing Bobby, who started bartending in nightclubs, full circle. 


In addition to the cocktail concepts, Bobby was an opening partner in craft beer bar Hay Merchant, James Beard Award-winning restaurant Underbelly and Blacksmith coffee shop. Through these concepts, he continued to demonstrate a relentless pursuit of excellence—proper technique, training, hospitality and an innate ability to always push the envelope.


Bobby has been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and remains a leader in the cocktail community—about quality spirits and the role of large liquor companies, for example—and can still be found behind the bar at Anvil, The Pastry War or The Nightingale Room.