For years, thirsty travelers lamented the lack of good cocktails in the Southern United States. While quality cocktail bars littered the northeast and west coast, the drinks scene in states like Texas lagged behind. That trend has changed in recent years, and Texas now boasts a bevy of fine drinking establishments in Austin, Dallas and Houston, which is home to Anvil Bar and Refuge, perhaps the best of the bunch.
Opened in 2009 by a crew of young and talented local bartenders, Anvil has set the pace for Texas cocktails, and is now squarely on the map as a worthy representative for the country as a whole. The bar is a comfortable mix of modern and industrial décor, with open ceilings, exposed brick walls and worn bar shelving reclaimed from an old piano store. Housed inside the bar is an extensive collection of spirits, hard-to-find beers and an assortment of house-made bitters, infusions and liqueurs. But the real draw is the cocktail menu.
The Anvil cocktail menu features a selection of house drinks, ranging from innovative signature cocktails to variations on the classics. If one of these drinks doesn’t suit your mood, no worries; simply flip to Anvil’s list of 100 drinks everyone should try before they die. It includes several tried-and-true standards like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, plus some bartender favorites and plenty more pulled from vintage cocktail anthologies, all tested and approved by the Anvil staff. To soak up all that booze, Anvil serves a selection of pizzas, cheeses, meats and snacks.
Open just a year and a half, Anvil’s dedication to quality cocktails has endeared it to Houston drinkers and has inspired more cocktail bars to pop up across the state of Texas – a state no longer deprived of the well-made drinks saturating both coasts.