Anvil Bar & Refuge
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Taps: 12 / Bottles: 30
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 15 | Reviews: 9 | Show All Ratings:
4.13/5 rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | $$
The wife and I visited Anvil last summer, during an epic Friday weekend in the Montrose area. This is a cool, airy and bright space on Wertheimer, not far from The Hay Merchant. A long bar and a bunch of booths and tables. Wildly popular! Packed at 5pm already on a Saturday.
We sat at the bar and perused the menus- the cocktails here are truly outstanding. This is one of those places where you can tell your bartender "I like bourbon-sour-spice" and they'll make you the best concoction you've ever tasted. I went for their version of a Long Island Iced Tea, which is one of my boozy guilty pleasures. At Anvil, they turn it into the Per Se version of an LI Tea.
They have ten taps with fresh beer, if you really *must* have a brew. During my visit, the lineup was Bombshell blonde, Live Oak Hefe, Real Ale Fireman's, Buffalo 1836, Hopadillo and Hop Delusion.
Prices are reasonable for such good libations, and the staff is excellent. Even when crowded, you won't wait too long.
01-20-2014 17:56:17 | More by DoubleSimcoe
4.53/5 rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
We stopped in here on a Saturday night with two couples, showed up around 10:00pm and it was very crowded. Not a problem if you don't mind standing. We could have grabbed a table if we were more vigilant but we were too busy with the people watching to put in the effort of grabbing one.
Anyway, the bar is very well done and provides a nice upscale atmosphere for a night out. Watching the bartenders mix up some cocktails is very impressive and adds to the overall refined feel of the place. They have a small but solid selection of beers. That night 512's IPA was offered up on nitro which was nice to see. Across the board the beers seem slightly overpriced $1-$2 more than what I am used to at Austin bars, but that could be due to the Westheimer / Montrose area. Everything we had was served at appropriate temperatures and in proper glassware.
Typically when we're visiting Houston we stick to the same old beer bars but this was a nice departure and a great option for smaller groups looking for both craft beer and great cocktails.
06-11-2012 22:39:41 | More by kevinscott
4.1/5 rDev -1.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Small joint in the trendy Westheimer area. Windows run along the street side of the place so you can see pretty much everything that is going on inside. Seating is limited, even when we got there early at 8:30 pm. Bar seats are the best, as you can see these artsts whip up their elaborate concoctions. Which are great by the way. But oh, hey. What about the beer? Very small tap selection, yet good quality; and well rounded. 12 on tap. 10 from a keg, 1 from a nitro, 1 from a good ol' cask. The temperature on these things is greatly detailed. Not too cold is what I mean. Service can be a bit slow but these guys are handling a bevy of orders at a time. Great show with the mixoligy, if you're into that. If you're only here for the beer, you'll still be okay. IPAs, Belgians, brown ales, porters, stouts, and a hefe from Live Oak are available. Not in that order, and not always in plural form. No servers makes it a pain if you're not sitting at the bar. We were though. Food seemed decent enough (from seeing other folks orders) for such an upscale atmosphere. Pricing is fair, but when the lady has five cocktails you're in the hole $60 automatically while you sip your three beers that were no more than $7. Nice scotch selection as well.
05-19-2011 05:06:33 | More by kspongeworthy
4.18/5 rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
Great bar for brown spirit drinkers. Amazing selection of bourbons and whiskey's. Small beer list on draft; but what they have is great. One of the few "mixology" bars in Houston, so if your drinking beer I suggest ordering 2 at a time. Some of the drinks take 4-5 minutes or longer to make, so service is a bit slow (understandably so). Do yourself a favor and try a cocktail though. They really do a great job of balancing flavors and bringing in ingredients that are a little out there... but still work.
Fun place that I plan on going to many more times, and anytime somebody wants to try something different I will bring them there.
10-05-2010 21:51:01 | More by Joephcp
3.23/5 rDev -22.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$$
I know my scores seem low compared to the other reviewers but I have my reasons.
Atmosphere - I kinda like the place but it just screams nightclub without the dance floor and most of the customers look that way too. Theres a long bar to your left as you walk in and couches and chairs to your right and not much room otherwise. Sorry but I like bars for my beer not cocktail lounges.
Quality - For what they do have its some very good stuff. Just about all of the beer they have here are A scored beers. Always have some new or rare stuff on hand.
Service - The service here sucks when its halfway busy or worse. Like others have said they take their time making drinks as in way to much time. It takes the bar tenders five minutes to make just one mixed drink because they slowly crush mint for mojitos or slowly peel the rine on a lime to garnish a martini. All I want is a damn beer people so get to this place very early and this won't be a huge problem.
Selection - Their selection on tap is rather small for what I'm used to as they only have twelve beers on tap but like I said its pretty high quality.
Food - They don't really have much pub grub but they have some high quality cheeses and meats that you can mix and match for a plate.
Value - Yeah your going to spend some money in this place one of the more expensive places in town to grab a beer.
05-11-2010 20:45:24 | More by armock
4.68/5 rDev +12.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
The owner/bartenders in this place take pride in their craft. Their main thing is mixed drinks, which they make in the traditional fashion -- no margarita machines, no blenders, no multi-dispensers. For a Manhattan, for example, they use Rye whiskey because that's what the drink became popular with rather than Bourbon. They eschew the fluorescent maraschino cherries that come in bottles in favor of cherries they prepare in house. And they put as much effort into their beers. They have a selection of beers, 12 in all, on tap that varies. It's a matter of luck what they will have when you go in, but they publish a schedule of the next so many beers they will have on tap. The list of beer on draught is on a chalk board at one end of the bar, and the next beer up for each tap is indicated. They prefer the craft beers and apparently try to provide a nice variety through the year. I really like the place, but I save it for special occasions because of the prices.
11-03-2009 00:18:10 | More by rfabian
4.65/5 rDev +12%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
If I'm not mistaken, Anvil is owned and/or operated by bartenders who not only know their trade, but enjoy their trade. This joint is beyond beer. As the operators make their own mixes and soda water from scratch, try one of their cocktails. If none from the menu grab you, ask them to surprise you. The bartenders are somewhat devoid of being cheerful, so the setting reminds me of some hip bar in Soho or Greenwich Village. Beer pricing is reasonable, cocktails, not so much, but I empathize with the price hike. Food is limited, but one shouldn't come to this place to eat. It's for drinking, conversing and reflection.
09-21-2009 00:51:29 | More by bcole002
3.8/5 rDev -8.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Anvil is a cocktail bar that happens to also care about craft beer. Good for all occasions whether you're out with friends, on a date, or with a group of people that isn't necessarily into beer like you are. It's a relatively small place. Design is minimalistic which is actually a refreshing change from most beer bars. Inside there's a long bar, couches, a few tables, exposed brick, and large windows facing Westheimer.
Dual personality when it comes to atmosphere. On a weekday or weekend afternoon it is laid back, comfortable...I would even say relaxing (atmosphere = at least 4.0). On a Friday or Saturday night it is the complete opposite: parking no closer than 2 blocks away, jam packed inside with a line out the door, loud, club vibe (atmosphere = no better than a 2.0). Thus the 3.0 rating for atmosphere; great sometimes, bad sometimes...average.
Same could be said of service as the atmosphere. Choose wisely when you go as this most likely will determine what the service will be like. Those crazy cocktails seem to take forever to make (which I can appreciate because the attention and detail that they put into them is impressive) so the beer isn't always flowing freely. The bartenders work hard, though. Just get their attention and they'll get you what you need.
On to the beer and the reason Anvil is worthy of high praise. Quality and selection exceeds expectations for a bar that doesn't focus solely on beer. For selection, I give them a 4.0 knowing that the Saucer and Ginger Man set the bar (for Houston) at 4.5. A large chalk board conveniently lists all current beers on draft, with prices, as well as what will be on next. Very well thought out draft list that is handpicked to cover a gamut of styles. Last visit: Hennepin, Ruination, Prima Pils, Fireman's #4, Full Moon Rye, Weihenstephaner Hefe, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Maudite, Stone Smoked Porter, '06 Sisyphus, Scrimshaw, and Old Rasputin (nitro). Can't complain one bit about those choices. Up next includes Avery 16, Midas Touch, and Buried Hatchet. Nobody should have a hard time finding a beer that will suit their taste. Large bottle selection as well including Brabant. Glassware is nice. For most beers they use a smaller Duvel-style tulip. Don't expect a cheap outing. For example Stone IRS is $20. Umm....okay.
As long as they continue to put on a killer, unique draft lineup, I'll make Anvil a regular stop...carefully choosing what time of day to go, of course.
2/15/10 EDIT: Awesome job getting in unique casks: GD Oak Aged Yeti, Hop Stoopid, LH Fade to Black. No where else in town has gotten these.
06-20-2009 18:50:29 | More by wolffman17
4.4/5 rDev +6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
I visit this place often, and is one of my favorite haunts. Anvil does not have the largest, but it is constantly one of the best selections in town.
A more upscale setting with a long bar wrapping around the left side. I love that there are no TV's to be found, and always a great selection of music playing at a reasonable level. They remodeled the interior a bit. Taking out some couches, and adding some booths. It has opened the inside up. Almost more of a lounge feel with large windows facing Westheimer. The large windows really makes this place feel open and larger than it is. It can get really busy, so I usually come right when the place opens.
The service and quality here are hard to beat. All the bartenders are incredibly well trained. It is a mixology place, so the bartenders are busy making crazy mixed drinks. Though the attention to detail is impeccable. From the ingredients in the drinks, to the temperature, glassware, pour, and freshness of the kegs. It might take a bit longer, but just wait. It is worth it.
The beer selection is great. They only have 12-15 taps and a cask. Everything rotates regularly. There is a chalk board with all the beers numbered with what is on now, and what is coming up next. The tap handles are costume made, with the corresponding number from the board. Always something new, or an old classic and plenty of beer events. Like a night of cask. They had 10 total from around Texas and the world all tapped at once. To recent brewery tastings from Jester King and Ranger Creek. The selection can't be beat.
There is a small kitchen that makes some small appetizers, sandwiches, and a few pizzas. Like everything else here there is great attention to detail and quality.
It is expensive, and it can get really crowded. Though hands down one of the most unique and best bars you will visit in Houston.
06-19-2009 19:06:27 | More by champ103
Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston, TX
92 out of 100 based on 15 ratings.