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Anvil prior to opening in March 2009.

Anyone stopping by Anvil Bar & Refuge for a cocktail today will be greeted with a surprise: the bar, which is normally open seven days a week, is closed today for renovations. On his Facebook page, owner Bobby Heugel explained:

We are starting a remodel process that will involve multiple stages of repair and construction scattered throughout the year. Don't worry—our goal at the end is for the bar to feel and look like it always has. But, I want to answer one question I couldn't when we built the bar ourselves almost six years ago: How good can Anvil be?

With so much attention focused lately on other projects like Julep and The Pastry War—both of which Houstonia named as two of the city's best bars in our December 2014 issue—it was about time to turn some of that attention back the original bar that made Heugel a household name and, most recently, one of Southern Living's "50 People Who Are Changing the South."

This isn't the first time Anvil has undergone renovations in its six years on Lower Westheimer; the bar started out with a simple cocktail menu and a few local craft beers on draft, which patrons could enjoy at scattered pub tables or lounging on some leather couches. These days, the cocktail selection is so extensive it spawned the nationally-acclaimed, oft-imitated list of 100 Cocktails to Try Before You Die, while the couches have been replaced by permanent banquettes—among many other changes over the years.

Drop into Anvil tomorrow afternoon to see the results for yourself, which—according to Heugel—include a deep-cleaning of the bar and some fresh coats of paint. These two projects are being tackled by the Anvil bartenders themselves, prompting Heugel to exclaim yesterday on Facebook: "I don't know how I came to be blessed with such an amazing group of people that work so hard for us every day, but on this weekend, I feel especially grateful."

Anvil Bar & Refuge, 1424 Westheimer Rd., 713-523-1622, anvilhouston.com

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