Anvil functions as the reigning elder Montrose craft cocktail bar. Aged, wizened, and still pretty damn good. Bartenders here are lightning fast, know just about every classic cocktail recipe that exists, and are somehow both abrasive yet accommodating. The small-ish bar is ridiculously dark, apart from a massive vintage Campari sign beckoning like a wannabe liquor snob bat signal and headlights whizzing around Westheimer.

Open every day, the bar is packed open to close with just about every Houstonian you can think of: awkward date folks, self-conscious co-workers doing Happy Hour, oil and gas bros one-upping bourbon calls, stray lawyers comparing billables, service industry louts, and a handful of people who just look overwhelmed and confused by the 100-deep classics menu. While you can order just about anything (you can’t stump the staff), you should check out the staff-created seasonal menu first. Then sidle up to a drink rail, wait for someone to vacate one of the few coveted booths or tables, and sip on the fancy cocktail you ordered.

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photo credit: Julie Soefer