I found myself explaining to a friend last night that my entire philosophy and approach toward bars now that I've gotten older can be summed up by one question: Does it have a Golden Tee machine? If the answer is "yes," then you can bet your backwards-facing Stephen F. Austin hat that I won't be caught within 100 yards of that fine establishment.
My friend's response began a back-and-forth over the dinner table that had us in tears after a few minutes: "That's something you'd never hear at Anvil: 'Come check out our new Golden Tee machine, now in high-def!'" My response: "Thursday night at Anvil, ladies drink free until 9 p.m.! And come check out our lingerie show!"
Like it or not, Anvil Bar & Refuge has become a lightning rod for criticism of that new breed of high-end bar with a focus on cocktails, as opposed to the standard sports and/or dive bars that most Houstonians know and love. Well, at least know. People like to criticize the bar for not conforming to their "standard" of what a bar should be. It's not "down-to-earth" enough (read: there aren't any countertop poker games or dart boards). It's too expensive (read: there isn't any crappy Miller High Life behind the bar). The bartenders aren't friendly (read: they're not trying to get a huge tip by acting like you hung the moon because you and your buddies ordered two pitchers of Bud). None of these things are true.
Anvil and its compatriots actually represent a complete and total departure from the things that a slightly more mature clientele has come to hate about those "standard" bars: the salaciously named shots, the sticky counters, the cheap well gin, the filthy bathrooms, the crowds of bullish ex-frat boys and the overdressed herds of women looking to unload their MRS degree on some unlucky junior mortgage broker.
I asked the Houston Press followers on Twitter for their own "things you'll never hear at Anvil" one-liners. Below are the best responses.
1. This round's on me, guys! (@ruthiejsf)
2. Frozen or on the rocks? (@groovehouse)
3. We've got $2 jägerbombs tonight. (@courthurst)
4. $2 you-call-its till 9. (@esandler)
5. All vodka drinks are $1 on Sundays! (@haloise)
6. Come see UFC fight night on our big screens! (@groovehouse)
7. Parking was a cinch. (@ruthiejsf)
8. Be sure to stop by on Thursdays for our $4 Long Island Ice Tea special! (@haloise)
9. Hey, can I get a Shirley Temple? (@deneyterio)
10. Jello shots for everyone! (@ruthiejsf)
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11. I'll take a Bud Light. (@ruthiejsf)
12. The beer bongs come in a souvenir cup. (@groovehouse)
13. Can or bottle? (@groovehouse)
Got one of your own? Leave it in the comments section below.