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Shhh...The Password Is Bitters

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Update: To clarify, Anvil offered half off its menu of food and cocktails at the anniversary party. However, since the drink the writer ordered was not on the menu, she was charged full price.

Sunday night marked the one year anniversary of Houston retro-cocktail mecca Anvil Bar & Refuge. The occasion was marked with a private party complete with deliciously original drinks, a super-secret password to get in, and about ten million Bobby Heugel devotees. The windows were covered to up the privacy factor, and the door man was not dicking around when it came to only letting in those with the appropriate code word. And no, it wasn't "overpriced" -- but good guess.

Once inside, it was wall-to-wall people with an extremely eclectic crowd. There were the ever-present androgynous hipsters, a few older business types stuffed into expensive suits, and a handful of woo girls, one of whom literally threw her legs over her head and held her crotch to the ceiling for a full two minutes. Odd sight for an odd night.

Bobby, Justin and the other master mixologists were all very accommodating and friendly despite being swamped. They made all sorts of crazy fruity, herb-y concoctions that transported the imbiber to an era of fedoras and opera-length gloves. I took pity on them after witnessing them make several drinks that required enough shaking of tins to possibly induce an epileptic seizure. I went with a simple yet classic Plymouth gin and tonic.

All in all, it was a good time with strong drinks and a nice ambience. The only gripe my friends and I discussed was that despite the stringent security, there appeared to be no perks for the partygoers. I was hoping for at least a charcuterie platter or chunk of Taleggio with Anjou pear. But alas, I saw no freebies. Call me cheap, but I wouldn't have minded a little thank you coming back to the customers who have supported this cool H-town establishment for the past year. Of course, with some of the best Pisco Sours and Ramos Gin Fizzes in town, I doubt they're too worried about keeping the gourmands streaming in.

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