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The Pastry War Shutters October 30

The Pastry War was an agave pioneer in downtown Houston.
The Pastry War was an agave pioneer in downtown Houston. Photo by Kate McLean

The Pastry War, the agave spirits-focused bar from Anvil's Bobby Heugel and Julep's Alba Huerta, will close its doors for good October 30, as first reported by Houston Business Journal. The announcement was made via Facebook and Instagram. The Pastry War first opened in downtown Houston in 2013 at 310 Main.

In the Facebook post, Heugel thanked the bartenders, staff and the producers of the mezcal and agave spirits that The Pastry War serves in its curated cocktails and by the shot, or half shot. Guests could indulge in one of the house cocktails like the Vampiro or Mezcal Negroni or sample different agave spirits from around various regions of Mexico. With the option of the 3/4 ounce half or the standard 1 1/4 ounce shot, curious samplers could take a mezcal adventure through our southern neighbor's terroir including regions like Oaxaca and Jalisco and different agave species like Angustifolia, Cupreata, Americana and Marmorata.

The pandemic severely affected restaurants and hospitality businesses when the restrictions began in March 2020 but it was the cocktail bars and dive joints that suffered the most. Without the possibility of income from take-away food, a resource that kept many restaurants afloat, alcohol-focused businesses suffered as their patrons drank at home instead. Even as restrictions were lifted, the downtown offices and businesses did not return to full capacity, leaving the restaurants and bars of our city's center still struggling for patrons.
click to enlarge The Pastry War first opened in 2013. - PHOTO BY CARLA SORIANO
The Pastry War first opened in 2013.
Photo by Carla Soriano
Heugel acknowledged the slow return of downtown as part of the closure but also said in his Facebook post that the expectation of receiving some aid through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was not met, as up to 2/3 of the businesses which applied did not receive any funds. That lack of financial help played a part as well as the fact that the the end of the lease was pending. However, on Instagram, Heugel said that the landlord had been supportive.

Though this is the end for much-acclaimed cocktail bar, Heugel says that it is not the last agave spirits bar for him. In the Instagram post he said, "I care too much about the relationships I've built over the past decade to not rebuild." Heugel went on to say, " Mexico has changed my life and perspective on the world during my visits to over 300 distilleries, a debt I will always be trying to repay."

As for the staff at The Pastry War, Heugel says that they will be offered jobs at other businesses in his  portfolio. And loyal customers still have several weeks to make the trip downtown for a smoky cocktail or a mezcal trip through the regions of Mexico. The bar will still have its 1/2 Price Mezcal Wednesdays and happy hour offerings until the doors close on the mezcaleria. 
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.