Anvil Owners Reopen Former Penny Quarter as Coffee Shop

Exterior of Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar

Anvil Bar & Refuge at 1424 Westheimer has been a Houston mainstay for over a decade, offering true craft cocktail experiences for both connoisseurs and those who just appreciate an expertly executed stiff drink. Last year, owners Bobby Heugel and Steve Flippo added cocktail bar Refuge in the building behind the space, and now, on Refuge’s one-year anniversary, they’re reopening a coffee shop and bar downstairs in early June.

Interior of Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar
Interior of Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar. Photo by Gerardo Velasquez.

The history of the building behind Anvil is complicated. In 2019, Heugel and Flippo took over the large space, which was formerly Etro, an 80’s dance club. They relocated their elegant cocktail bar Tongue-Cut Sparrow from downtown to the second floor. The downstairs became a wine bar and coffee shop called Penny Quarter. While Tongue-Cut Sparrow evolved into Refuge, Penny Quarter survived less than a year, closing at the end of May 2020 — right in the midst of the pandemic.  

Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar

Interior of Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar
Interior of Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar. Photo by Gerardo Velasquez.

Penny Quarter’s replacement is named Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar, and Heugel has recruited Anvil’s longtime manager Tommy Ho as a partner in the endeavor. Ho, who also served as Penny Quarter’s general manager, is hopeful about bringing back a hub as much for the community as for quality coffee. “Guests are going to be excited that we are finally bringing coffee back to this space after being forced to close Penny Quarter, but we are more excited about showing people a better version of what we opened in 2019. Come as you are, bring your laptop, dog, or meeting — this space belongs to the neighborhood.” The first floor is being remodeled to match the second-floor cocktail bar and will see the addition of a patio area.

Patio of Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar
Patio of Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar. Photo by Gerardo Velasquez.

Refuge Coffeehouse & Bar will be a proponent of local suppliers, sourcing coffee from roaster Tenfold Coffee and offering pastries from Love Croissants. Squables general manager and partner, Terry Williams, is curating the wine list. Wine will be available to enjoy onsite, and a retail display will offer bottles to go. Cocktails will also be available at the coffeehouse, including classics.

Refuge’s Updates 

Refuge bar Houston
Upstairs bar Refuge. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

Now a year old, upstairs cocktail bar Refuge is evolving as well. Bartender and chef Peter Jahnke, who has worked in kitchens such as Underbelly, Oxheart/Theodore Rex and Squable, has developed a new food menu. Patrons can expect charcuterie, sandwiches and other small bites. Tuesdays feature martinis curated by Heugel and Refuge bartender Máté Hartai. Adding to the experience, guests who sit at the bar can now pick their own glassware from Heugel’s hand-picked selection of 100 martini glasses. 

cocktails at Refuge
A selection of cocktails at Refuge. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

Refuge has also launched happy hour, weekdays from 5 to 6 p.m. when all menu cocktails are half-price. Over the past year, Refuge has also been the backdrop for weddings, corporate events and other special occasions. As a result, its function as an event space is now more formally established. Both the first and second floors can be rented for parties as small as 10 to as large as 145. Services offered includes cocktails, wines and food catered from Heugel and his partner James Beard Award-winning chef Justin Yu’s other businesses, such as Squable and Better Luck Tomorrow.

Big sister Anvil Bar & Refuge led the way for free-spirited younger sibling, Refuge, to do its own thing, and it has been a welcome addition to Houston’s thriving cocktail culture. While it’s an intimate space, helmed by bartenders who are serious about the craft, it also feels approachable. Bringing back the coffee house and wine bar concept downstairs will breathe new life to the nostalgic two-story space located in the heart of Montrose.

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