The Pastry War, the Downtown bar focused on agave spirits from Bobby Heugel and Alba Huetra, will shutter at the end of the month.
Heugel announced the closure in an Instagram post on Wednesday evening, saying that the bar’s last day of business would be Saturday, October 30. He also teased a few new projects he and chef Justin Yu have in the works for 2022.
Heugel pointed to the ongoing pandemic as a cause for the closure, and the fact that the bar did not receive any Restaurant Revitalization Act funding. “Without it, we are running a bar that does a third of our 2019 sales with a pending lease renewal months away,” he writes.
The Pastry War, at 310 Main Street, opened in 2013, as Heugel embarked on a project to help bring more nightlife to Downtown, where he has become one of the neighborhood’s loudest advocates. Named after an obscure, short-lived conflict between Mexico and France, the bar reflected Heugel’s growing fascination with agave-based spirits like mezcal and tequila.
Heugel’s efforts Downtown worked — for a while. At various points throughout the past decade, the block surrounding the Pastry War was home to several cocktail bars and restaurants, including noodle shop Goro & Gun, Honeymoon Cafe, Bad News Bar, Little Dipper, and Heugel’s not-so-secret speakeasy Tongue Cut Sparrow, which was accessible through a door in the back of the Pastry War.
Some of those businesses came and went, but Downtown’s growth was severely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic and Houston stay-at-home ordinance, which closed bars and restaurants and kept many Downtown denizens away from their offices and happy hour destinations.
The Pastry War is not the first of Heugel’s projects to close since the pandemic began. In June 2020, Montrose cafe Penny Quarter closed, less than a year after it opened. In November, the he decided to temporarily relocate Tongue Cut Sparrow, which had been closed since the early days of the pandemic, to the space where Penny Quarter had been. Then, in March of this year, Heugel announced that OKRA Charity Saloon, the charity bar run by a collective of restaurant advocates, would close. (The bar was taken over by general manager Mary Ellen Angel, who reopened it as Angel Share.)
“Downtown will eventually recover with your support, but I am unable to justify enduring that journey with my many other obligations and demands of the oncoming year,” Heugel wrote on Instagram, while teasing plans for what the next year holds for him. “[Justin Yu] and I have a big project planned for 2022 that will require tremendous focus. We also plan to open a second Better Luck Tomorrow as well. Like so much of this year, I am extremely excited about the future but also devastated and exhausted by the past 18 months.”