Bartender Bobby Heugel of OKRA Charity Saloon - Biography

Houston, TX

July 2012

Bobby Heugel stumbled upon his talents at an enviably young age, while working at a bar with a beverage program that emphasized fresh ingredients and an aggressive tequila list. Having discovered a strong thirst for the craft, Heugel continued refining his skills while earning his master’s degree in intercultural communication (and somehow finding time to launch the blog, Drink Dogma).

In 2006, Heugel returned to his hometown, Houston, where he tended bar at the popular Benjy’s and then at Monica Pope’s Beaver’s Ice House. Heugel and childhood friend-turned-business partner Kevin Floyd capitalized on that following, opening Anvil Bar and Refuge in 2009. Anvil soon began earning national accolades, including a nod as one of Bon Appétit’s “Top Ten New Cocktail Bars.” Heugel also earned a 2011 StarChefs Rising Stars Award and a spot on Forbes “30 Under 30” list. In 2012, Heugel partnered with fellow Rising Star, Chef Chris Shepherd, to open Underbelly, a restaurant that celebrates the diversity of Houston’s culinary landscape. 

Heugel continued to grow his business portfolio, opening Nightingale Room, The Pastry War, The Hay Merchant, and OKRA Charity Saloon—all under the Clumsy Butcher Restaurant Group for which he serves as President. He also serves as Vice President of OKRA—Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs—a group of hospitality professionals committed to enhancing Houston through the restaurant industry. Heugel has that rare mix of creativity, operational know-how, and respect for the craft—all of which he shares in Houston and beyond with recipes published in such publications as The New York Times and Imbibe.