Rising Star Bartender Tommy Ho of Anvil Bar & Refuge - Biography

Houston, TX

November 2019

Houston native Tommy Ho got his start as many in the industry do—bartending as a way to help pay for school. A finance student at the University of Houston, Ho fell in love with beer while mixing drinks and pouring drafts at Houston hotspot Yard House. He also had a zeal for cocktails, which made him a regular at Bobby Heugel’s Anvil Bar & Refuge. After befriending the manager at the time, Terry Williams, he was encouraged to apply to join the team and sent in his resume the next day.

Upon completion of Anvil’s intense training program which involves blind tasting and correctly identifying 47 of 50 spirits, Ho clinched a bartending job. In the six years that Ho has spent at Anvil, he has worked his way up from bartender to assistant manager to now general manager and partner. He works with his team to craft a creative, seasonally rotating menu that opens people’s eyes and leads them down a sippable path of discovery. His cocktails often draw from his Vietnamese heritage, like the Pandan-centric Pandanime. The menu also includes “The 100 List,” a list of 100 classic cocktail recipes each bartender knows by heart. This year, the bar was named CultureMap Houston’s “Bar of the Year” with Ho at the helm. In August 2019, Ho opened another Bobby Heugel concept, wine bar Penny Quarter, for which he is also the general manager and partner. In 2020, Ho will be Mr. November in Catbirds’ annual charity calendar, Slinging Love.