Drink king Bobby Heugel’s downtown spot Tongue-Cut Sparrow, an intimate 25-seat formal cocktail bar inspired by his travels across Japan, is a hidden gem entered by passing through his mezcaleria The Pastry War. “The focus is less on cocktail creation and bartender ego and more on refining every detail of our craft in a more minimal, focused manner,” Heugel says. “Our goal here is to create an incredible bar experience—cocktails are only a part of that pursuit.” The simple menu is comprised of classics: a highball or a Pimm’s Spritz, along with local brews, vino and bubbly. Expect elevated service and elegant gimlets.
Newport Beach import Bosscat Kitchen & Libations is the latest addition to the Westheimer Road strip, sandwiched between the retail meccas of River Oaks District and Highland Village. Featuring nearly 100 whiskeys and potent cocktails like the bourbon-based 38 Special—to be paired with comforting seasonal dishes like bourbon chicken flatbread and Gulf shrimp and grits—the expansive, industrial-chic space’s highlight is a 2,000-square-foot patio just begging for toasts. The “Breakfast in Bed” shot is a must with brunch.