Downtown Austin’s latest bar and music venue, The Townsend, is the place to experience cool vibes, spirited cocktails and unadulterated sound.
It comes down to respect. When someone creates something – whether it’s a drink, a piece of art or a song – they deserve credit. That’s the idea behind The Townsend’s cocktail royalty program, which was developed by Townsend CEO and former entertainment lawyer Steven Weisburd. In addition to tips, bartenders who craft new recipes earn a 1% royalty each time a patron orders their drink off the menu.
Former bar manager of Qui, Justin Elliot, oversees the cocktail program at The Townsend. The current drink menu is comprised of enhanced classics, but with much better names. Who wants to drink a Rusty Nail anyway? Ew.
I tried the Bottom Buzzer (mostly because it was fun to say), which consisted of Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Green Chartreuse, fresh lemon and grapefruit juices, honey and an orange blossom garnish. It was refreshing, not too sweet and I’ll be back for more.
Directly across from the renowned Paramount Theatre, The Townsend is located in the landmark Townsend-Thompson Building on Congress Avenue, just three blocks from the Texas State Capitol.
The building is a two-story space, but currently The Townsend only utilizes the first floor. Come fall, the upstairs will be available for private events.
Walking into The Townsend feels like stepping into an aristocratic parlor from yesteryear. The deep indigo walls, grand chandelier and tufted sofa seating area with Paramount views say, “You deserve a good drink today.” History books line the shelves and cowhides cover comfy backless seats that can easily be rearranged for ease of conversing.
What I appreciate most about the space are the sound dampeners at the front of the bar. I’ve been to too many “hotspots” where the focus was on design, not comfort. But don’t worry – at The Townsend, you’ll be able to gossip with your friends in style, without shouting (because no one needs to overhear that your coworker has a nasty toenail clipping habit).
The above photo (credit: Ken Hoge) is of Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1977, performing in the space that would eventually be known as The Townsend. Today, performances take place in a small venue toward the back of The Townsend, which holds approximately 120 people standing. Flexible seating options can be brought in, depending on the performance. Ceilings are 17 feet tall and the acoustics were designed by acoustics expert Scott Samson. Performances opportunities are open to musicians, comedians, poets and whoever sparks the interest of the talent booking team at The Townsend.
718 Congress Avenue – Website
@ATX_Adrienne wants to know:
Have you been to The Townsend yet? If so, which cocktail did you order?
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!