Throughout the course of my Speakeasy Secrets series, I’ve been reminded over and over that the term “speakeasy” can be earned in a number of ways. Some speakeasies get the distinction because of their devotion to craft cocktails. Others offer Prohibition-era decor and an early 1900s vibe. Then there are the speakeasies that pride themselves on secrecy. Maybe they require a code or a password. Maybe they’re hidden, perhaps even behind a storefront that could only be described as outdated. Like a floppy disk repair shop.
The first time I noticed Floppy Disk Repair Co. on East Fifth and Brazos, I did a double take. New to Austin, I wondered what most people who aren’t in the know must wonder: how does a floppy disk repair shop survive in 2019? Only later did I hear rumors of a speakeasy behind the confusing storefront.
I can now say I’ve been inside. I’ve seen what lies beyond the locked door and one-way window to the outside.
Let’s just say it was worth the effort. My conversation with those in charge of Floppy Disk Repair Co., which opened in July 2016, was nuanced. This speakeasy is fully devoted to maintaining secrecy and a low profile, moreso than any of its predecessors in my article series. The details they agreed to share were minimal. However, I’m excited to report what they’ll allow, and you’ll have to find out the rest for yourself.
The first step to understanding this speakeasy? Finding a way in. Even after you realize Floppy Disk Repair Co. is merely a front, you still need a code to enter at the door.
Oh, and the code is frequently changed.
Where do you get that code? Well, that’s something you’ll have to figure out on your own. There is rumored to be a distribution list, but it’s difficult to say for sure.
The point of having a code, it was explained to me, is to make sure entrance is offered to nice and friendly people. The bar only fits 45, and the hope is that all 45 people bring the positive vibes Floppy Disk Repair Co. is looking for. If you find your way in, remember to play the part!
Floppy Disk Repair Co.’s Spooky Inside
Upon entering, you pass through a row of dangling beads and find a bar with three hanging swings in front of you. You know, in case you want to swing like a child while you sip your cocktail.
Tables line the wall of the tiny L-shaped bar. The interior has a serial killer, murder mystery, horror movie feel. The floors are painted in the same pattern as that of the hotel in “The Shining.” Homage to Leatherface from “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” can be found on the walls.
Similar to DuMont’s Down Low in some ways, Floppy Disk Repair Co. blends the strange with the creepy–and makes an impression doing so. From the inside, you can peer out at the street, knowing those outside can’t return your stare–and that most have no idea what lies on the other side.
It’s clear that every detail was labored over. Every decoration, deliberate. Even beyond the complication of gaining entrance, a visit here is different from every other bar in the city. It’s an experience.
Cocktails at Floppy Disk Repair Co.
Here in Austin, we’re lucky to have speakeasies that go out of their way to cater to everyone, from cocktail experts to beginners. Staying true to the inclusive vibe of Austin means making drinks that are accessible, but also delicious. Our city doesn’t lack for good cocktail options, so if a bar can’t keep up, it’s in trouble.
Floppy Disk Repair Co. doesn’t need to worry about this. The cocktail menu is divided into three groups. First, there are the sweet, spicy, and sour. The basic flavor profiles are delicious and creative.
Floppy Disk has a version of a mule, margarita, and even a milk-based drink meant to be consumed with a side of Trix cereal. These aren’t your every day old fashioneds. Each cocktail has a creative name, often befitting the creepy surroundings.
I tend to order from the first group, as my favorites include the Lean, which is served in a styrofoam cup and is a purple color. It’s sweet with a hint of cinnamon, and a flavor unlike anything I’ve had. Creative and delicious.
I loved the best seller of this group as well, a twist on a classic mule with ginger beer (its name is not appropriate for print, but its slogan “taste like you are sooo #blessed” is. Another favorite of mine: the Pina Colada. Don’t miss out.
I’ve learned you can’t go wrong with any drink on the menu; it just depends what you’re looking for. On that note, the bartender and staff are professional, and knowledgeable. Tell them what you like and they’ll guide you through the menu–or even make you something off-menu.
“We do a lot of hand-holding here. When people come to the bar, a lot of the drinks are based on the bartender’s recommendation, which is based on what you like,” said an anonymous source on staff.
The other groups of drinks are sipping drinks, often dry, bitter, sour, and tart. I highly recommend The Racketeer for its unique flavors that hit you in waves. Finally, if you’re not in the cocktail mood, there are beers on tap, as well.
Hiding in Plain Sight
I have a thing for speakeasies that successfully hide in plain sight. Maybe I just like feeling included, in the know. Floppy Disk Repair Co. is one of the most unique bars in Austin, and it has drinks that make the effort to visit worth it. It’s the perfect spot for a chill happy hour drink with a friend or date, or for a DJ-led party in the late night weekend hours.
Unless you actually need to repair your floppy disks, this speakeasy has what you’re looking for. All you have to do is find a way in!
@theAustinot wants to know:
Have you made it inside Floppy Disk Repair Co.?