This guest blog article is by Alex Shapanka.
With October well underway, facial hair aficionados are gearing up for their most cherished month – Movember. To the casual beard-grower or the lazy shaver, the calendar may be irrelevant. But a sense of anticipation and even anxiety builds within the moustache lover as we approach the eleventh month.
How you choose to style your ‘stache says as much about you as the books you keep on your shelves. It’s a public display of self-expression. Be artistic and commit to the narrow, pointed Dali? Or don the walrus in hopes of giving off an air of scientific investigation, like MythBusters’ Jaime Hyneman. Perhaps one of Austin’s unique bar’s can help you decide.
Since August 2012, HandleBar has been helping patrons wet their ‘staches. Fret not. This mecca isn’t exclusive to those with a bit of hair on their upper lip (though you’ll find that the staff rocks some prodigious mustaches). On any given night, you’ll find an eclectic crowd gathered both downstairs and on the rooftop, enjoying the bar’s vintage vibe.
Untuck Your Shirt
From the moment you show your I.D. to the bouncer’s smiling face, you know that you’re in for a pleasant experience. You will find first-rate cocktails, but without the bourgeois attitude. In case the photo booth, giant Jenga and seesaw didn’t give it away, HandleBar offers a relaxed setting.
The downstairs is decorated with a tasteful randomness that every bar aspires too, though few realize. The dim lighting and mural of Einstein, among other things, promote great conversation.
Take a walk up the stairs to enjoy the fresh air and watch television projected onto the side of the next building. You’ll also find quite a bit of space for dancing and socializing between the two rooftop bars.
When it comes to flexing your Twenty-first Amendment, HandleBar has you covered. Wine. Rotating craft beers. Happy Hour from 4-8 PM, Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday.
The spirits menu isn’t too shabby, either. While any classic drink is available (and delicious), you may as well err on the side of adventure and try the house twists on old time favorites like the (Handlebar)Sidecar.
It also never hurts to ask your server what they recommend, especially since each bartender imagines their own flavorful creations. Founders Willie Stark and Brett Vance are no strangers to the Austin cocktail industry, having worked in different bars around the city for near a decade. They prove their experience through their caliber of their drinks.
Changing It Up
If you want something beyond a watering hole, HandleBar has you covered. Tuesdays, Thursdays and sporadically throughout the week, grab a chair or hit the dance floor upstairs to enjoy live music. Hungry? Check out the free barbecue on Sundays at 4:30 for some brisket and pulled pork.
HandleBar also entertains beyond the weekly staples. The last Wednesday of this month will include a jorts competition. So if you have an old tattered pair with flower print in the closet, shake them out and throw them on for a good time. Late next month, HandleBar will be your host and venue for the gala in honor of Movember.
Next time you need to unwind or just want to hang out with some friends, head out to 121 East 5th for a neighborly drink.
Have you been to HandleBar? How would you rate your experience?
Alex Shapanka tends to follow his feet, hoping not to trip. And they’re doing all right in terms of navigation. After all, they got him from Boston down to Austin in one piece. He’s been exploring the city one Amy’s Ice Cream at a time, before his feet pick up and go again.
Photos courtesy of Andrea Korab.