I set out on my Sunday adventure to discover a house-turned-watering-hole in way south Austin, Moontower Saloon.
The founding duo behind the spry and still young concept is visionary Josh Bumb and Richard Veregge, hands-on building and bio planner and marketing wiz.
The idea for this neighborhood destination, located at 10212 Manchaca Road, stemmed from a conversation which began two and a half years ago. The friends were chatting at Weirdo’s, and Bumb voiced his interest in creating “something even better.” Far surpassing their initial expectations, the team’s first collaborative concept came to life with Moontower Saloon.
The two business partners had the foresight to get connected as part of the southwest Austin community. During early stages of building, they made a point to get involved and introduced at local HOA meetings. Although initially they may have taken a bit of heat from the neighborhood, this early connection added significantly to their success.
On a Moontower Mission
With a November 2012 opening, this destination-style bar managed to transition from a home into a fully functioning music venue and neighborhood gathering spot. The business partners could not have predicted the rate of growth the business would have, but they’re riding the wave with grace.
Front of house manager Eddie Erdwurm sat down for a chat during the relaxing Sunday festivities to tell me more about it. “We are a neighborhood bar and we take care of our patrons.” Erdwurm proudly and sincerely beamed while he shared stories of a dozen or so guests sitting around the bar that day. “About eighty percent of our crowds are not only regulars, but also live in the neighborhood.”
The team behind this concept sets quite an example for their employees and neighbors. The two very hands-on owners spend their days planting, building, cleaning, working and investing time into the venue, and they respect the work their employees do for them. Erdwurm added, “We are proud to be an Austin bar.”
Southwest Austin became a little cooler with the arrival of this place. “There is nothing like it and nothing pretentious about hanging out here” said Erdwurm. With a clean, well-kept and truly comfortable feel of a backyard, the mainly outdoor venue offers an affordable beer, wine and cocktail menu, along with a couple of food trailer options to keep bellies full.
The spacious patio is spotted with native Texas shady trees, washer pits and plenty of unique seating. In the upcoming months, the well-placed fans, overhead misting units and awnings will help keep you cool in the outdoor space.
If you have high hopes of seeing a moontower, you may not get exactly what you’re looking for, but the namesake bar does not disappoint. As you turn onto the dirt drive entrance, you’ll see a replica of a fondly recognizable Austin moontower. But Bumb and Veregge aren’t stopping there. The two have been doing their research and are in the process of trying to acquire an authentic local version for the property.
Love Thy Neighbor
While the Moontower Saloon concept was coming to life, owners Bumb and Veregge were making entrepreneurial choices with a great deal of integrity. Their initial goal was to introduce something new, while enriching the community around them.
While they continue to add on to the original building and property on a weekly basis, the team also continues to exemplify philanthropy. Doing their part for social good, the Moontower Saloon makes regular donations to local schools, non-profits and shelters, which for the most part benefit children and animals. Meanwhile, their employees are also drinking the social good kool-aid by occasionally donating their time, revenue and tips for charity and fundraising efforts.
After showing the neighbors that their property, privacy and quiet time would be respected on all accounts, the success of the concept quickly called for more space. Space for parking was almost an immediate need. While the business partners did purchase the lot next door to satisfy some of that need, there was still parking spillover which the city would not accommodate with street parking. Cue: an amazing business opportunity for one of Moontower Saloon’s closest neighbors, who opened their empty land to provide safe, paid parking options for guests.
In a Land Not So Far Away
Moontower Saloon may become a big brother! Great news for dedicated patrons of the saloon, the property next door is stirring up valuable concept ideas that will please slightly different markets, including possibilities of a wine bar and more craft brews.
Immediate updates to the property will introduce Moontower’s very own food trailer, volleyball courts and a front lawn movie night. You can be assured that the integrity of the neighborhood and the natural landscape will be taken into consideration when construction takes place, and you will continue to see a hometown, local presence.
While you’ve been reading, Veregge has most likely waved his magic marketing wand and come up with another great way to promote the very active southwest location and the events that come along with it. Most recently added to the Moontower radar is an all inclusive tubing trip, including bus transportation to the river and beer along the way. If you can’t make it to the river, get to know the team behind the neighborhood hot spot and catch live music, with no cover on most weekends.
@Cris Mueller asks:
Have you made it to Moontower Saloon yet? What do you think?