After nine profiles on downtown speakeasies, my series is coming to a close. It’s been quite a ride, filled with cocktails that stretch the imagination (and the taste buds), secret entrances, ghost stories, and reminders of Austin’s rich history. This series has provided a glimpse into the speed at which Austin is changing, as well as the importance of not forgetting our city’s roots.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): Garage
For the latest installment of my Austin speakeasy series, I visited Garage, a cocktail bar in–you guessed it–a garage. Like so many speakeasies in Austin, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may miss it.
Look for a parking garage on Colorado Street, directly south of Dirty Sixth. There, set back away from the street, is a set of doors where entering may stop time altogether. At least, I learned, that is the intent.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): J. Stephens
Speakeasies tend to latch on to the creepy and salacious. During the course of my speakeasy series, I’ve visited horror film-themed bars, heard multiple stories of ghosts haunting the premises, and learned that brothels existed in the heart of Austin not long ago. When I found out Austin’s newest speakeasy is named after J. Stephens, who came to his end in the late 1920s via suicide, due to drinking the equivalent of Lysol, it felt rather on-brand.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): Small Victory
When it comes to deciding where you spend your time and money, labels are important. A fine dining establishment offers a different experience than you get at a food truck. Similarly, one would expect different things from a visit to a cocktail bar as opposed to a speakeasy, as opposed to a tiki bar. Labels, names, and categories are important. And yet, there are those places that defy categorization. They won’t be pigeonholed into just one.
The first time I visited Small Victory, I was under the impression this was a tiki bar that also called itself a speakeasy. When I had trouble finding the entrance, it made sense: speakeasies are hidden. By the time I made it to the bar and found a menu full of tiki drinks, I was sure: this was a tiki bar. As has been my experience on this speakeasy tour, however, not everything is as it seems.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): Floppy Disk Repair Co.
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.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): Midnight Cowboy
You can’t just walk into Midnight Cowboy on a Saturday night and expect to get the experience, or the cocktails, everyone raves about. Certain steps are necessary. This may be why it took me three years to visit what is perhaps Austin’s most well-known speakeasy. Planning ahead has never been my strong suit.
When I made my reservation, found the hidden door, rang the bell, and sat in a booth for the first time, it didn’t take long to figure out why so many people recommended Midnight Cowboy over the years. For the sixth installment of The Austinot’s Speakeasy Secrets series, I’ll teach you how you too can have this same experience, and why you should make it a priority to do so.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): DuMont’s Down Low
For the fifth destination on my Austin speakeasy tour, I visited DuMont’s Down Low in the Warehouse District. Be warned: you may miss the entrance if you aren’t looking for it. But once you make your way down the dark stairs off West Fourth Street and into this basement bar, you’ll be glad you made the effort.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): Firehouse Lounge
Next stop on Jonas’ quest to shed light on the underworld that is Austin’s speakeasy scene: Firehouse Lounge. As my Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets series continues, I’m noticing some similarities among my subjects.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): Milonga Room
The rapidly developing east side of Austin is filled with just about everything you want in plain sight. Well, almost everything. In the case of Milonga Room, you have a speakeasy that resides underneath Buenos Aires Cafe, which is anything but in plain sight.[Read more…]
Austin’s Speakeasy Secrets (Shhh): Here Nor There
I heard about a speakeasy called Here Nor There in passing. The entrance was hidden. You needed to make a reservation on an app to get in. You could become a member for an annual fee. They served some of the best drinks in Austin and I had to visit because it was “an experience.”
For my second article spotlighting Austin’s best speakeasies, I visited Here Nor There downtown, to separate fact from fiction and see what the experience entailed.[Read more…]