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…]
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…]
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 Maybe they’re hidden, perhaps even behind a storefront that could only be described as outdated.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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
Sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you’ve found it. One day you’re getting a haircut at the barbershop you’ve been going to for 10 years, and the next you have an offer to open your own bar behind said barbershop. If that feels like a fairly specific example, it’s because…surprise!…it’s based on a true story. Meet Brian Hummel, owner and operator of the The Good Life BAR BAR, a cozy and unique speakeasy in the heart of downtown Austin. [Read more…]