Rainey Street’s own Half Step was selected as one of the top 10 finalists for the Eighth Annual Spirited Awards, which recognize the “year’s best bars, bartenders, writers, experts and more.” A new addition to the Rainey Street District, the cozy cocktail lounge was named a finalist in the Best New American Cocktail Bar category.
Half Step, founded by Chris Bostick (the mastermind behind L.A.'s much-lauded Varnish), is the only Texas bar in its respective category. While the other categories are overwhelmingly dominated by bars on the East and West Coasts, another familiar Texas establishment got a nod. Houston’s Anvil Bar & Refuge shows up twice on the list, with the bar receiving a nomination for Best American Cocktail bar and co-owner Bobby Heugel receiving a nomination for American Bartender of the year.
A panel of judges selected the lists of 10 finalists in each category, and four finalists from each category will be announced on Friday, June 6. Finalists will then head to the Tales of the Cocktails festival in New Orleans from June 16-20, where the winners will be named.
The nomination is itself a major accomplishment for one of Austin's newest bars, but not entirely unexpected. Half Step was repeatedly name-checked among Austin's best bartenders as their favorite place to grab a drink.