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East Austin's Legendary White Swan to close, make room for 'classic cocktail' bar

Austin_photo: Places_Drinks_White Swan
The Legendary White Swan will close to make room for a craft cocktail lounge. Photo by Joe Zito

The Legendary White Swan, a bar that's been around in one incarnation or another since the 1960s, is preparing to change hands once again, according to the Austin Chronicle.

Randall Stockton, who bought the bar in 2011, is selling the Legendary White Swan citing lack of patrons. Stockton is keeping the bar in the family, though, handing over the reigns of White Swan to his half-brother, Bill Hankey.

With its new name, King Bee Lounge, the bar will also get a new ethos. Under Hankey's guidance, a craft cocktail program will become the centerpiece. Hankey, a celebrated mixologist, will undoubtedly bring the experience he got cutting his teeth as the bar manager of Bar Congress to his new 12th Street establishment.

Hankey does face an uphill battle, though. The reputation of 12th and Chicon may be hard for potential cocktail enthusiasts to overcome, and was what ultimately led to Stockton's decision to leave the bar behind. He told the Chronicle, “I underestimated what it would take to overcome the area's stigma. I thought that if Randall Stockton took over the White Swan it would work and people would come out. I thought I could put liquor and bands in and it would work, but it was harder than that.”

Don't worry about Stockton, he has many other establishments to keep him busy. His bevy of bars includes Rio Rita, Beerland, Poodle Dog Lounge (which will re-open under a new name later this year), The Grackle and Sputnik.

The Legendary White Swan will shutter in late July.

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