You may already know the lovely, fabulous and original Austinite Emily Fleming-Nash from her days spent at the fun and vibrant coffee shop, Emerald City Press, which has sadly since closed. She and her cheery team of baristas used to get downtown workers’ and dwellers’ days off to a great start with delicious coffee drinks served with an extra dose of personable charm. She used to use a bullhorn to lure in drivers stuck in traffic on North Lamar Boulevard towards the coffee shop. Now, that same bullhorn is used to announce last call. Fleming-Nash has traded in her early, coffee-buzzed mornings for sultry, late night sipping at her new bar called The Butterfly Bar.
The Butterfly Bar is an extension to the already existent Vortex Theater located on Manor Road. Fleming-Nash saw an opportunity to extend what was just a snack bar and bring a new life and added amenity to the theater. (Though, you don’t have to attend the theater to enjoy the bar.) Sit back and relax in the expansive outdoor area. It’s outfitted with a fire pit encircled by comfy Adirondack chairs; a large wooden deck with communal picnic tables; and an old converted pony shed that provides an intimate and cozy seating area. Inside you'll find a vintage bar taken from the historic Nimitz Hotel in Fredericksburg, which is now the Admiral Nimitz Museum. Petite and inviting cafe tables and chairs provide additional indoor seating. The space is dimly lit with soft lighting fixtures and glowing candles.
The menu currently consists of a selection of wines by the glass and bottle as well as bottled beers. Coffee drinks, teas and lemonade are also available. An enticing selection of savory and sweet bites compliment the drink selections. I’m addicted to the truffled popcorn paired with a buttery Chardonnay, and the campfire s’more set-ups pair perfectly with a glass of Cabernet. Fleming-Nash’s magnetic personality shines through in the way she describes the wines. For instance, she calls the Merlot "soft and sweet like your mama’s [redacted]," and the Pinot Noir is described as "warm and friendly, like a kind lover." Soon, a full-liquor bar will be in effect, serving the latest trends in the cocktail scene.
Complimenting its neighbor, the Vortex, The Butterfly Bar is also spreading its theatrical wings. “This is a venue not just for serving drinks, but for creating an art scene. This is a new platform to foster burgeoning new artists,” says Fleming-Nash. On any given night, you may stumble upon a new musical act, independent local film or a specialty-themed evening. Recently, The Butterfly Bar hosted a “Rock the Casbah” night complete with belly dancers, a live band, tarot card readings and henna artists.
Spread your wings, diverge from the downtown and east side bar scenes and reintroduce yourself to Fleming-Nash and the fine folks at The Butterfly Bar.