A relative newcomer to the Austin bar scene is drawing national honors.
Bar Congress was included in Esquire Magazine’s 2011 survey of the Best Bars in America. This year’s winners are all relative (tea) toddlers at two years old and younger (the list is branded as The Best New Bars in America in the magazine's print edition, which is on newsstands now), in comparison to the veteran Hall of Famers that have populated Esquire's bar rankings in years past.
For those who avoid downtown Austin, Bar Congress is the sleek, exclusive bar at the base of the Austonian condo building on Congress Avenue, nestled snugly between its conjoined sisters, Congress and Second Bar + Kitchen.
This proud middle sibling is compact in its construction and maintains an exclusive 22-seat maximum occupancy. But when the narrow lounge gets crowded, patrons are welcome to escort their cocktails and small entree plates to one of the swanky outdoor patios overlooking Congress Avenue.
It is the craft cocktails of mustached mixologist Adam Bryan that keeps the crowds swarming to Bar Congress. The former East Side Show Room bartender’s specialty lies in combining vintage ingredients (rose petals! anise!) into inventive adult beverages. Those feeling adventurous or undecided can feel safe trusting their palates to the mix master’s flavor profiles. The menu changes frequently, and the tab won’t leave you brokenhearted.
The Congress triptych upholds a standard of quality and creativity established by executive chef David Bull and sommelier June Rodil. When Bull opened the doors in January of 2011, his focus was always on local and sustainable practices as well as community involvement. Representing Austin on the local level has apparently paid off on the national level as well.
With big cities boasting the other 10 spots in Esquire’s Best Bars list, it’s an honor and a point of pride for the capital of Texas to be included. Bar Congress joins the illustrious ranks of past Austin Best Bar winners: Donn’s Depot, Deep Eddy Cabaret, and Mohawk.