Beloved New York City bar teases Austin expansion in 2016
A New York cocktail lounge with a cult-like following has eyes for Texas. On Wednesday, Employees Only confirmed plans to open a new location in downtown Austin by the end of 2016.
The Prohibition era-inspired bar specializes in unique interpretations of classic cocktails served by expert bartenders clad in white jackets. Other highlights include a curated wine list and a decadent food lineup featuring dinner, dessert, late-night bites, and famously free chicken noodle soup (doled out at closing time, no less).
The opening of the Austin locale is helmed by Employees Only co-founder Jason Kosmas, who is also one of the beverage masterminds behind spirits line The 86 Co. "We always knew other Employees Only locations were inevitable, and Austin is the ideal market," said Kosmas in a press release. "We're bringing together an experienced team to keep up the tradition and spirit of [Employees Only], but the Austin location will very much have its own unique vibe to reflect the city."
That "experienced team" largely consists of Penumbral Strategic Ventures LLC, a group of restaurant and bar wizards who are also responsible for local cocktail haven The Townsend. In addition to Kosmas, Employees Only's Austin partners include Penumbral owner and CEO Steven Weisburd, mixologist Justin Elliott, bartender Jeff Boley, and restaurateur Stuart Thomajan of Swift's Attic and Wu Chow.
Details on the bar are scarce at this time — an exact location won't be announced until the fall — but Kosmas says the Austin lounge will mirror the look, feel, and taste of the New York spot. "We hope that those who have experienced [Employees Only] in Manhattan will enjoy the Austin location as much as the original, and also are looking forward to introducing the brand, bar, and experience to an entirely new audience," said Kosmas.
Austin is just one part of the Employees Only equation. The New York Times details the successful West Village bar's global plans to add outposts in Miami Beach and Singapore within the year.