Royal Jelly may have closed in December 2018, but music is still in the air at 704 W. St. Johns Ave. A group comprised of a club owner, a musician, and a bonafide punk icon have transformed the space into Austin’s latest nightlife jam.
The Long Play Lounge is a collaboration between Will Tanner of Hole in the Wall and Stay Gold, popular musician Mike Therieau, and John Doe of Los Angeles rock pioneers X. The space snuck onto the scene prior to SXSW, but is now finally gearing up for its grand opening on April 28 — a delay in part due to the partners' various touring schedules.
According to general manager Tate Mayeux — himself one half of “swampy tonk” duo Mayeux and Broussard — the idea came about in casual conversation. Mayeux, Tanner, and Doe all live near Hyde Park and often bemoaned the lack of bar options in the area. When Royal Jelly owner Evan Garrett psychedelic bar and eatery in December 2018 in order to move to Washington, D.C., the group snagged it to open a lounge.
“As musicians, we wanted a hangout,” explains Mayeux, “but didn’t want to do another music venue.”
Long Play will not host live performances, but music is still very much a part of its DNA. The bar plans to regularly host listening parties from both local and national acts, like a recent one from gothic Americana troubadour Garner Sloan.
“The whole record release thing is such a pain in the ass,” says Mayeux. The idea, he says, is to give bands a more intimate way to interact with fans.
The melodic theme continues to the bar, where the team had some fun in naming the cocktails. The Marga-Reba, an homage to country’s most famous redhead, comes in three versions: a regular, a fancy, and a Fancy Don’t Let Me Down. Likewise, a Fernet, tequila, lime, and ginger beer sipper is called the Fernetta Lynn, despite its namesake’s demand, “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’.”
The rest of the drinks program is minimal with around 11 beers in cans, two drafts, and a couple of ciders. Mayeux says with all of the offerings, the team wanted to provide high-end brands but still keep the prices affordable. Cocktails hover between $8-$9.
The food is kept simple. Moving away from Royal Jelly’s broad internationally inspired menu, Long Play offers a handful of snacks like chips and salsa and “ripping” meat and vegan chilis. Mayeux says the team is still in the process of finding the perfect queso recipe.
Perfect queso or not, the bar will likely prove to be popular in the underserved area. In an increasingly pricey Austin, bars that mix the high and low like Nickel City, Frazier’s, and Tanner’s own Stay Gold are proving to hit just the right note.