West Sixth shuffle yields 2 buzzy bar openings in downtown Austin
West Sixth is booming with new additions. While we wait for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Icehouse and a new location of The Goodnight to open, two new watering holes are ready to wet your whistle.
Kung Fu Saloon quietly opened the doors to its new location at 716 W. Sixth St., the former home of Benji's Cantina, on April 21. The bar migrated from the intersection of Fifth and Rio Grande streets to West Sixth Street.
When owners KPG Hospitality announced the move in February, the fate of the old Kung Fu Saloon space was left undecided. It has been revealed that a new bar from Lion's Share Hospitality will open soon at 510 Rio Grande St.
The hospitality group, which is also behind Parlor & Yard and Coast Bar & Restaurant, will debut a pop-up bar followed by a permanent concept. The EP is billed as "the bar before the bar." Opening Memorial Day weekend, the pop-up promises billiards, graffiti-covered walls, cocktails inspired by the '80s and '90s, and frosé.
After renovations, Stereotype will take over. Expect a vinyl DJ, larger patio, and nostalgic vibes. The team is targeting a fall opening.
KPG's decision to hand off the address to Lion's Share was an easy one, as both groups are part of the West 6th Business Association.
"Given our work with the West 6th Business Association, it made sense to choose a concept that best aligned with the district and these goals. We knew the minds behind Lion's Share would put in the work necessary to continue building a great district," says KPG's Chris Horne.
Kung Fu Saloon's new location boasts new food offerings from chef Blake Keely, previously of Benji's. Items include bar grub such as Cap'n Crunch fried pickles and cheeseburger egg rolls.
The chain includes outposts in Dallas, Houston, and Nashville; a Fort Worth location is also in the works. The bar has seen its share of controversy. In 2015, it agreed to implement changes following a suit alleging repeated discrimination of patrons.