East meets west

2 Sixth Street bars shake things up during COVID-19 with patio pop-up

2 Sixth Street bars shake things up during COVID-19 with patio pop-up

La Holly Austin bar
La Holly is hosting a six-month pop-up at Key Bar. Photo by Summer Madeline

Key Bar is shaking things up. Literally. The long-running West Sixth staple is partnering with East Sixth newbie La Holly to host a summer cocktail pop-up. 

The project, a joint venture between both bars, is designed to bring a "socially distanced outdoor patio experience" to Key Bar while spotlighting La Holly's famed cocktails. Pop-up patrons can expect frozen cocktails, as well as the self-described cantina's "usual offerings of tequila, mezcal, sotol, raicilla, and bacanora."

A release adds the pop-up will also offer local beers on draft and in cans and bottles. And because we are in the age of COVID-19, ownership also says it is taking social distancing measures very seriously, making it "the number one priority." 

It's actually the novel coronavirus — and its devastating impact on bars and restaurants — that inspired the pop-up. As summer begins and social distancing measures remain in place, La Holly owner Simon Madera and team are focusing on patios and other outdoor spaces to help boost revenue amid the economic fallout from the pandemic.

“We see the value in growing into patio spaces, as we believe that is going to be the next big thing as Austin slowly opens up more for business,” said Madera in a release. “Due to COVID-19, we would like to focus our energy into converting our bars and restaurants into thriving patio spaces to make customers feel comfortable social distancing while enjoying a beautiful surrounding."

Along with cocktails, Taco Flats, also owned by Madera, is parking its food truck outside of Key Bar. The restaurant, which currently has locations in Allandale, Clarksville, and at La Holly, offers Mexican-inspired fare including tacos, flautas, and quesadillas.

As for Key Bar, a rep tells CultureMap that the West Sixth stalwart is not closing, just offering its patio space up for a six-month pop-up.