Shocking shutters

Luck runs out for South Austin pub after less than a year in business

Luck runs out for South Austin pub after less than a year in business

Darcy's Donkey
The luck has run out for Irish pub Darcy's Donkey. Darcy's Donkey/Facebook

After less than a year in business, upscale Irish Pub Darcy’s Donkey has unexpectedly closed. On June 11, the concept announced via Facebook that it has shuttered.

“It is with a heavy heart that we came to the decision to shut our doors for good today,” reads the post. “Persistently underperforming sales coupled with the high cost [of] doing business ultimately lead us to this difficult decision.” This followed a June 10 post that said it had closed for maintenance.

Although CultureMap was able to independently confirm the shutter, a rep for the company said the owner did not wish to further comment.

Darcy’s Donkey debuted in the former Austin Java space at 1608 Barton Springs Rd. in October 2018. The concept was designed to be an homage to the traditional public houses that owner Neville Joyce frequented growing up in rural West Ireland.

Unlike many Irish pubs that heavily rely on shamrocks and beer signs for decor, Joyce brought in local designer Lilianne Steckel to design the space. Steckel sourced pieces directly from Ireland to create an authentic atmosphere complete with a snug — a private room historically used by citizens who didn’t want an audience when they drank.

The bar also distinguished itself through its culinary program. The menu, created by chef Ryan Durham, riffed on traditional Irish cuisine with six different potato dishes and meat pies filled with unconventional ingredients like pastrami and truffled mushrooms.

Darcy’s shutter is the latest Irish concept to bow out of the Austin market. In March 2018, Warehouse District fixture Fado also closed, promising a new location that has yet to materialize. That space is now shared by speakeasy DuMont’s Down Low and Chispas from San Antonio celebrity chef Jason Dady.