Gin ne sais quoi

Sleek new rooftop bar shakes up East Austin with gin-only cocktail menu

Sleek rooftop bar shakes up East Austin with gin-only cocktail menu

Gin Bar
Hankering for a Bourbon? Too bad. Gin Bar is a gin bar. Photo by Brittany Bosworth

Letherbee Vernal, Ransom Old Tom, and Drumshanbo Gunpowder may sound like characters from the upcoming Cats movie, but they are actually the supporting cast for a much less terrifying project. The liquor brands are among dozens of choices at Gin Bar at the newly opened Arrive East Austin hotel.

The rooftop bar and lounge opens Thursday, August 8, according to a release. The project joins the more fancifully named concepts Lefty’s Brick Bar, Vixen’s Wedding, and Cartel Coffee Lab as the fourth hospitality concept in the space.

Shockingly, Gin Bar serves gin — and a lot of it. The menu covers everything from Texas faves like Seersucker, Waterloo, and Dripping Springs to lesser known bottles like Gracias a Dios, an agave-based gin developed by students at Oaxaca State University.

The cocktails are also all built with gin, starting with a trio of martinis including a signature version with orange butters, a twist with fino sherry and olives, and another with Corsican aperitif Mattei Cap Corse and lemon oil.

Other cocktail choices include a Daisy with a kick of yellow Chartreuse, a vibrant Aviation made with indigo butterfly pea blossom-infused gin, and The Eastside — a refresher with cucumber, lime, and elderflower tonic.

The bartenders will probably mix up something without gin if they have the ingredients on hand, but going buck wild and ordering a White Russian is probably ill-advised. Besides, a curated selection of beers, wines, and ciders is available for those who begrudge botanicals, and the full Vixen’s Wedding wine list is available on request.

Regardless of liquor preference, the Chris Pardo-designed space is imminently stylish with a row of fire-engine red barstools and a few more comfortably pillowed perches. Wooden benches crowded around fire pits serve après ski realness.

More importantly, Gin Bar overlooks the action of East Sixth Street. As All About Eve’s Margo Channing so capably demonstrated, a dry martini is best enjoyed while looking down on people.