Psychedelic Western saloon from all-star team grooves into East Austin
The pandemic isn't stopping one new saloon from riding into town. High Noon, billed as a "psychedelic Western bar," opens Friday, September 11, on the east side, promising a neighborhood bar where everyone is welcome.
High Noon offers a "heavily curated" drink menu, notes a release, complete with nine signature cocktails, frozen margaritas, beer on draft and to-go, an extensive whiskey and agave spirits program, and Thai Kun food truck on the patio.
Housed in the former Craftsman bar space at 2000 E. Cesar Chavez St., High Noon is inspired by classic Western saloons, which shaped the eclectic interiors. Hardwood floors (you can almost hear John Wayne strolling across) and paneled walls invoke a West Texas vibe, while elements like the colored ceilings and signature Pop Art-esque Pegasus sign are designed for the ever-important "Instagram moment."
And, to top it all off, the bar has added a "little bit of space oddity/neon-Tron flashes for psychedelic effect." Because, why not?
If the eclectic interiors and low-key vibes seem familiar, that's likely due to the all-star Austin hospitality team leading the project. The partners are a veritable who's who of downtown and east side dives, including Nathan Hill (The White Horse, Stay Gold, Frazier’s Long and Low, Gus’ Garage); Jeremy Murray (Kitty Cohen’s, The Blackheart); and Matt Rade (former general manager of The Blackheart and Kitty Cohen’s).
To make their vision come to life, the partners tapped Mickie Spencer to lead the design. Spencer, another hospitality vet, is the mastermind behind Hillside Farmacy and Sawyer & Co., among other places. In updating the 1918 house, Spencer added elements like a bubble window (those passing down Cesar Chavez have probably noticed it from the street) and built-in vintage seating.
“I can’t understate the importance of having Mickie Spencer involved," said Hill. "She has designed what in my opinion are some of the greatest bars and restaurants in Austin, so getting to work with her was an honor. She picked up on our offbeat style right away, and her addition of the bubble window is one of my favorite design elements in the space."
Of course, opening a bar anytime is difficult. Opening one amid a pandemic comes with its own set of unique challenges. High Noon will open with masked bartenders and staff and require patrons to be masked unless sitting at a table. Tables will be socially distanced, hand sanitization stations will be available throughout the interiors and exteriors, and staff will disinfect surfaces throughout their shifts. The bar has also added UV purification filters to its HVAC system to keep air purified.
Though the new bar is highly conceptual and designed as a destination spot, High Noon says it wants to be part of the legendary East Cesar Chavez neighborhood.
“All are welcome,” Rade says. “We are your neighborhood bar, with destination appeal. Our pricing offers something for everyone, from the budget savvy drinker, to the high-end rarities that are hard to find anywhere else.”