It’s well known that Austin is a town that really likes to drink, like really drink. Considering the Live Music Capital of the World perpetually leads the state in per capita alcohol sales, it’s no wonder that more bars and breweries want to get in on the action. The upcoming openings calendar has everything from a microbrewery experimenting with barrel-aging to a downtown bar serving up cognitive psychology along with your cocktail. With this many new bars coming to town, we’re sure you’ll find one to quench your thirst.
Bar Rescue star Russell Davis will be taking over the former Isla space in early November with Academia, a concept based on the study of cognitive psychology and including features such as heartbeat-synced playlists, custom lighting from the lighting director of Cirque du Soleil, and “ambient scents and pheromones.” They will also be selling cocktails.
Beloved North Campus bar Nasty’s shuttered in September, but there was a silver lining. Back Lot, a new project from Workhorse bars owners Steve Ettle and Brent Broyles will be opening soon in the same space. Expect a casual atmosphere similar to the North Loop mainstay.
Employees Only, the lauded New York cocktail bar, announced an Austin location with industry superstar Jason Kosmas at the helm in 2016. Whether the news will ever come to fruition is still to be seen.
Two bars will be among the concepts at the new downtown Fairmont Hotel, opening by the end of the year. The lobby bar Fulton will be a central gathering place with wine, beer, and cocktails, while Rules & Regs will take advantage of sweeping skyline views from both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Two new locations of boozy bowling alley The Goodnight — one on Manchaca Road and one on West Sixth Street— have been delayed but still have impending openings. The downtown location should be open by the end of the year, with the South Austin spot opening in early 2018.
Neighborhood joint Revelry Kitchen & Bar will be opening a second location at 6215 N. Lamar Blvd. by late fall.
After a more than 15-year run, Irish pub and music venue Bull McCabe's closed at the end of August. Side Bar owner Trey Spaw has now taken the reigns, but no other details have emerged.
The table tennis-focused Spin concept will be coming to Austin by year’s end. In addition to 14 ping-pong tables and plenty of libations, the bar will offer a small food menu including sandwiches, small plates, and flatbreads that might come in handy should you drop your paddle. (Note: Although actor Susan Sarandon was one of the co-founders of the chain, she is no longer involved in the project.)
Lion’s Share Hospitality, the folks behind Parlor & Yard and Coast Bar & Kitchen, will be transforming the former location of West Sixth’s Kung Fu Saloon into Stereotype sometime in early 2018. Although details are slim for the project, the theme will be retro and music-focused.
The construction on the former West Sixth Gatti’s Pizza location seems to be endless, but the Bloodhound Gang-inspired Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Icehouse is still semi-active on social media and still promises to be “open soon.”
Construction is under way at a new bar from Whisler’s owner Scranton Twohey. The location is right next door to Congress Avenue lounge The Townsend, which should make the two locations ideal for the world’s laziest bar crawl.
Breweries and brewpubs
Brewtorium last week launched a Beer for Life program to help pay for the remainder of the build-out of their upcoming location near the Highland Mall development. It’s looking like beer lovers won’t get a taste of homebrewers Chris Rauschuber and Whitney Roberts German-style beers until 2018.
By late fall, there will be one more reason to make the short drive to the barbecue capital of Texas. Beer Diaries founder Mike Mann is opening Caracara Brewing Company on the main square in Lockhart with a focus on local ingredients and a BYOBBQ policy.
The aptly-named Central District Brewing is eyeing a downtown location in the Austin Convention Center garage. Expect a wide range of styles from saisons to IPAs from the woman-owned brewery.
The Dripping Springs brewery from Supernatural star Jensen Ackles and his family is nearing completion for a late fall opening. Family Business Beer Company will appropriately feature activities for all ages, including a play space, stages for live music, and food trucks.
Although an opening date hasn’t been announced for the new Frontyard Brewing near Emma Long Metropolitan Park, they recently were awarded label approvals for five beers — a milk stout, a Belgian blond ale, a golden ale, an oatmeal stout, and a rye IPA.
Adelbert’s spin-off project Oddwood Ales should be open any day now with experimental barrel-aged American ales and a Sicilian menu from chef Ryan Dunn.
A recent Instagram post showed the completed installation of Skull Mechanix Brewing's kettle stack, which means an opening date should be just around the corner for the South Austin brewery near St. Elmo Brewing.
Thirsty Planet Brewery's new state-of-the-art brewing facility was opened this month on South Congress Avenue to help increase distribution, but its only the first phase. A tasting room will be open to the public sometime in 2018.
Uncultured Ales, an upcoming north Austin microbrewery specializing in oak barrel-aged and mixed culture beers has a sign up, but that’s about all we currently know about the intriguing project. We hope they are still on track for an early 2018 opening.