New underground speakeasy gets down in Austin's Warehouse District
Even after suffering one of this year’s most high-profile shutters, the beat goes on in the Warehouse District. Two new concepts have rushed into to take over the space formerly occupied by Irish pub Fado.
CultureMap previously reported that FBR Management — the hospitality group behind such popular local bars as The Wheel, Lavaca Street Bar, and the revitalized Lala’s Little Nugget — was taking over the 214 W. Fourth St. space's lease, but the actual concept was kept under wraps.
When celebrity restaurateur and Iron Chef Gauntlet star Jason Dady announced that he was hard at work transforming the main Fado space into taco joint Chispas, it seemed like those plans had changed. But turns out FBR was quietly in the works in the pub’s basement space.
On November 16, the group finally revealed that that the concept was upscale speakeasy DuMont's Down Low, now open to the general public. According to a release, the bar specializes in whiskey, serving more than 70 labels. The focus on whiskey is reflected in the decor, which is scattered with Texas whiskey barrels throughout.
Guiding the cocktail program is Nick Gonzales, formerly of Gibson Street Bar and The Wheel. Expect high-octane drinks like the Double Barrel with High West double rye, overproof run, sloe gin, Cynar, lemon, and grenadine and the Charlotte with Plantation rum, Xicaru mezcal, Peychaud’s, angostura bitters, lime, and honey.
There’s also The Blanche, a gingery vodka drink with beet and jalapeño named after the bar’s namesake, Blanche DuMont. The infamous Austin figure was one of the most successful madams operating brothels in Austin’s 19th century red light district known as Guy’s Town. Her original address is now the location of nightclub Oilcan’s, formerly Oilcan Harry's.
As for the Down Low part of the name, the general slang meaning of the phrase — not to mention the subterranean location — goes a long way towards explaining it. But the common usage in the LGBTQ community is likely to raise a few eyebrows in Austin’s unofficial “gayborhood.”