The best part about the holidays is it gives folks a chance to reconnect. That college friend with a newborn suddenly calls, family come into town, and exes slide into your DMs. Maybe that last example isn’t the greatest, but the point is you’ll need to answer the perennial question, “Where should we meet?”
These six Austin newbies are the solution. Providing everything from bubbles to Japanese-inspired cocktails, they are sure to make catch-up time a blast — and provide a little liquid patience when the baby pictures come out.
Austin Cheese Company
As the name implies, this Arboretum hangout is indeed a cheese shop. But one can’t properly have cheese without wine. The preppy tasting room has plenty of both, which can be enjoyed on site along with a selection of sandwiches, salads, and artisan chocolates. We can’t think of a better spot for a really gouda (sorry) first date.
Cask Bar & Kitchen
We’re not sure whether to call this downtown spot a speakeasy or a gastropub; maybe it’s a little bit of both (but please let’s not call it a gastreasy). The bar program is straightforward with canonical drinks like Old Fashioneds, margaritas, brambles, and Manhattans mixed with originals like the rosemary scented Lavaca Scotch. The surprise comes from the grub. When’s the last time you slurped a lobster bisque at a bar?
Domo Alley Gato Tatsu-ya
With layered signs and glowing lanterns, this East Sixth Street bar from the team behind Ramen Tatsu-Ya transports guests to the ramshackle back alleyways of Tokyo — as long as they don’t look up at the bland developments looming overhead. Never mind those beige buildings. There’s stellar curry and beverage director Michael Phillips has created one of Austin’s most playful cocktail programs. Try a Chū-Hi, a highball that can be customized with choice of spirit and tonics like shiso and sumac, lavender and fennel, and sesame and peppercorn.
DuMont’s Down Low
This subterranean Warehouse District newcomer likes its whiskey, so much so that aging barrels make up a large part of the decor. The spirit used liberally in the menu, from a twist on the classic Brown Derby to the heady Double Barrel that mixes overproof rum with High West rye for a serious kick. But that doesn’t mean it ignores the clear stuff. The Blanche impresses with beets, jalapeños, ginger beer, and (gasp!) citrus-infused vodka.
Full Circle Bar
This Skee-Ball obsessed bar has been around since 2015, but a new Sunday pop-up has given it new life. Dishes like bacon jam and white cheddar loaded fries and buttermilk chicken sliders on beignets make Bacchus & Brown’s Southern comfort food menu perfect for nursing a hangover.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
This favorite Austin spot now has a new location at 10525 W. Parmer Ln. in Avery Ranch. Now North Austinites don’t have to brave traffic to get their fix of house-infused moonshine and signature Southern snacks. There are even a few exclusive cocktails like the Southern Belle martini with vodka, St. Germaine, and muddled raspberries, and the curious Twentieth Century with Dripping Springs gin, lemon, Cocchi Americano, and creme de cacao.