Kelly Wearstler dazzles Austin again with opulent new bar and salon at Proper Hotel
Summer travel takes planning and funds; Time traveling through a new cocktail bar takes an evening. The Austin Proper, known for transporting visitors to sublime, faraway realities like tea time and the Mediterranean, is opening an eclectic new spot that is perfect for people who can't decide which decade they'd travel to first.
The Quill Room, a maximalist but brassy-monotone "cocktail lounge and salon" gives off a dreamy feeling of a liminal space, with herbaceous cocktails to match. The space joins the hotel's other dining concepts, the Peacock, Goldie's, and La Piscina — all helmed by Austin-based MML Hospitality.
Designed by Kelly Wearstler — famous for her work for celebrities, her books, and the other interiors at the Proper Hotels that Austinites may already know — this space could hold anything from an impressive meeting to a comfortable evening of killing time.
The decor certainly looks retro without the limitations of any one style or time period. Here, there's an oriental rug and floral armchairs. There, there's a metallic bar and floor-to-ceiling room dividers. Somewhere there's a transparent piano with what looks like indigenous American art framed on top. It's hard to beat Austin's eclectic sensibilities, and in this way, The Quill Room is right at home.
Some explanation from a press release ties the aesthetic together:
"Inspired furnishings represent a range of design through the decades — '60s to '90s — sourced from across Europe as well as from the nearby and famed Round Top Antiques Market. Stitched leather, rustic woods, blackened metals, and chunky woven fabrics connect to the Texas aesthetic.... An engaging collection of art, books, and a custom upright self-playing illuminated Edelweiss piano further complement the space and provide endless entertainment."
Both the cocktail and food menus are appropriately heady. The "Love Letter" blends elderflower, prosecco, sparkling water and edible flowers, while "La Vie en Rose" with spices things up with jalapeño-infused mezcal, Lillet Rosé, crème de mezcal, and rose water. Martinis abound...at least, four of them.
All that's paired with "light bites" including 24-month Prosciutto di Parma, foie gras custard, a crudité platter, and more French delicacies. There is a seafood bent to the succinct menu, which also features shrimp, salmon crudo, and tuna niçoise.
Live music will keep the energy up, starting with a residency: Rett Smith will serenade visitors with "Dark Americana" stylings from 9-11 pm. Although an artist-in-residence usually implies a multi-night stint, Smith only appears on the calendar for one night so far.