happier than a clam
Locally owned seafood and oyster bar comes out of its shell in busy downtown Austin locale
Austin has tons of cocktail bars, but the inland city doesn't have quite as many dedicated to oysters and seafood towers — although the number seems to be growing. There's one more, at least: Bill's Oyster is opening in the 2nd Street District downtown in April.
The "neighborhood joint" — an unusual but refreshing branding for something in such a business-forward part of town — aims to be a hangout spot for seafood lovers, emphasizing its place among the many crossing paths on that side of town. The seasonal offerings focus on oysters but also include other shellfish, salads, cocktails, and even burgers. Guests may pass the time at a 15-seat bar, along banquette (bench) seating, and on the patio.
“I’m excited to bring my love of fresh seafood to Austin, where we’ll transport patrons back to the heyday of classic oyster bars, to revel in fresh daily seafood, cocktails and a laid back, yet sophisticated atmosphere,” said co-owner Chef Daniel Berg in a press release. “Bill’s is perfect for the midday lunch meeting, post-work martinis, or enjoying a good dinner with friends after seeing your favorite artist at the nearby ACL Live."
Berg brings experience in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants to join his friend, lifelong Austinite and St. Edward's University grad Stewart Jarmon, in opening the new bar.
Bolstered by the colloquial charisma are higher-end selections like crudo, caviar, and other "curated delicacies." Cocktails also trend toward the more serious luxuries, favoring martinis (with some unnamed innovations) and other long-established classics. Local beers and curated wines also make an appearance in the bar program by beverage director Richard Thomas.
If the confident tone of the announcement is not enough of a hint toward a strong sense of style, the description of the interior cements it. The release nods to "old New Orleans, unapologetically nostalgic and glamourous." Photos so far only highlight the food, but diners can expect natural wood finishes, an antique feeling, and custom tiling.
The address, 205 West 3rd Street, is another that seems to have formerly been claimed by Daily Juice, which recently closed all its locations after two decades in Austin. One of the forsaken locations was picked up by the Soup Peddler, to the delight of many juice-loving locals. This venture is certainly a farther cry from juice, but is perhaps better suited to the area and its visitors.
More information about Bill's Oyster is available at billsoyster.com. There is no set opening day or operating hours, but it will serve lunch, dinner, and weekend brunches.