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Courtesy of Dead Rabbit

Austinites who find themselves wistfully scouring flight deals to Ireland are in for a special surprise later this spring. Hailing from New York, The Dead Rabbit pub is bringing Ireland to Texas, opening a new location in downtown Austin.

The outpost will be The Dead Rabbit's first venture outside New York, where it just celebrated its tenth anniversary. Opened in 2013, the pub takes its name from an Irish gang who lived in the same lower Manhattan neighborhood nearly 200 years prior. Co-founder Jack McGarry had already earned the title of "world's best" for a previous Belfast concept, and The Dead Rabbit has since won eight Tales of The Cocktail Spirited Awards (including World’s Best Bar, twice, and Best International Bartender for McGarry, who remains the youngest ever recipient).

Now, McGarry hopes to bring that same sense of heritage to Austin, where The Dead Rabbit will be settling into the city's Downtown Historic District. Taking over a space formerly occupied by another Irish pub, the original B.D. Riley's, the concept will open this spring at 204 E. 6th St — a unique corner blending Austin's history (The Driskill Hotel is across the street) with the live music venues and bars along what locals have dubbed "Dirty Sixth."

That unique blend is all part of the plan for McGarry, who connected with CultureMap via email to share the specific qualities he was looking for in an Austin location.

"For us, it’s essential to home The Dead Rabbit in buildings and spaces rich in character and those that effectively represent the rich architectural narrative of the city," he said. "In Austin ... our building showcases the stunning Victorian architecture that dominates the area. [But] the site is also competitive in that it’s highly trafficked and accessible: We’re aware of Sixth Street's difficulties, with many referring to the area as ‘Dirty Sixth.’ Still, we believe the area represents a wonderful opportunity, and Sixth Street has a bright future, with The Driskill Hotel primed for redevelopment after recently being purchased, alongside other efforts to revitalize the area."

For the buildout, McGarry tapped Belfast-based Drinksology design studio, tasking them with a vision to embody and celebrate a modern, vibrant Ireland while reflecting The Dead Rabbit team’s extensive knowledge as the foremost experts in Irish spirits and cocktails.

"We intend to beautifully restore and highlight the store's character by exposing the original beam and brickwork while respectfully integrating the design and pillars associated with The Dead Rabbit," says McGarry.

Also part of the plan was choosing Texas as the first ever outpost outside New York. While the team also has plans to expand to New Orleans later in 2023, Texas was the top priority for expansion:

"The Irish story in Texas and Austin is well documented, going as far back as the 18th century, with Irish people playing a significant role in the state and the city in the preceding centuries," McGarry says. "As a byproduct of the rich Irish heritage in Austin, there is an appreciation of Irish culture through our music, art, food, and drink, which is a critical factor for us. Beyond that, Austin is a dynamic, vibrant, and experience and hospitality-driven city, and we think we can add something unique and highly differentiated, which is telling the story of contemporary Ireland."

Austinites who are eager to get a taste of things to come can do so on January 25, when The Dead Rabbit team joins Nickel City for a special event. Open to the public from 7-10 pm, the event will be a sneak peek of sorts, and a celebration of National Irish Coffee Day. McGarry will be on-site, along with beverage director Aidan Bowie, general manager, Laura Torres, and bar director Ian Alexander.

The Dead Rabbit team will take over a well, and in collaboration with Lost Irish, will serve a selection of cocktails including their famous Irish Coffee, alongside Nickel City’s variation, with $2 of each cocktail going to Heard Austin’s mental health and wellness efforts for the hospitality industry.

"It’s more of a hello to the city," says McGarry ahead of the event, which hopes will "introduce [The Dead Rabbit] to the community with our laid-back Irish hospitality, high-quality drinks, and service standards and signal our intention to be a community-focused company ... To this end, we’re beyond excited to partner with Heard Austin to support their critical work."

McGarry hopes the event will help set expectations for the permanent space, introducing The Dead Rabbit to Austin as "a hospitality-focused company that consistently and excellently serves our TDR hallmarks and ... [while] being a positive and engaged member of the Austin community."

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Austin home buyers have more power when it comes to inventory, report says

REAL ESTATE REPORT

Confidence in the real estate market has grown since February, with buyers gaining more leverage through inventory increases across the Austin-Round Rock metro area, according to the latest monthly report from the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR).

The report shows that housing inventory in February spent an average of 84 days on the market, a massive 55-day jump from February of 2022. The current median home price for the metro area is $436,419, a 12 percent drop from the previous year.

“Austin’s housing market is trending in the right direction. Buyers have more options and negotiating power with each passing month, and sellers have more time to make their next move,” said 2023 ABoR president Ashley Jackson in a press release. “Remember, a healthy housing market isn’t defined by breaking records every month, but by market activity that’s steady-paced and sustainable.”

Though Austin and Travis County's completed home sales decreased by less than 30 percent during February, active home listings skyrocketed in both areas. New home listings in Austin decreased less than one percent, while pending sales declined nearly 20 percent. Travis County's pending sales also saw a 16 percent decrease, while new home listings increased 5.7 percent.

Outside Austin, median prices continued to fall in Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell counties. The price decreases led to more completed home sales in Bastrop and Hays, while Caldwell's home sales stayed flat, and Williamson County's home sales decreased.

“Looking at the month-to-month data, we see that pending sales are consistent or rising in neighborhoods that are typically more affordable in areas outside Austin city limits," said Ashley Jackson. "Along with rising inventory, that’s a good sign for housing market activity this spring.”

Taylor Jackson, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, encourages home buyers and sellers to have a wider outlook when trying to understand the housing market. He says homebuilders are “gaining more confidence” in the market’s stability every month.

“This is evidenced by fewer cancellations and minimized supply shortages,” he said in the release. “Additionally, first quarter sales incentives have remained strong and for the first time in a long time, builders have a renewed sense of optimism in the direction the market is heading.”

Jackson also stressed the importance of any incentive that increases housing accessibility for buyers, since many still struggle to afford living in Austin proper.

“There is still plenty of work to do to address systemic issues in affordability, accessibility, and missing middle construction, and those should remain our community’s number one concern,” he explained.

Gothic Austin home sells after catching the eyes of onlookers during the Modern Home Tour

Victorian is the new black

Not even a month after the Modern Home Tour, a home listed on the tour has sold. The all-black Victorian house has sold, according to John Gioffre, the owner.

Gioffre posted on his Instagram saying, "I am thrilled to announce that we have officially accepted an all-cash offer on the Modern Victorian. It is officially after 5 pm on the last day of our option period and the earnest money has gone hard!! This has been such an incredible journey in my career. One that I will truly remember for life."

The listings on both Zillow and Trulia have the home listed for $3.7 million. It is four beds and three baths. The two-story home comes with a pool, and is equipped with Google fiber, smart lighting, smart switches throughout, and home audio/video that can be operated by a smartphone.

This home, along with other unique homes on the Modern Home Tour, is located on Lake Travis and in the Hill Country. If you didn't get a chance to attend the tour, you can see the homes listed on the Modern Architecture + Design Society's website.

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Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

UT professor and Austin-based author debunks the supernatural with spooky new audiobook

THE GHOST CLUB

A new audiobook that tells the tale of a group of supernatural investigators is coming to your earbuds soon. The invigorating story will be narrated by Austin-based author Katie Winkler Dawson.

The Ghost Clubdetails the monthly meetings at the namesake London club between a group of powerful leaders from around the globe. The gatherings focused on debunking fake supernatural events and encounters, while revealing the fraudsters for who they really are. But their chairman – and the world’s premier ghost hunter – seems to be hellbent on disproving the existence of poltergeists in the famous English Borley Rectory. Will he succeed in his goal as a hero, or will he turn to hoaxes of his own to prove himself correct?

Dawson is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and an expert crime historian, who has two additional crime books under her belt. She said in a press release that she spent five years researching the story behind her new book.

“I’ve spent a lot of time evaluating what type of project it could be: a Tenfold More Wicked season? A traditional book?” she reflected. “I finally landed on the idea that The Ghost Club would be a fantastic audiobook original, a series of real ghost stories wrapped around the club’s origin story, narrated as if I’m sitting with listeners by a campfire one cold night.”

This isn’t Dawson’s first venture into narration. She is the host of several podcasts that have a combined 28 million downloads, such as Tenfold More Wicked, Buried Bones, and Wicked Words.

Dawson’s The Ghost Club will go on sale March 21. More information about the audiobook can be found on penguinrandomhouse.com.