Bring me a higher love
Sometimes a birthday just doesn't cut it: Not all your friends can make it on the same night, or you plan a separate celebration with family because there's no guarantee things won't get out of hand at the official party. Or maybe you just deserve to be celebrated all week long, which is likely Higher Ground's reasoning behind its upcoming week-long anniversary event.
Opened in 2021, the elevated cocktail bar in the historic space at 720 Congress Ave. in downtown Austin is unassuming from the outside, but like most things, it's what's on the inside that counts. One step inside transports guests to a space that's part cathedral, part Prohibition drinks lounge, part intimate night club: Quasimodo, Gatsby, and Jennifer Lopez would all feel at home here.
The interior decor was a group effort (Lauren Travis of All Collective, Taylor Clouse of Love Country Designs, and Alexis Williams) with a unified theme of salvaged church artifacts and iconography for a gothic yet playful nod to divine spaces. Downstairs, diners sit on church pews from a decommissioned West Texas church; upstairs, a 19th-century organ finds new life as an LED-lit DJ booth for the bar's best dance parties. Outside, a secret, ivy-covered enclave known as the Sanctuary serves cocktails and al fresco dining in a greenhouse-style atrium.
The ecclesiastic theme carries on in both the food and beverage menu, with Italian-inspired fare from chef Chris Gallucio (Michelin-starred Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Gramercy Tavern) and drinks from mixologist Steven Delgado. Signature cocktails are named after the seven deadly sins ("Pride" really does go before a fall, while absinthe and mezcal are the spiritual roots of "Lust"). Gallucio's small "offerings" feature equally sinful indulgences such as blistered shishito peppers and whipped ricotta bruschetta, while the Higher Burger ($5 on Wednesdays) is good for the soul if not for the heart. Don't skip the delectable drunken apple fritters, either.
All of this is cause enough to stop by any (or every) night of next week's festivities, which will feature food and drink specials as well as unique entertainment in the bar, dining room, and sanctuary. A full lineup of events is below:
- Tuesday, August 16: $1 East Coast oysters, $1 Bubbly all night with music by Eric Bowden from 5 pm-8 pm
- Wednesday, August 17: $1 Sliders, $1 Lone Star from 4 pm until midnight
- Thursday, August 18: complimentary food & drink tastings starting at 4 pm; Revival - 7pm Saxxdoc + Docblust followed by DJ Soleiman and DJ AJ with surprise performances until 2 am
- Friday, August 19: Four Record Friday with When Where What 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm Special Anniversary Edition followed by Good Fridays from 9:30 pm to 2 am featuring Harvey Bombay, Royal NV, and Eli Arbor
- Saturday, August 20: Afterglow Let There Be Light, 6 pm - 2 am featuring Mirror Mirror, Errow, Henry Mora, Ashten Troyy, Hotmessmeesh, Hoodatboy, and Sista Krista
For up-to-date information, follow @HigherGroundATX on social media or visit HigherGroundATX.com.