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[Austin] Cocktail bars


Kent Wang
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I haven't had much opportunity to frequent the bars in Austin yet. I'm looking for a place that has a well-crafted cocktail menu -- and not one filled with those day-glow, super-sweet, fruity "martinis". Something like New York's Pegu Club but, you know, in Austin.

I've been to the Driskill's bar. It's quite expensive and though they don't really have much a cocktail menu, they do have an extensive whiskey, tequila and rum list. The atmosphere, of course, is lovely though perhaps too formal and stuffy for certain occasions.

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You might want to try Club de Ville, on Red River. They don't have a cocktail menu, per se, but they do have an extensive selection and I've never been able to stump the bar tender. Then again, maybe I've just been lucky.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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my favorite cocktail bar in town, by far, is the Peacock. if you like classic cocktails that highlight the hootch, like an old-fashioned, a manhattan, or a martini, this is the place.

they make my drinks just right.

you can find it on pedernales between e. 5th and e. 6th.

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also, for a generous pour of booker's [or one of many other boozes], try Casino el Camino on 6th street. i wouldn't ask one of the just-on-the-happy-side-of-surly bartenders for a cocktail beyond a highball, but they are consistently heavy pourers.

NB: The Casino el Camino has the best hamburger in austin.

Edited by hankston (log)
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i second missamy for club deville. they make good dirty gin martinis. the bar at chinatown (above musashino) makes excellent martinis as well.

i don't know of any place that doesn't offer the fruity drinks. i've been to the 1920s bar several times with a friend that frequents it. it is considered a 'gay friendly' bar and it seems they pride themselves on being a martini bar with extensive concoctions. i've never been disappointed.

guero's has the best margaritas in town i think. not sweet, which is how i like them. if you want to get hammered, go monday night to Jorge's on Hancock and Burnet. they have $3 happy hour margaritas that will punch you in the face. for some reason the frozen are stronger than the rocks... they are like rocket fuel and will do you in.

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I *love* the Peacock, but I have watched in horror on multiple occasions as the bartender poured my Manhattan into a glass full of ice and handed it to me. They are all really nice people, they just don't know that much about cocktails.

I am hearing good things about the Belmont. I've been too busy to check it out myself...

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blanche,

i'm sorry to see that, though i have had a similar experience there. when i was confronted with an ice-bound manhattan, i said, "oh, no, i ordered a manhattan." i was informed that the manhattan/rocks was the way most of the clientele ordered, but was made an up manhattan promptly. for what it's worth, that was the 10th or 11th manhattan i had enjoyed at the peacock and the first time it had come on the rocks. since then, i haven't run into that issue.

one key element, i imagine, is that i am almost exclusively a post-work patron. it is not uncommon for me to be the only person in the bar or one of less than 10 on a friday. also, i usually have Slim as my bartender, and she always makes the drinks just right. luck of the draw, i guess. i have had a bartender there who didn't seem to care, but most of the bartenders i've had there were very attentive to the quality of the drink they served. one, i don't know her name, would even take a bar straw and suction a little of the drink up to taste before she served it.

anyway, long rambling blurb to say: give the peacock's cocktail knowledge and skill another chance. go when they aren't all hipped to the gills to have some of the cleanest classic cocktails in town.

also, i see that they are doing a cocktail of the week now. this week's is the rob roy.

viva!

hank

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also, regarding austin cocktail joints and manhattans: a visit to the longbranch, also on the east side, yielded a manhattan with cointreau instead of vermouth. not good, not at all. make sure you mention to your longbranch bartender that you want that manhattan sans cointreau. even better, order a martini and avoid the insanity.

NB: East Side Pies, best pizza in austin, will deliver to Longbranch drinkers.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

This is Mike Capochiano from the Peacock. Thank you for all the king comments about The Peacock.

I saw this thread and I wanted to update Austin eGullet members about The Peacock. We have gone through many changes in the past few months and more are coming. If this is inappropriate to post, please let me know.

Manhattans: I was a little surprised that Blanche and hangston got Manhattans on the rocks without asking for them. I spoke to some other bartenders and, yes, a lot of people want their Manhattan on the rocks. Still, the customer should be asked. We are going to ask from now how you want your Manhattan made. I always go for straight up. Also, The Belmont makes a good Manhattan.

Patio: Our patio is still closed. You can still go out there to smoke, put you can't bring your drink. We are in talks with the landlord about extending the lease so it will make sense for us to rebuild the patio legally and have enough time to recoup our costs.

Music: We're no longer booking bands (except, perhaps on rare occasions) and any DJs will keep the volume down to a level where people can carry on conversations. We want to be the best cocktail bar in town and loud or off-putting music does not help us in that goal. We'll have a specific genre of music each night from about 8 to midnight. Details are on our new (!) web site. Also, the jukebox is gone.

Cocktail of the Week: It's coming back as the "Cocktail of the Month" now. You can get on our e-mail list to be notified of each new Cocktail of the Month.

Bartender Skill: Slim's been working with the staff to make sure cocktails are made correctly and consistently. We have a great staff of experienced bartenders now (Slim, Carmen, Chris, Amy). I'm pretty sure the bartender who "didn't seem to care" about hankston's drink has been let go.

New Furniture: We're getting some high tables and chairs so customers won't feel crowded in if the bar has lots of customers. Also, we're getting some new low tables that will make it easier to sit around and have a conversation. Our original interior decorator, Joel Mozersky, is helping with the changes.

New Hours: We now open at 5 PM Wed.-Fri. and 7 PM Sat.-Tues.

Happy Hour: It's extended to 9 PM each night.

I hope I haven't been to long winded. In short, we're going to be more about the cocktail and less about the hip and trendy.

Also, Fino makes great cocktails, some of the best in Austin.

If you

Edited by Michael Capochiano (log)
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This is Mike Capochiano from the Peacock. Thank you for all the king comments about The Peacock.

I saw this thread and I wanted to update Austin eGullet members about The Peacock. We have gone through many changes in the past few months and more are coming. If this is inappropriate to post, please let me know.

Manhattans:  I was a little surprised that Blanche and hangston got Manhattans on the rocks without asking for them. I spoke to some other bartenders and, yes, a lot of people want their Manhattan on the rocks. Still, the customer should be asked. We are going to ask from now how you want your Manhattan made. I always go for straight up. Also, The Belmont makes a good Manhattan.

Patio: Our patio is still closed. You can still go out there to smoke, put you can't bring your drink. We are in talks with the landlord about extending the lease so it will make sense for us to rebuild the patio legally and have enough time to recoup our costs.

Music:  We're no longer booking bands (except, perhaps on rare occasions) and any DJs will keep the volume down to a level where people can carry on conversations. We want to be the best cocktail bar in town and loud or off-putting music does not help us in that goal. We'll have a specific genre of music each night from about 8 to midnight. Details are on our new (!) web site. Also, the jukebox is gone.

Cocktail of the Week:  It's coming back as the "Cocktail of the Month" now. You can get on our e-mail list to be notified of each new Cocktail of the Month.

Bartender Skill: Slim's been working with the staff to make sure cocktails are made correctly and consistently. We have a great staff of experienced bartenders now (Slim, Carmen, Chris, Amy). I'm pretty sure the bartender who "didn't seem to care" about hankston's drink has been let go.

New Furniture:  We're getting some high tables and chairs so customers won't feel crowded in if the bar has lots of customers. Also, we're getting some new low tables that will make it easier to sit around and have a conversation. Our original interior decorator, Joel Mozersky, is helping with the changes.

New Hours:  We now open at 5 PM Wed.-Fri. and 7 PM Sat.-Tues.

Happy Hour:  It's extended to 9 PM each night.

I hope I haven't been to long winded. In short, we're going to be more about the cocktail and less about the hip and trendy.

Also, Fino makes great cocktails, some of the best in Austin.

If you

this is great news---I look forward to getting back to the Peacock. I must say I wasn't a huge fan of the live music, (just because we had to move the last time I was there to accomodate them).

thanks for posting!

Challah back!

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Terrific news, Mike. Now that I live just a few blocks away, I will be there even more often than before.

Your liquor selection could also use a bit of expansion, especially a bolder bourbon like Wild Turkey 101 or Knob Creek in place of Bulliet. Wild Turkey Rye would be even better.

I agree about Fino, they even have the Sazerac cocktail on their menu.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you, Kent. I'll talk to our head bartender, Slim, about our bourbon selection.

I've always loved a scoop of good vanilla ice cream topped w/Maker's Mark. Maybe Amy's need's a mixed drink license.

I'd appreciate any more Peacock comments, positive or negative, from eGullet members.

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I went by that following evening (ever true to my word), and I had the best dirty Stoli martini I've ever had (beating out the Four Seasons here in town, hands-down). I was there late Saturday, so it was very busy and full of hipsters, and the bartenders didn't seem fazed at all. Definitely going to be a re-visit locale for me, although I think I'd prefer it for an after-work spot, in order to get a little more quiet atmosphere.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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