Ben Craven is a badass behind the bar. Perla’s also rocks. The natural light in there was so clean and beautiful to work with. Here are a few photos from the Meet Your Bartender photo shoot with Mr. Craven. Read the Q&A online at austin360.com. After this article came out, I had a lot of positive feedback from the community, which was really nice. Lots of people respect Ben and think he is one of Austin’s unsung bartending heroes. So cheers to you and your beautiful cocktails, Sir!
Lady Lara Nixon and Tigress owner Pam Prichard are still going strong with the barrel-aged cocktail series. You can read more about the fifth release on Liquid. Here are some additional snapshots from last month’s boozy evening of barrel-aged bliss.
As April comes to a close, I figure it’s the right time to post this issue of b-sides, where I display photos from work shoots that didn’t make the cut for print or online.
For the first issue of the Statesman’s latest publication that debuted this month, Real Magazine, I featured a juicy warm weather concoction from the Crow Bar on South Congress Ave. Here are some of the other cocktails featured at the bar.
Addie Broyles wrote up a great First Look at the new Easy Tiger Bake Shop and Beer Garden, which opened late January. I hit up the media preview night as well, to check out their drinks program.
I suppose I should have expected that it would be a lovely space (based on the upscale diner chic look that it’s sister restaurant, 24 Diner brought to the previous Waterloo Icehouse space on West Sixth), but I will admit I was taken back by exactly how delightful the interior design was.
The interior was designed by local (via Los Angeles) decorator and designer Veronica Koltuniak. Koltuniak also did 24 Diner. I won’t get into too much detail on why everything works so well, because you can read Nicole Villapando’s story on the design on Statesman.com.
The San Antonio Cocktail Conference took place over the last weekend of January, giving me the perfect occasion to finally make the (short) trip down south to check out their cocktail scene. You can read my full critique of the event on Austin360.
In the article, you’ll discover that the gem of the San Antonio cocktail scene is the gorgeous Esquire Tavern, which re-opened this year after a four year hiatus. I could spend days shooting photos in there (the interior design is just so drool-worthy), but due to time restraints, I just had enough time to snap some iphone pics for your viewing pleasure.
What a sassy fox!
I love the vintage saloon feel the bar boasts, with tattered taxidermy perched in most corners, vintage light fixtures jutting out from weary wallpapered walls, and rich wooden booths adding weight and structure to the room.
The cocktails are nothing to laugh at, either. bartender Jesse (above) deftly mixed me up a Piloto Borracho — the drunk pilot — which is a play on the classic Aviation cocktail. Instead of gin, Esquire uses tequila and mezcal. One might think the combination of agave spirits would be overpowering in an otherwise traditionally delicate blend, but I thought the balance was impeccable. A true delight to drink, and perfect to kick off my long drinking streak while in the city.
Sometimes, mistakes precede great discoveries. Or some inspirational bull like that. Basically, I fucked up by scheduling a cocktail photo shoot at an outdoor venue for 5:3a couple of weeks ago. Which otherwise wouldn’t be an issue, except we’re back on “it gets dark unnaturally early” time, and the sun was starting to set as soon as I showed up.
What could have otherwise turned into an epic photography fail and cowardly reschedule, the situation pushed me to work a little harder to capture what I needed. It was a welcome, refreshing challenge. It’s been awhile since I have had to shoot in difficult circumstances, and I think (hope) I did OK with that I had to work with this time around (no tripod, no flash, no sun).
In other news, the drinks you’re feasting your pretty eyes on are the brainchildren of Houston Eaves from Contigo. Houston took over the bar manager position after working at the East Side Show Room for some time. You can read more about the drinks and find recipes on Liquid.
Bored. Played with Photoshop. Volstead does looks this vintage in real life, though. Read about Justin’s cocktails and see recipes on Liquid. Cheers.
Last week was one of my most favorite holidays…er…events of the year. Bourbon, BBQ and Bluegrass at Stubb’s, hosted by the local chapter of the USBG. You can check out the full recap on Liquid, and here are some additional photos I couldn’t squeeze into the post for your visual feasting.
So I visited LOTS of bars while in the Bay Area last winter. Not all could fit into the print edition, nor could all of my favorites fit on my professional blog either. So in an effort to continue to pump out content, I figured why not post the stragglers here? Or at least this one, because I loved the bar so much.
From the street, Rye emits a mysterious vibe. It’s quiet, sleek and unassuming amidst the chaos and general sketchiness of the Tenderloin district. I checked it out during happy hour, when the bar was virtually empty. Low-key lounge music echoed around the loft-life space, creating a dark and sexy ambiance. Overall, great atmosphere.
While I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with bartender Marco Dionysis (cool dude, creator of the Chartreuse Swizzle!), the drinks were kind of hit or miss for me. I really liked the Birds of a Feather, which contained rye, Anejo tequila, Carpano, maraschino, and orange bitters. It was rad how all the flavors balanced.
Would I go back? Absolutely. I loved the place, and while some of the drinks didn’t sit well with me, the majority of the ones I tried were solid enough to make it a regular haunt. If only I lived in San Francisco….
I’ve been waiting to share my San Francisco cocktail photos with you for some time now. My big travel story comes out in the Statesman this Sunday. Pick up a copy, and feel the magic of reading it on paper. Or, cheat and read it here on Statesman.com. There’s also a few bars that didn’t make it into the print edition, which you can read about here on Liquid Austin.
Stay tuned! I have even more pics and thoughts to post here. Whether you like it, or not.