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Jul 9, 2007 03:59 PM

Martini in Austin?

Not sure if this meets the board criteria, but since I am specifically looking in Austin, and since I will be eating the olives, I am putting out a request for an excellent martini somewhere in Austin.

A martini to me is gin, vermouth and olives - shaken or stirred enough to get cold, served up in a stemmed glass with a triangular bowl. No fruity stuff, no vodka, not dirty, not Mexican. My gin of preference is Boodles, but Bombay (not Sapphire) or another with "oomph" can send me over the moon. My vermouth of choice is Noilly Prat - too soft for some, but since I like to taste the vermouth (none of this "waving the bottle near the glass" nonsense) I prefer a more understated counterpart to a good, complex gin. I like my olives big, briny and unstuffed. To make a great martini, the bartender has to feel it.

So - any recommendations for a well mixed classic martini in town?

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  1. my husband used to love a dry gin martini from Trudy's. (stay away from the food!) they would swirl vermouth in the glass, just to "coat" it, then pour it out. then pour the gin, and it would make this ever-so-thin sheet of ice on the surface that would just break apart and melt as soon as you sipped. and they have good plain green olives, which you can also get an additional bowl of for a little extra.

    1. This really sounds like the search for a good bartender that will make your drink to order.

      1. The Driskill Bar will take care of this for you. For a price, of course.

        1. I have had good martinis at Vespaio, although I think the olives were stuffed.

          1. Thanks all - I think the Driskill Bar fits the bill for this yen - thanks TAF. I will also try to deviate from my normal negroni next time I am at Vespaio - they really make a great one, so I bet the martinis are great too - thanks TroyTempest. Nirv Rush - I'm not normally a big fan of Trudy's, but this gives me a good reason to go along next time it is the choice of the bunch. Thanks again!

            5 Replies
            1. re: saticoy

              The Peacock is the most serious cocktail establishment in town, though a martini is fairly simple and any "old guard" place like the aforementioned Driskill should be able to serve you properly. I'm sure the many other hotel bars like Four Seasons, Intercontinental S.F. Austin, Mansion at Judges Hill will be fine, but expensive.

              Other places with decent cocktails are The Belmont and Fino.

              All these pale in comparison with what is available in NY, SF or New Orleans of course. The Peacock wouldn't even be in the top twenty in NYC.

              1. re: Mersenne twister

                Wellllll OK! An eastside neighborhood bar that is a serious cocktail establishment may be just what the doctor ordered. This is precisely what I miss - in SF you don't have to go to the Top of the Mark to get a great martini...there are neighborhood spots with panache and serious cocktail ethos. Thanks for the other recs too...!


                I can't wait for Thursday's cocktail hour!

                1. re: saticoy

                  What about Cedar Street (next to Saba), they have a pretty good martini, too.

                2. re: Mersenne twister

                  If you decide on The Peacock, go early. As they get busier in the evenings, the service goes downhill quickly. During a recent happy hour with friends, 3 out of 10 told horror stories about stressed out staff acting so bad that they refuse to go back. One of the best martini's I've had was at The Roaring Fork, but other eastside neighborhood places you might try are Longbranch Saloon on 12th, or my favorite, the bar area in Vivo's on Manor.

                  1. re: Alan Sudo

                    Does Intercontinental SFA have its own bar, or is it just Roaring Fork's?

                    I think you mean Longbranch Inn. It's much more of a beer bar. I ordered an Old Fashion there once that had orange juice in it. I wouldn't order anything more complex than a gin & tonic there.

                    For the best cocktails on the East Side, I must say that they are at my house!