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Cocktails in Austin

I want to acquaint myself with some of the classics: Old Fashioned, Bronx, Sidecar, etc. Where do you recommend? I'd prefer a bar setting rather than a restaurant to save a little money. Small plates would be fine though and probably necessary. A place that can make a well crafted Martini, Negroni, Ramos Gin Fizz and the like. Thanks and bottoms up.

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    1. I have always thought the Negroni's at Vespaio were good. I once ordered a French 75 and although they had never heard of it, they looked it up and made one for me. I was perplexed, however, when a waiter told me they could not make a Mojito. He said they specialized in " American" drinks, which is a crock.

      1 Reply
      1. re: singlemalt

        getting easier and easier to find serious cocktails in Austin. I second PECHE and the bartenders at Annies on Congress and 4th also know what they are doing. Cheers!

      2. The bartender at FINO is simply the best in town.....FINO also offers the small plates you're looking for.

        1. Though not as chi-chi, the Good Knight on E. Sixth is doing a bang up job on the old standards. Bartender Billy claims to have a huge repertoire that doesn't show up on the menu, so don't be afraid to ask.

          5 Replies
          1. re: poryorick

            I like billy a lot, but he needs some practice. He is creative and fun behind the bar, but he's made some serious blunders when making some standard drinks. the food and atmosphere there are great. in a year or so he might be up there as one of austin's great bartenders.

            but first he needs to quit putting ice in the sazerac.

            1. re: ieathereforeiam

              I'm a disciple of his Old Fashioned, and I think the June Rose is one of the best summer drinks I've ever had. I haven't made my way around the entire menu, but I've been pretty happy with most everything I've had there.

              Have you given East Side Showroom a go, yet?

              1. re: poryorick

                yeah. i actualy hesitated on writing about it for two reasons 1) I didn't want it to get so crowded I couldn't eat there and 2) the bartending was so bad I didn't want it to distract from what would otherwise be a stellar review. Great GD food!

                1. re: ieathereforeiam

                  We thought we'd pop in for some apps and drinks, and the food was definitely heads above the drinks (and at $8-12 per glass, that's a tough pill). I did have their Pisco Fuego, and it was pretty damn good (bruleed egg white froth and angostura on top). I'm certainly ready to give their dinner a try.

            2. re: poryorick

              Also behind The Good Knight, but I haven't been to a lot of the high-end places.

            3. I love fino for drinks. Sit at the bar. Both bartenders are fantastic - creative, professional and well versed in both classical as well as unique cocktails. What ever you do, order the fried olives! Even if it sounds strange, they are the most additive food that I have eaten here in Austin and they are only $2/bowl at happy hour.

              3 Replies
              1. re: wendella

                Interestint! We were at Fino for lunch one day and the waiter gave us a sample of fried olives to try. Coudn't stand them. I will agree that they have a good bar and make good drinks. Love the place

                But let's talk polarities. The most sterile bar in town, if it is fair to call it a bar, is at Cover 3 or 4 or whatever.

                1. re: singlemalt

                  not sure one could do better pound-for-pound than Four Seasons bar. Especially true if you widen scope of classics to include quintessentially Austinian Mexican Martini, which is terrific at 4 seasons.

                  I'd mention Belmont on 6th also for the "classics."

                  1. re: ricodanles

                    Can a Four Seasons ever do wrong?? Go to Annie's on Congress IF you need a break on the wallet. Want to LOVE Eastside Showroom, BUT two things yucky for me; eastside o'town = can't walk there and I prefer vodka (gluten allergy) and their menu is not vodka heavy. Will try it again. AND love Fino and miss Starlite!