Happenings: 2013 Austin Openings, Part I

With so many new restaurants, brewpubs, and bars opening in Austin these days, it is hard to keep up! The last list contained an overwhelming number of new spots to check out, but even that was almost outdated as soon as it was released. For this round of openings, I’m breaking it down by genre. Let’s start Part I the same as every meal should: with a cocktail, beer or glass of wine.


IMG_3283The Chicago House

Not content with only forming his own city or literarily cornering the Red River District eats, ATX Brands CEO Doug Guller (Pelon’s/Bikinis) announced the group’s latest venture The Chicago House will open on January 24. The Chicago House will focus on being downtown’s ‘premier destination for a microbrew’. To accomplish this goal, the bar will serve a rotating selection of craft beers, including hard to find, limited releases from around the country. Along with an extensive craft beer list, the new spot will have a food menu inspired by the Windy City with dishes such as Chicago Vienna hot dogs. A former turn of the (19th) century hotel and boarding house, ATX brands tapped local architecture group DesignTrait to revamp the space. The Chicago House opens on January 24 at 607 Trinity, Austin, TX 78701. Facebook

Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (ABGB)

Former Uncle Billy’s brewmasters have teamed up to launch Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company in South Austin. The brewpub will serve a diverse collection of craft beers brewed in-house alongside hand-tossed pizzas. Hoping to be a neighborhood destination, the new spot will feature live music in a laidback environment.

ABGB will be located at 1305 West Oltorf, Austin TX 78704. http://theabgb.com


In what promises to be the best thing to hit West Campus since trashcan punch East Side Kings opened, Freedmen’s BBQ & bar is now officially open, liquor license in hand. The highly anticipated new spot opened in late 2012 after a painstakingly detailed remodel of its historic space. The spot features creative BBQ and craft cocktail pairings in addition to a drink menu inspired by classic cocktails of yesteryear.

Freedmen’s is located at 2402 San Gabriel, Austin, TX 78705.  Facebook page here.

Moontower Saloon

Moontower Saloon opened late 2012 off of Manchacha Road in South Austin. It’s just as a bar inspired by the city’s famed moontower should be; it is set on a spacious 3-acre lot surrounded by trees and trailer eats, dogs are welcome, there’s live music on the weekends, and parking is a b*tch. Don’t worry about the last note, though. Unlike our city council and downtown, Moontower Saloon hasn’t given up solving the parking woes as they recently broke ground on a new parking area next door.

Moontower Saloon is located at 10212 Manchaca Road, Austin TX 78748. Website


Motel is the forthcoming East MLK craft cocktail bar from award-winning mixologist Adam Bryan. The former Bar Congress barkeep announced plans for his new concept after leaving his post last year.  Don’t let the name fool you; Motel will cater to only nightcaps, not overnights. Though originally set to open last fall, there is no official word, but expect to check in soon.

Motel will be located at 1902 East MLK, Austin TX 78702. http://motelatx.com

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