Summer Drinks: Happy Hour at The Hightower

Looking to mix up your happy hour routine? I recommend venturing a stone’s throw east of I-35 to check out The Hightower. With its sleek interior and casual covered patio, it’s got the right atmosphere for a post-work spot well into the hot summer months.

The Hightower has a solid list of (very good) craft cocktails – it is a new spot in Austin, after all – but it’s also a place one can order a vodka soda without fear of a side eye. There is also a nice selection of wines by the glass, though the beer selection could use some work.

Corpse Reviver #2

Corpse Reviver #2

As for menu options, The Hightower offers a number of shareable small plates in addition to a handful of larger entrées. I recommend starting with at least one order of the fried chickpeas coated in a spicy-sweet blend of seasonings. Served on top of an orange peel aioli, the sauce acts as a citrusy glaze when tossed with the warm chickpeas.

 

Fried Chickpeas - $4.00 reg/$2.50 at HH

Fried Chickpeas – $4.00 reg/$2.50 at HH

The blistered green beans ranked a close second to the chickpeas. The dish’s creamy honey mustard sauce and crispy leeks was reminiscent of a green bean casserole in the best kind of way. Thanks to the addition of farro and candied pecans, it’s a hearty than expected small plate offering, especially under $7.

Blistered Green Beans - $6.50

Blistered Green Beans – $6.50

 

Though I am suffering from a case of fried Brussels sprouts fatigue (#firstworldproblems), I can’t deny that the Hightower’s combination of peanut butter and golden raisins added something a little extra tasty and unexpected, if you’re into that sort of thing (which my friends absolutely were).

 

Brussels Sprouts - $5.00 reg/$3 at HH

Brussels Sprouts – $5.00 reg/$3 at HH

Another solid starter was the smoked red fish spread served with crostinis. A bit too fishy on its own, the addition of the sweet caper jam creates a perfect balance of flavors. A self-professed ceviche elitist, I was less enthused about the Hightower’s rendition. Though the combination of blood orange, fennel and popcorn sounded promising, it didn’t deliver quite like our other dishes did.

 

Smoked Red Fish Spread $6.50 reg/$3.50 at HH

Smoked Red Fish Spread $6.50 reg/$3.50 at HH

With the flurry of speakeasy-esque and other trendy restaurant/bar openings around town, it’s almost surprising and certainly refreshing to venture into a simple, unpretentious new spot like The Hightower. Don’t get me wrong; I am a fan of all the bells and whistles, but there is something to be said for just a straightforward bar scene. Granted, The Hightower isn’t exactly the Texas Chili Parlor, especially when it comes to prices, but for a place with decent food, solid drinks, and a good atmosphere, it more than fits the bill.

Ceviche - $9 reg/$6.50 HH

Ceviche – $9 reg/$6.50 HH

 

The Hightower is located at 1209 E 7th Street, Austin, TX 78702. Visit during 5-7pm Tuesday through Friday, 3-7pm Saturday, and 3pm-close on Sunday to enjoy specials like $5 cocktails and $2 Lone Stars.

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