City Guide: CU29 Cocktail Bar

Tucked away on Congress Avenue, between Seventh and Eighth Streets in downtown Austin, sits Cu-29 Cocktail Bar. The bar opened within the past year and is a cross between a ’90s martini bar and a handcrafted cocktail bar. What makes this bar unique is that the bartenders enjoy helping their customers create new drinks, based on your tastes—whether it’s adding bacon-infused spirits or one of their many homemade simple syrups.

CU29 Cocktail Bar
720 Brazos St.
(512) 474-0029
Daily 4 p.m.–2 a.m.
http://cu29cocktailbar.com
Happy Hour daily until 6 p.m.
Takes cash and cards

Drink suggestion: The Friendly Stranger ($12) and a deconstructed rum old-fashioned ($12)

The CU29 Cocktail Bar venture is a collaboration between the owners of SoHo Wine and Martini Bar and Waxy O’Connor’s Irish Pub in San Antonio, to bring an East coast flair mixed with the relaxed vibe of the South.

With a dark interior and floor to ceiling windows in front, the bar side has flashes of copper drawing your eye in. Across from the bar are booths against a red brick wall. There are also a few floating tables and plenty of seating at the bar with candles for a little lighting.

In determining your drink, the bartender will be interested in your tastes, such as whether you prefer sweet, spicy, herbal, citrus or fruity. He’ll also want to know what your base spirit is. Hawaiian Rose is one of their over-the-top original drinks, which I would have tried, except that I don’t eat or drink bacon. Try it out and let us know how it goes!

In addition to The Friendly Stranger and a deconstructed old-fashioned, the bartender, Cole, concocted us our own cocktails as well. Antonio’s had Hendrick’s Gin, muddled cucumber, orange bitters, a dash of lemon juice, chili rim and infused Ghost chili pepper vodka. Tiffany’s included vanilla vodka with a bit on cointreau and grandma (“grand marnier“), a dash of milk, handmade whipped cream, cocoa, coco real with cocoa butter, a chocolate almond rim, orange flakes and chocolate on top.

Presentation is key, with lots of flared orange rinds, homemade meringue (made while you watch), lemon peels and chocolate syrups.

Cole’s passion for cocktails shined through and he hires bartenders with energies that match.