You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

breaking news

FORECAST: ‘Critical’ fire danger in Hill Country, ‘elevated’ danger in Austin this afternoon

Cocktail bar Backbeat is finding a relaxed rhythm on South Lamar


Backbeat, the second cocktail bar of husband-and-wife team Michael and Jessica Sanders, is now open and finding its rhythm along a bustling section of South Lamar Boulevard.

Backbeat, sister bar to Drink.Well, was announced last fall as one of the first standalone bars on South Lamar, where so many of the watering holes are tied to restaurants. Its 2,200 square feet include a rooftop patio with views of downtown Austin, and with that size and status, the Sanders faced a tall order: provide a well-defined, well-rounded cocktail menu to lure locals in.

That’s exactly what they’ve done with a program that brilliantly divides each of the drinks into three sections: Upbeat, Downbeat and Offbeat.

Upbeat cocktails feature “vibrant spirits, often shaken with citrus, fresh herbs or seasonal fruit,” according to a news release. “Exemplifying the Upbeat spirits is Backbeat’s namesake cocktail, a bright and herbaceous variation of the classic Southside cocktail with gin and fresh-pressed celery juice.”

The Downbeat cocktails, on the other hand, are going to be more booze-forward with more robust flavors and “brooding spirits.” These drinks include the Pick-Up Artist, a bittered bourbon julep in which “the bracing zing of Fernet-Branca is balanced with coffee-infused demerara, cinnamon and a zesty dash of cardamom bitters,” as the menu notes. (The menu, it’s worth noting, is written like poetry for cocktail lovers.)

And the Offbeat cocktails, as you might guess, are going to be the oddballs, the ones that don’t fit cleanly into a category: the dessert drinks and tiki offerings the Sanders couldn’t leave off the menu. One such example is the Neon Jungle, a “smoky and electric mezcal and Jamaican rum swizzle balanced with coconut-washed bianco vermouth, fresh pressed pineapple, lime, island spices and blue curaçao,” according to the menu.

(The best part of the Neon Jungle is the straw, but it’s well worth the surprise to find out why for yourself.)

Plus, the bar has six craft beers on tap and 10 wines by the glass — and a rotating champagne program that showcases a single grower-producer champagne house at a time, starting with Jean Vesselle.

These can all be enjoyed in a space with warm colors and natural lighting — and that irresistible rooftop deck, of course.

Backbeat also has a menu of small bites, such as chicken liver mousse and a pate melt with house pork, chicken pate and melted gruyere. With so much to offer, the bar is hoping to become South Austin residents’ go-to spot for fun.

“South Lamar has always been an important cultural destination in Austin and, over time, has become a culinary one as well,” Michael Sanders said in the news release. “We are looking forward to Backbeat being a spirited part of this community and the vibrant social scene here.”

Like they’ve done with Drink.Well, the Sanders are giving Backbeat a big heart, too. The Moon Bridge cocktail on the Upbeat menu, a Japanese whisky highball with verdehlo madeira, spiced tonic and sparkling water, is an homage to Isamu Taniguchi, who single-handedly built the Japanese Garden in the 1960s that’s now preserved at Zilker Botanical Garden. To honor his work, the Sanders are donating a dollar of the proceeds of each Moon Bridge purchase to the Zilker gardens.

“We just think what he did deserves recognition,” Jessica Sanders said during an opening event at the bar.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360

The rustic French dessert that one-ups a pancake - and it's healthful
The rustic French dessert that one-ups a pancake - and it's healthful

Like some French-country dishes, a clafoutis (klah-foo-TEE) sounds like something fancy and complicated, but it's actually homey and easy to make. The fruit-laden dessert pancake is elegant in its simplicity - glorious, golden brown and sugar dusted. And nearly all it entails is making a basic pancake batter, pouring it into a pie dish, adding the...
Mediterranean diet is healthy. But is it Mediterranean?
Mediterranean diet is healthy. But is it Mediterranean?

There is the Mediterranean Diet. And then there is the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet is said to be one of the most healthful in the world. It emphasizes fruit and vegetables while minimizing red meat. It features plenty of fish, along with poultry. It uses oil instead of butter, and herbs and spices instead of salt. It encourages exercise...
One-pot meals pack a lot of flavor in a single dish
One-pot meals pack a lot of flavor in a single dish

“Bowls!” is the title that shouted at me one morning when I got to work, where cookbooks seem to magically appear at my desk overnight. The new book by Molly Watson perfectly explains why one-pot dishes and meals have become all the rage. They’ve got everything in a meal in one place. Somehow, throwing together a mish-mash of flavorful...
Tasty menu helped bring Quality Distribution's headquarters to Tampa

I'm not sure whether to credit the mushroom ricotta stuffed paccheri pasta or wild boar lasagna at the Cena restaurant. Such tasty Italian fare, it can be argued, is at least one good reason a billion-dollar company based in a Tampa office park near Interstate 75 committed to relocate its headquarters and 250 employees to downtown Tampa's Channel District...
The hot new trend in food is literal garbage
The hot new trend in food is literal garbage

Flour milled from discarded coffee fruit. Chips made from juice pulp. Vodka distilled from strawberries that nobody seems to want. At one point not so long ago, such waste-based products were novelties for the Whole Foods set. But in the past three years, there's been an explosion in the number of start-ups making products from food waste, according...
More Stories