Even though Austinites didn’t exactly flood the streets to enjoy all the festivities surrounding the arrival of Formula One to the new Circuit of the Americas track last year, Michael Creecy is hoping to rev up some interest in the race before its return in November.
As general manager of the Liberty Tavern, the dining spot attached to the downtown Hilton, Creecy helped to bring F1 watch parties there that started at the end of August.
“Other bars and restaurants around town have become the go-to places to watch a sport, but no one’s really broadcasting F1 yet,” Creecy said. “We’re going to try and be the place for that.”
With ESPN teaming up with the tavern — the Horn and Speed City broadcasters will be present at each Sunday afternoon event — and 14 big-screen TVs displaying each race, there’s a good chance that Creecy’s goal will happen, if not right away. He’s already been bringing in sports fans’ favorite drink, beer, to the space that was revamped last year to become less of a breakfast nook and more of a casual tavern, a noticeable contrast to Liberty’s finer dining neighbor Finn & Porter (which is all about steaks, seafood and sushi).
A craft beer fan, he’s in charge of maintaining the 12 beer taps and 20 bottled beers that Liberty has to offer. Like other beer-centric eateries Easy Tiger and Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden, on East Sixth Street and Rainey Street, respectively, many of the available beers come from much-desired out-of-state breweries, Creecy said: Stone, Founders, Dogfish Head and Left Hand are all regulars on the menu.
A couple of the F1 parties will have beer specials related to the host country of that day’s race: $2.50 Kirins on Oct. 13 for the Japanese Grand Prix and $2 Lone Stars on Nov. 17 for the Grand Prix here. He said he’s not sure what the turnout will be that weekend because “last year locals ran scared, and downtown Austin was a ghost town.”
Craft beer might be a crucial part of his day job, but that doesn’t mean he avoids it during his free time. In fact, Easy Tiger is one of his favorite hangouts. The bulk foods store on Manor Road, in.gredients, is also a preferred drinking spot because he and his wife are able to relax with a cold one while their 15-month-old son, Henry, can climb and jump around the playscape that the grocery store keeps in its outdoor lot.
If he wants a craft cocktail (he was classically trained in the art of making them), he’ll visit East Sixth Street’s East Side Showroom, a restaurant designed as an homage to the speakeasy days of Prohibition America with all classic cocktails on the menu. Creecy likes to order off-menu because the bartenders are so good, they can create exactly what he’s craving.
Hillside Farmacy on East 11th Street, the current project of former Showroom chef Sonya Coté, and Lenoir on South First Street are his top recommendations for dining out. Lenoir in particular, he said, offers high-quality meals at a reasonable price: three courses for $35.
But if Creecy doesn’t feel like going far when he returns from a long work day, he’s also got the new H-E-B at Mueller, fairly close to his Windsor Park home, or neighborhood bar Nomad on Corona Drive to satisfy his beer fix. He said he was very impressed with H-E-B’s beer selection, which had a variety of stouts available when it first opened in July.
The next F1 watch party at the Liberty Tavern kicks off at noon Sunday.
Each week we’ll bring you recommendations from notable Austinites on what you just have to check out — from insider tips on where to catch the best live music to where to find the best Tex-Mex. To recommend someone to feature, email Arianna Auber at email@example.com.