Drink up at these upcoming bars and breweries in 2016


The newly opened Small Victory might be tiny, but it’s starting out big by being the first bar to launch in the new year.

Working with limited space and lots of ideas, co-founder Josh Loving — a longtime Austin bartender who’s shaken up drinks at venerated places like Half Step, Midnight Cowboy and Weather Up — has transformed 800 square feet at the corner of Congress Avenue and Seventh Street into a veritable cocktail mecca, offering classics like the daiquiri, the Old Fashioned and the Sidecar.

Small Victory, at 108 E. Seventh St., is opened 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday in a cozy, dimly lit room with booth seating and a long bar.

But it’s not the only spot that will start serving up booze this year. Here are other notable openings you’ll want to watch out for.

Backbeat, 1300 S. Lamar Blvd. In March, husband-and-wife team Michael and Jessica Sanders aim to open their much larger, two-story follow-up to Drink.Well, a North Loop staple. Backbeat, coming to a section of town chock-full of restaurants but almost no standalone bars, will encompass a cocktail lounge on the first level and a rooftop patio on the second — with irresistible views of the downtown Austin skyline to boot.

The Sanderses are naming their new spot after a musical term to hint at the natural rhythm that develops during a bustling night at the bar. In their capable hands, it’s a concept that sings.

Bars at the Rock Rose, 11500 Rock Rose. The new phase of the ever-expanding Domain is going to include lots of options for nightlife fun, including four new bars from the Union Venture Group in one building. These include 77 Degrees, a rooftop bar focusing on rum cocktails, and Jack & Ginger’s Irish Pub, which will offer comfort food and 82 beers on tap.

This Domain development will also have additional locations of the Dogwood, Lavaca Street Bar and the Kung Fu Saloon coming soon.

Live Oak Brewing, 1615 Crozier Lane. In a move nearly 20 years in the making, Live Oak Brewing is close to opening in a 22,000-square-foot facility across the street from the Austin airport. The transition to this far bigger spot will allow the brewery to double production capacity and, perhaps most importantly to Austinites, to get canned brews into the marketplace. Soon, look for striking yellow, black and white cans of the brewery’s beloved Hefeweizen and Pilz.

Shortly after that, you’ll be able to plan a trip to the brewery’s taproom, which should be open by the end of this month from noon to 10 p.m. daily. It’ll make for a perfect day trip: In addition to plenty of indoor seating, Live Oak offers an outdoor area where, one day, nine holes of disc golf and other activities will keep you captivated.

Oskar Blues, 10420 Metric Blvd. The brewery already in Colorado and North Carolina is bringing an additional location to Austin in April: a 55,000-square-foot space that will host a production facility, taproom and live music venue. It’ll brew up all the canned mainstays, from Dale’s Pale Ale to Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Old Chub Scotch Ale, for the Texas market.

And since it’s a brewery, it can sell crowlers, those oversized aluminum growlers that are at the center of a lawsuit between Cuvee Coffee Bar and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Oskar Blues, in fact, invented the recyclable vessel.

The Brewer’s Table, 4715 E. Fifth St. With plans to put equal focus on both the food and the beer, owner Jake Maddux is offering something Austin hasn’t quite had before with the Brewer’s Table, coming this summer.

In a Quonset-style hut in East Austin, the restaurant-brewery (a term he prefers over “brewpub”) will feature food from Foreign & Domestic founder Ned Elliott and beer from Maddux. Both will center around the use of wood: wood-fermented lagers made from American oak foeders and puncheons and wood-fired cuisine from an 8 1/2-foot fire pit grill. The Brewer’s Table will also have 30 guest beers on tap, a kid’s play area, and indoor and outdoor seating.

Plus, nanobrewery Oddwood Ales is moving out of Adelbert’s to brew in its own space at Airport Boulevard and Manor Road. Friends & Allies, founded by alums of Thirsty Planet, South Austin Brewery and Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, is hoping to become your best buddy at Springdale Road and Airport Boulevard. And St. Elmo Brewing, from former Austin Beerworks employees, is opening this summer off South Congress and U.S. 290 with beers that will include a pale ale, a stout and a kolsch.

East Austin favorite Hops & Grain also has something new to offer: a new facility at FM 969 and Texas 130 that will help the brewery focus on its barrel-aged and sour programs.


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