SMALL VICTORY: MY FAV ATX “HIDDEN” BAR
Small Victory indeed! Located on the second floor of an East 7th Street multi-level downtown Austin parking garage directly across the street from the historic Driskill Bar entrance, SV is a cool find. If you can find the glass door with the little signage on it your half way there. Open, climb the short stairs, and enter through the wooden door to a dimly lit “speakeasy.” Very intimate, skinny, long bar with bench seating on the opposite side. They have masterfully utilized every inch of the 800 sq ft space. This once daytime greasy burger joint (for those in the know, this used to be Mike’s) was transformed into a casual meets swanky cocktail bar with blue velvet seating, exposed concrete columns that stand after several decades, and they just happen to have some of the best mixologists in all of Austin. Having been open since January 4th 2016, I’m often a bit surprised at how many Austinites aren’t familiar with SV…so I somewhat wickedly wanted to keep it all to myself [insert maniacal laughter here]; however, I also want them to have the best success (not that their struggling) and also make it a destination for visitors.
The emphasis at SV is on creating traditional, signature, and creative cocktails. [Select wine and beer also available.] Order directly from their menu or chat with the barkeep and accept recommendations on your preference for libations and you will not be disappointed. Watching them create each masterpiece is worth the trip alone: all of the little bottles of bitters, oils, house-made syrups, etc. makes for a very fascinating, mad scientist-esque procedure resulting in a delightfully concocted drink with the greatest finesse. If you are feeling a little more nostalgic and are with a larger group, don’t pass on ordering the Philadelphia Fish House Punch: a magical mix of brandys, rum, liquor, juice, and sugar served in an elegant bowl and glassware is sure to put a smile on your face.
As an extra special touch, SV has a Clinebell machine that makes massive ice blocks and the staff meticulously cut and chip them into huge cubes, square bars, and circles…by hand. More entertainment at the bar! This is sadly becoming a lost art (think of some top NYC or Tokyo joints). There are only two other places in Austin that I can think of who go to such measures to make sure your drink is 100% perfect, all the way down to the ice. Once you’ve experienced the proper pour and had the privilege of not being forced to indulge in a watered down drink or one that quickly loses its effervescence, you will understand why the ice is so important. Plus, frankly, it’s just neato.
There are a few other “hidden” bars in the ATX; however, as you might have noticed SV easily won me over with the great ambiance and amazing drinks…but they also offer something the others don’t: a very respectable, highly quality menu of charcuterie and cheeses served on beautiful china. The perfect accompaniment to your libations and a great way to start or end a night in downtown. Maybe I’ll see you there! Cheers!
108 E 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Mon-Sat from 5pm-2am
Daily from 5-8pm; closed Sundays
Paid street, lot, or garage
*For private event inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org