In cities across Texas, the craft cocktail scene continues to evolve as mixologists and bar owners come up with concepts that appeal to savvy customers. Just look at these three new hot spots in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Each has its own vibe, philosophy, and theme. But they share a common goal: to serve you some damn good drinks.
The ambience at this elegantly edgy bar, inside downtown’s historic Brewster Building, oozes decadence and decay—in the best way. Opened in April by Mike Raymond, known for nearby whiskey haven Reserve 101, and bartender Michael Neff, Cottonmouth pays homage to the rock scene of seventies New York with velveteen seats, red lighting, and artwork depicting musicians, from original paintings by Raymond to the club’s namesake drink, made with house-blended whiskey and topped with an image (like a visage of Bowie or Debbie Harry) created with edible ink on rice paper. It’s one of many concoctions served with a treat, like a Polaroid or a slip of paper with words of inspiration. We dig.
The nearest beach may be several hours away, but don’t let that stop you from ordering a tropical drink in this paradise of vibrant pastels and palm fronds (all very Miami Vice), which opened in August. Pick from one of bar manager JR Mocanu’s three punch bowls, or go with the classic piña colada. How could you resist fruity delights with names like Spa Day With Bae and Sunburnt in Tulum, alongside kicky bar bites, like a grilled cheese with kimchi?
Stay Golden Social House, which was razed to make way for development in the Pearl area, lives on at this new iteration from celebrated bartender-owner Jeret Peña. You’ll still find a Game of Thrones theme in affordable $8 house cocktails like A Girl Has No Name, a combination of fernet, rum, cold brew, and sherry whipped cream. It’s the casual counterpoint to Peña’s sophisticated bar the Brooklynite, which will relocate next to Still Golden early next year.
This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Stirring Things Up.” Subscribe today.