The trail that runs between I-35 and Airport on Manor Road, is a savvy introduction to some of Austin’s local-centric food & beverage old-timers. This list is dedicated to the Manor Road locations who are enthusiastically paving the way for tomorrow’s pub crawl success story.
Techo – 2201 Manor Road
Enter the traditions of old Mexico on Manor Road’s only rooftop bar, at Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar. Mezcal in Austin is in the cocktail spotlight, now standing in the appropriate lighting deserved of the distinguished distilled spirit of Agave descent. An ancestor of tequila, Mezcal plays with a much smokier palate, and may be a bit of a learning curve. Techo owners Edgar & Christina Torres, constructed their cocktail menu with drinkability in mind, while maintaining the prestige of the agave based spirit. Begin your personal Mezcal journey by tasting your way through the A to Z list of a variety of Mezcal sips. If you opt for a more drinkable, and balanced Mezcal introduction, try the Tepache Mapache. It’s a beautiful blend of Blanco Tequila and Mezcal, Tepache, Pineapple Sage Shrub adding a layer of herbaciousness, and smoked chile dust for additional smoky depth. Be adventurous with your palate while you scope out the beauty of Southern Mexico which has been brought piece by piece to this neighborhood Mezcaleria. After tasting, visit nearby kitchens at Mi Madre’s or School House Pub, both of which are located on the downstairs lot.
Playing host to what is acclaimed to be Austin’s oldest bar top, The Butterfly Bar presents locals with the makings for a perfect night out. Situated behind a wooden fence is an outdoor oasis with plentiful seating, a stage where guests can hula hoop or you might catch a local act, and a whimsical greenhouse strewn with fairy lights. The space is occupied by the hard-hitting trio at The Vortex invites you in and makes you want to stay. Grab a bottle of wine from Butterfly Bar, try a pasta dish made fresh by the Patrizi’s pasta peddlers, and take advantage of the Texas outdoors. Year round the Vortex theater comes alive with creative and unique productions. Dependent upon the season, you can catch neighborhood friendly events at Butterfly Bar, such as Movies Under the Stars where folks gather with blankets and chairs from home, to catch a film and enjoy the night sky. Open daily at 5pm, you can share this neighborhood gem with friends, and this time it really is about more than the cocktail, but it sure is a great place to begin.
It’s quaint and fills with eager students Monday through Saturday who arrive with friends in tow and lesson plans which include fun and frolicking. First lesson at the School of Hard Knocks, you’ll learn how to enjoy the happiest of hours at the pub. Taking place Monday through Saturday between 3pm and 7pm, you can try some of the pub’s most recognizable beverages and plates. Allow your inner child to experience School House Pub with wide eyed innocence that will allow you to visually capture the unique details you’ll find inside the pub. Creatively named cocktails, dangling book art on the walls, vintage school house desks, and a working school bell, all make for an experience that will take you back to memories of school yards and recess. The fragrant herb and citrus cocktail ingredients are a treat if you can score a seat at the bar. A little tip for first-timers, at the School House you and your friends will stand in line to order both food and drinks. The food menu is full of indulgent flavors that present an elevated spin on meals of reminiscent of your childhood, but this is no brown bag lunch. The rich and creative dishes are served on rustic canvases, and in shareable portions. Don’t leave without sipping on a couple of my favorites, the Double Dutch or the Extra Credit if you’re a real over achiever. School House also rotates 20 beers on tap, cans & bottles, including ciders.
In true namesake fashion, The Haymaker delivers an edgy and forcefully fashioned swing, for packs of east side cronies. Filled with indoor/outdoor screens at all angles, which makes watching your team at this local a sure thing. Bar patrons are entertained by shuffleboard, pool, and darts, or they can take their party outside for a dog friendly hang-out in the spacious patio. Much like its older sibling, The Black Sheep, although the location boasts a large space, the parking in the lot and throughout the neighborhood is somewhat limited. For the best experience, ride with a buddy, ride your bike, or check out other Manor Road spots from this list, on your walk to Haymaker.
The eats at Haymaker are representative of regional favorites, creatively presented in sandwich form, and include small bites, and house made sauces that will pull out the inner addict in you. Summed up… Signature Gruyere Swiss Cheese Sauce. The servings are Texas sized, which happen to play nicely with the vast list of craft beer on tap, or in can. If you fancy spirits or wine, you will find a hearty selection of Texas distilled spirits and more. The Haymaker defies the happiest of hours and offers daily boozy deals that are during all business hours. A couple of my favorites are the Monday $5 Lunch Box, made up of “White Trash Can Beer” and a call shot; or you can skip the beer altogether and stop in for Wednesday happy hour offering of $2.00 off all Whiskey, which you’ll find is an worthy deal.