Monday, February 10, 2014
Austin's newest cocktail bar, Half Step, is now open on Rainey Street. And it's awesome. Chris Bostick, native-Texan and the guy who used to manage the Varnish in LA, brings you this new bar, along with some help from his infamous friend Sasha Petraske, the Milk & Honey dude. Every aspect of this bar was meticulously planned––from the intensive bartender training regiment to the elaborate ice program to the chill interior and lively exterior. Take a look at how beautiful this interior is:
If you choose to sit inside, you'll be treated to table service and, if you're lucky, some music:
If you prefer the freedom to roam, or just want to enjoy the weather, there's an outside bar, which, unlike the inside, will never get too full:
Ok, now on to the good stuff. The cocktails are spot-freakin'-on. Take a look at the menu:
It's nothing but classics, and all of them are made to perfection. Much of that is thanks to a group of bartenders who care a lot about what they're doing, Christ Bostick and Sasha Petraske's meticulous oversight, and an overall ridiculous attention to detail. Take a look at this Negroni:
I brought it back to my table, had a few drinks, and then took this picture––and the glass is still frosty! Half Step takes their mixing seriously. First, every piece of mixing equipment is chilled, all the serving glasses are chilled and their clinebell ice machine spits out perfectly (and I mean perfectly) clear blocks of ice. I cannot stress how clear and cold this ice is. It's beautiful.. Here's Justin prepping a Remember the Maine, note the mixing glass:
The Remember the Maine itself was perhaps one of the best I've ever had. The cherry heering was noticeable but not too strong, the sweet vermouth adds depth without too much sweetness, and the absinthe adds a nice spice to the finish. I think I liked it because it was a little drier than the usual:
The Prescription Julep is a mixture of cognac and rye. It's more refreshing than your average julep, thanks to the cognac. It's almost peachy:
If I haven't made it clear, Half Step is a gem. It's definitely worth a trip to Rainey if you're a habitual avoider. If you often find yourself there, you just met your new favorite bar.
75 1/2 Rainey Street
Outdoor bar open weather permitting.