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Drinking the Good Stuff at the W

Drinks and music at the Secret Bar

By Wes Marshall, 5:40PM, Sun. Oct. 28, 2012

So the Secret Bar (aka the Red Bar) at Austin’s W Hotel has two fresh angles worth a look: a new drink menu and a hot vintage sound system.


New drinks at the W Hotel's Secret Bar
Photo by Emily Marshall

On Tuesday nights, they’re letting customers pick vinyl to spin on their tres fancy sound system. For those few audio geeks left in the world, the system is stacked with vintage McIntosh tube equipment, including a pair of what appeared to be mint MC75 power amps. Analog fans can listen to vinyl played on an old Revox B790 Tangential tracking turntable (a Revox B77 reel to reel tape recorder is also on display, but they are having trouble finding tapes to play. Could any radio station in town help?). The music comes together over a set of rebuilt, horn loaded speakers from the days when Altec and JBL ruled the world.

As fun as the music is, nothing beats libationist Joyce Garrison’s creations for their bar menu. Her new drink menu is out and she’s created some gorgeous concoctions. We had a chance to taste four of her new drinks, all exceptional drink designs. Garrison is well known to Chronicle readers, but for those who haven’t yet met her, here’s an introductory video.

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