The owners of the new Pleasant Storage Room invited friends, family, and a few lucky members of the media to a soft opening Monday, April 21. They wanted to run the rum-forward cocktail list and Caribbean street food-inspired menu past some familiar faces before officially opening doors on April 22. Lucky us.
The Warehouse District's newest addition, tucked in between Peche and Cedar Street Courtyard, was jamming. Formerly with Trace and then East Side Show Room, chef Paul Hargrove and his kitchen turned out small bags of fried peanuts dusted with chile pequin, plates of empanadas, delicious jerk chicken with a simple radish salad, and a Cuban-style sandwich, named the “Medianoche” because it will be only available for dining after midnight. A gorgeous, ice-filled ceviche bar tempted with Napali Death Tuna, a heat-seeking bite with candied habenero pepper syrup, and Langosta, lobster meat tossed with coconut, an unusual spice blend called Izak No. 37, avocado, and cilantro.
Of course, the rum-inspired drinks flowed freely. The center of the bar drew guests to an “overproof” rum punch bowl and colorful glass punch cups where they could indulge in a concoction based on a paste of raw sugar, bitters, and citrus oil called Oleo Saccharum, that is then enhanced with spirits, liqueurs, teas, and fortified wine. Gathering around the bowl to sample this libation created communal fun and the drink certainly lived up to its name with the power it packed. A full page of the bar list is dedicated to unique punches, including the order-ahead-only Punch a la Regent that uses a Mission fig bourbon and ambergris, an ingredient found in the belly of Sperm whales.
It was a delight to watch head bartender Alfonso Hernandez' menu of drinks being crafted and beautifully presented in an array of unique glassware. This bar boasts a huge spirits menu, as well as beer and wine, creating a situation where it's just difficult to decide what to order!
Pleasant Storage Room is named after a popular Forties hangout in pre-revolutionary Havana, Cuba. In the remodel of the former Stack Burger Bar space, designers went all out to evoke thoughts of Havana, Hemingway, and hot nights – and it works.
News on “Summer of Rum” parties, all kinds of plans and specials, will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. In the meantime, stop in early for happy hour prices on punch on the way to Austin Food & Wine Festival events in nearby Republic Square Park, or drop in late for a nightcap.
Pleasant Storage Room
208 W. Fourth, #D 512/332-9921
Happy Hour 5-7pm
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