The Austin Chronicle

Rainey Street Bars

May 25, 2012, Food


83 Rainey, 473-0005
Monday-Saturday, 4pm-2am; Sunday, noon-2am

Icenhauer's, the first non-Dunlap bar to open on Rainey, is housed in a fully remodeled bungalow sporting the look of a modern living room with natural stone accents, wood floors, and large sunny windows. The bar has just enough space for six customers, but most people prefer to sit on the back patio. With a mishmash of lawn furniture set in comfortable groupings and a dog-friendly policy, this is the place to enjoy a cocktail and a laid-back chat with friends. Specialty cocktails are named after the women in owner Michael Icenhauer's family, and run the gamut from simple to gimmicky to versions of the classics. The Katie, ginger and lime-infused Tito's Handmade Vodka and freshly squeezed lime juice topped off with ginger beer, is a take on the Moscow Mule, while the Liz is an ode to the Manhattan, combining candied orange peel-infused Maker's Mark with brandy soaked cherries. Happy hour is pleasant since the bar is not crowded and the noise volume allows for normal conversation. – Claudia Alarcón


69 Rainey, 382-6917
Monday-Saturday, 4pm-2am; Sunday, noon-2am

Javelina is a recent newcomer to the scene. It's not much to look at from the outside, but inside is a bright, airy space with plenty of character, and the tables in the wraparound (and dog-friendly) patio are spaced far enough apart to provide a certain privacy. Drinks include lots of local brews, specialty cocktails, and a selection of wines I actually want to drink – and they also serve bar grub like queso, burgers, wraps, and salads. We love the Javelina Eggs ($6.50), a version of Scotch eggs featuring hard-boiled eggs wrapped in pork sausage, lightly breaded and fried, served with House 69 sauce (a spicy mayonnaise), and the hand-cut sweet potato fries (which can be smothered in queso or green chile pork). The staff is super friendly, accommodating, and knowledgeable – a huge plus in our book – and there's ample room at the bar to hang out and visit with the expert bartenders. Claudia Alarcón

The Blackheart

86 Rainey, 391-1566
Monday-Friday, 4pm-2am; Saturday, Noon-2am; Sunday, noon-midnight

We discovered this newish bar, directly across the street from El Naranjo, as we were leaving the restaurant (the outside is so dark that it's difficult to spot when driving by). Curious, we walked up the dimly lit steps across a small patio into the refurbished home. Inside, the space is open and ample, sparsely decorated with pinup-like nudes and very low lighting. There are two indoor areas with minimal furniture, and a humongous tree-shaded backyard with picnic tables. Music by the Cramps matched the vibe to a T. We joined a very friendly bartender at the small bar – stocked with a good selection of quality spirits with an emphasis on whiskeys. Their signature cocktail, the Blackheart, combines muddled black cherries with bourbon and Topo Chico for a boozy yet refreshing libation. This is likely to become another hipster-magnet, but hopefully that won't doom the comfortable vibe and courteous service. Claudia Alarcón

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