Russell Davis, of the Spike TV show Bar Rescue, opened his Ivy League-themed bar Academia. It’s located in the former Isla space at 208 West 4th Street. The bar touts itself as “a figurative faculty lounge for an Ivy League university of drinking where the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson could be found.”
Drinks range from classic Cosmopolitans to unique creations like the Raw Dill cocktail topped with salmon roe (previously, the drink was listed with caviar). While the bar is up and running now, the kitchen will open at a later date, when it will serve bar snacks.
The bar staff, a team Davis specifically assembled from outside of Austin, will occasionally be featured on the bar’s drink-making livestream, though it’s unclear where it will be found.
Academia has a number of unique features designed to “stimulate visitors and promote habit-forming behavior.” These include introducing “ambient scents and pheromones,” and custom lighting programmed by the technical and lighting director for Cirque du Soleil. There is also a lectern where patrons can give speeches in return for a free shot.
“These sciences have been proven to work and are used by some of the world’s largest corporations, such as Disney, yet have never been executed on this scale [...] We can change the bar industry forever,” Davis explained the philosophy behind the bar in a press release.
Academia is open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.