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The Early Word on Neighborhood Bar Nickel City

Read on for the good and the bad news on the classic drinks, atmosphere, and coney dogs

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A bar with an arcade game, a cigarette machine, and a sign.
Nickel City
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Nickel City is pegged as a friendly neighborhood bar, and certainly lived up to that expectation by donating to Franklin Barbecue repairs this weekend. Since it opened in July, Austinites have been flocking to the latest venture from Brandon and Zane Hunt, the brothers behind Via 313, Travis Tober (Vox Table), and Craig Primozich (Javelina). Read on for the verdict on Nickel City’s old-school digs.

The drinks: Nickel City specifically left the word “cocktail” off the menu to dodge pretentious connotations, and priced all drinks under $10. The focus is on beer and whiskey, of which Nickel City has approximately 300 varieties. That said, offerings make use of the full bar, like the Fraise Sauvage, a gin, prosecco, and fresh strawberry concoction describes by CultureMap’s Claudia Alarcon as “sophisticated,” and a curated wine list. The frozen drinks (an Irish Coffee and New Orleans Hurricane) have proven popular during the warmer months.

The food truck: Delray Cafe occupies a small trailer out back, which aims to serve the “okay-est bar food in town,” as Brandon Hunt told CultureMap. The menu of wings (including a barbecue variety made with sauce from Franklin Barbecue), burgers, crinkle fries, and coney dogs recalls the Hunts’ Detroit childhood favorites, to somewhat mixed reviews. While CultureMap calls the wings “killer,” others on Yelp thought the price point was too high).

The space: Set in the former Longbranch Inn, Nickel City is decidedly divey. The dark interior centers around the hand-carved wooden bar, which the Chronicle notes was originally built for the Driskill. CultureMap highlights “vintage beer and liquor signs and a cigarette machine” as part of the funky vibe. Strangely, the “whatever” bathrooms get particularly high marks on Yelp.

The overall experience: It seems as though Nickel City has integrated itself with the neighborhood fairly seamlessly. Chronicle notes the “welcoming, casual [...] timeless” feel of the bar, and appreciates the discounts on drinks when temperatures rise in the triple digits. Statesman calls it, “kind of place you can visit on your way home from work to get the same trusty drink over and over again.”

Nickel City

1133 East 11th Street, , TX 78702 Visit Website

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