Long-awaited East Austin bar High Noon, from a superstar team behind honky tonk club White Horse and ’70s bar Kitty Cohen’s, will finally debut this week after being thwarted twice by novel coronavirus pandemic-related orders. Taking over what had been Craftsman, it will open on Friday, September 11, at 2000 East Cesar Chavez.
High Noon is a partnership between several heavy-hitters in the Austin hospitality scene: Nathan Hill (White Horse, Stay Gold), Jeremy Murray (Blackheart, Kitty Cohen’s), and Matt Rade (Blackheart, Kitty Cohen’s).
High Noon will offer both on-site and to-go services, the former with a walk-up station at the bar, serving mixed drinks, beer, whiskeys (Murray and Rade’s now-closed downtown bar Blackheart was known for its whiskey selection), and mezcal. Thai food truck Thai Kun (which still counts controversial chef Paul Qui as a partner) will be parked out front, serving food on the patio. There will eventually be live music at some point.
The bar will also offer three drinks to-go for those who don’t want to drink on-site: a beet paloma, and two frozen cocktails, one of which is a margarita. The bar decided to only offer a few cocktails to-go as it was difficult to ensure the same bar-quality of drinks. “You worry about everything, to the type of ice they are using, temperature, glassware, garnish, you name it,” explains Murray. “It’s hard to translate the in-house experience in a to-go program.”
High Noon’s space, designed by Mickie Spencer, is deliberately meant to feel a bit disconcerting. The press release describes the aesthetic as “a traditional Western saloon meets Kubrick” (referring to the film director), and an “early 1900s saloon, and a touch of peyote in West Texas.” Thus far, this means ceiling tiles reminiscent of a Rubik’s Cube, a long red banquette, a wooden floor, a stretched-out oval-shaped mirror lined with lights behind the bar, draped curtains, and a large bubble window facing the street. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the bar has installed UV air purifiers, sanitation stations, and is requiring that customers wear masks when not at a table.
Per Hill, this is also the bar’s third attempt at opening, first in March and then in June. He says the bar passed its inspection at 11:50 a.m. on June 26, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars to shut down that noon.
The bar is able to open now thanks to a new amendment by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. By allowing bars to partner with food trucks — such as High Noon with Thai Kun — they can apply for food and beverage certificates which would designate them as restaurants, thus being able to open for dine-in services.
When it opens this Friday, High Noon’s hours will be from 4 p.m. to midnight daily.
- All Coverage of High Noon [EATX]