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Justin Theroux’s NYC Bar Tests Austin Expansion With SXSW Pop-Up

The bar preview will feature burger pop-up Bad Larry Burger Club

A red-lit crowded bar.
Ray’s in New York.
David X. Prutting/
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

New York bar Ray’s — co-run by actor/pit bull rescue advocate/generally Austin fan Justin Theroux — is looking to expand with an Austin location. But before that potentially happens, Ray’s is hosting a pop-up during South by Southwest this week. It takes place at 607 Blanco Street in Clarksville on Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12 from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The Ray’s team tagged award-winning Austin burger pop-up Bad Larry Burger Club to cook up free food each evening starting at 7:30 p.m. Also on deck will be cocktails courtesy of Bad Larry’s sibling bar Little Brother, as well as live country music, line dancing, tattoos, and T-shirts.

The SXSW pop-up is taking over a residential space to feel more comfortable for attendees. Artist Matt McCormick, who designed the New York location, will create bar elements for the space, including similarly-styled booths, checkered floors in burnt orange and cream colors (rather than its original black-and-white), lighting, and a burnt orange pool table.

“We love Austin,” writes the Authentic Hospitality Group via a rep, citing the restaurants, bars, and culture, as well as their friends. “We’re looking forward to seeing how the crowd reacts to the pop-up and if Austin wants us here maybe one day.”’

The Ray’s pop-up is being hosted with Austin-based dating app Bumble.

Theroux opened Ray’s with fellow co-owner Carlos Quirarte (who also co-owns New York American restaurant the Smile) in July 2019 in the Lower East Side neighborhood. Readers of celebrity gossip Instagram account Deuxmoi will recognize the bar as the spot for celebrity sightings, including Nicholas Braun (aka Cousin Greg from Succession) and Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski. Theroux adopted his dog Kuma from Conroe, Texas group A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue when he was living in the city while filming the television show The Leftovers, and has been a vocal supporter of Austin Pets Alive.

A painting on a brick wall with the word Ray’s and a sunset and a shadow cowboy lassoing another horse.
Ray’s logo.
Kevin Czopek/


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