The co-owners of Holiday are Erin Ashford (formerly the beverage director of Southern restaurant Olamaie) and John DiCicco (who also co-owns Kinda Tropical bar). They teamed up with executive chef Peter Klein (formerly of Italian restaurant L’Oca d’Oro). The trio met while overlapping at Olamaie.
The co-owners wanted to create a space that was “transportive,” according to Ashford over email, “a place where you can slow down and enjoy the company you are with, as well as a chance to imbibe and indulge a little more into drinks and food than you might at home during a busy work week.”
For cocktails, this meant a drinks menu that appealed to all tastes while striking “a perfect balance of high/low,” writes Ashford. The centerpiece is the Fancies section, their “perfect cheeky way” of naming their house cocktails. That area showcases “what I think is interesting in cocktails today,” she says.
A cocktail highlight is the Virgo’s Groove (a reference to one of Beyonce’s songs on the Renaissance album), made with a green bell pepper-infused sotol (for a “high-toned and grassy” flavor), mezcal (“earth and smoke”), basil-bay leaf syrup, Gentian liqueur, and velvet falernum. “It is a more vegetal and complex margarita,” she says, “but it drinks like so much more than that.”
The staff picks selection includes the team’s favorite drinks of the moment, including the Spaghett (a spritz made with beer and Cappelletti aperitivo) and the Wings of a Dove (a take on the paloma with Squirt grapefruit soda). There’s also an array of martinis, like a draft lychee martini and a house martini — 87 Club — which Ashford describes as “an elegant, full-bodied, demi-sec martini” made with Old Tom gin and blanc vermouth (the number refers to trio’s birth year). The rest of the menu features tapped prosecco, frozen Mexican martinis, Miller High Lifes, wines, and non-alcoholic options such as sbagliato made with sparkling water.
For food, there are small plates meant for snacking and sharing, courtesy of Klein. His inspiration was “how the three of us like to eat and drink outside of work,” which meant “casual dinner parties with a strong attention to detail but with an intimate and casual vibe,” he writes.
In particular, Klein’s excited about the boquerones and butter, where the white and brown anchovies are sourced from Spain, plus a house-made cultured butter, preserved lemon salsa verde, and Texas French Bread baguette. “It’s the platonic ideal of bread and butter,” he writes, “and a perfect pairing with a bracing dry martini.”
For the design, the group wanted to steer away from what they saw as “masculine speakeasies” that seemed abundant in Austin. Instead, they wanted to lean into what they wanted as a more graceful “feminine” bar. This was helped by architect Fred Hubnik, JCP Construction, and Tropic of Capricorn Design’s Candice Bertalan.
That guiding principle turned the former auto body shop into a bright, breezy space with handmade pieces like the tiled coffee tables and bar pendant lights, and greenery courtesy of Bertalan. There’s also a comfortable lounge and vibrant patio. Food and drink are served in vintage glasses and plates they’ve collected for the purposes of the bar.
Ultimately, Ashford describes the bar as a place where they “hope to provide an elevated experience and make guests feel really taken care of. And at the same time, it’s a bar and it’s meant to be fun.” She sums it up as: “Holiday is a getaway, vacation, and also, a favorite Madonna song.”
Holiday’s hours are from 5 p.m. to midnight daily for walk-ins only.