The downtown Austin bar scene is getting bigger with a new spot opening later this year. Marlow Bar will be found at 700 East Sixth Street (the former Edwin’s Sports Bar space) starting sometime in September.
Marlow will serve as a casual neighborhood bar during the daytime and evening hours. There will be cocktails, large punches in vintage bowls, wines, and Texas beers. The back bar will focus on a lot of bourbon and mezcal.
The cocktails will change quarterly, as co-owner and co-operator Mike DeBonville explains to Eater. Each beverage would ideally have four to five ingredients only so that people can get their drinks quicker. For wines, there will be about six to eight types available by bottle or glass, and the list will lean into natural and small-batch producers.
The bar won’t serve food, but there are plans to host pop-up restaurants. Eventually, the patio will get built out and they’ll add food trucks.
“While you can’t stop progress, there are elements of old Austin that I know myself and many others sure do miss,” writes DeBonville to Eater over email. “We wanted to breathe new life into an old space [...] balanc[ing] the evolving, new-age Austin that we are today, but one that does not forget what made our town singularly beautiful to begin with.” The bar is named after his daughter.
The physical East Sixth building was built in the 1950s and is being renovated with a sense of history in mind for Marlow. There will be a centerpiece back bar, a balcony overlooking Waller Creek, custom furniture (sofas, custom sectionals, tables), handmade tiles, rich fabrics, and bold colors.
Behind Marlow are co-owners and co-operators Mike DeBonville, Joe Schumacher, and Wade McElroy. Texan and Austinite DeBonville worked at transportation and healthcare startups. He’s an Austinite and Texan. The bar team is still being hired.
McElroy is a noted bar and restaurant owner in Chicago, where he is from. In the Illinois city, he partnered with sprawling bar and restaurant company Heisler Hospitality to open essential neighborhood dive bar Sportsman’s Club, daytime coffee shop and nighttime cocktail bar Estereo, and 1990s-style sandwich shop Big Kids.
Schumacher has worked in the hospitality industry, where he helped expand the now-closed chain Penguin Dueling Piano Bar, opening a dog park and restaurant Mutts Cantina (which is supposed to be opening an Austin location this year) and restaurant/bar/music venue the Rustic up in Dallas, and sports bar and grill restaurant the Brooksider in Kansas City.
Also working on the renovations are architectural design studio Kartwheel’s David Clark, Havens Construction, furniture upholstery by Ambrose Upholstery, custom furniture by Mule Studio, signage by Andrew Manning, creative branding by Drew Lakin and Bryan Butler, and plant design by Tropic of Capricorn Design.
For Marlow, DeBonville and Schumacher started their own company Fresh Air Hospitality. They plan on eventually opening additional bars in the city through the business.
Before Marlow, the East Sixth address had been home to Edwin’s Sports Bar, which opened in 2018 and seems to have closed sometime in 2020. Before that, it functioned as an event space Waller Ballroom.
Update, 5:08 p.m.: This article, originally published at 10:51 a.m., to clarify Wade McElroy’s work history.