April 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
After walking up and down 6th Street for a few minutes, looking down at my map and back up at the bars, I wasn’t sure if I’d find the elusive red light above the unmarked door of Austin’s new speakeasy, Midnight Cowboy. When I made the reservation, I was told to look for the red light and press the button marked, “Harry Craddock,” to gain entry.
Owned by Alamo Drafthouse, Midnight Cowboy exists to bring you an experience. They power washed and gutted the original Midnight Cowboy Oriental Modeling brothel, taking it from a run-down whore house to a classy, exclusive establishment.
The menu is overwhelming, but picking something adventurous and possibly random is part of the fun. I’ve learned that I like whiskey, rum and tequila, but at this stage in my life I’ll pretty much try anything and find something that I like about it. When we asked the bartender if he had any favorites, his response was something like, “I’m not one to pick a favorite because I like different drinks at different times and I think you choose drinks based on your mood.” I thought that was the perfect way to look at it and it encouraged us to make our own decision based on how we were feeling at that moment. He made our drinks table side, with his impressive little cart, and was fantastic about explaining the different components of each drink. He even took time to give us a recommendation for Fino, sharing that on Tuesdays, cocktails are $2 off, allowing you to try different types of liquor and develop your taste.
He’s also real handsome. In that, “I have a mustache and I’m a man”, kind of way.
- Carmine Swizzle – navy strength rum, campari, velvet fulermon, fresh grapefruit, crushed ice (I may have only ordered this one for the “navy strength rum” and the grapefruit juice. It was pink and tasty).
- Lindsey’s Lament – single-barrel bourbon, becherovka, maple, salt tincture, orange zest (This one tasted like Christmas. Probably the maple).
- Smoke + Mirrors – 12yr scotch, duque de carmona, Benedictine, sarsaparilla bitters, flamed orange (I can’t remember what this one tasted like, but it was fascinating to watch the bartender make it. And it involved fire – p.s. grown-up boys and little boys have the exact same reaction around fire).
- Clavos de Tejas – rhum agricole, drambuie, mescal, xocolatl, mole bitters, orange twist (When I ordered this, the bartender, hostess and another bartender came over and told me that it was served room temperature and “really aggressive.” Possibly because my first drink was pink and I looked like a sissy? It was top notch. Each sip felt like a wave of different flavors, without any after taste. Oh and rum was spelled like rhum, so I figured it’d be extra good).
- Old Pal – rye whiskey, campari, dry vermouth, cloves, flamed orange zest (I think this was my friend’s least favorite, but it was still good. And again, the preparation involved fire).
A few people on Yelp said that it was the perfect setting for a first date, but they must be pulling men from a different pool than I am. Most first dates are the absolute worst. I wouldn’t want to ruin such a magical place with a boy who thinks the Simpsons is hilarious or who can only hold a conversation about football. Midnight Cowboy is captivating and your company should be, too.
The atmosphere lends to something along the lines of celebrating a promotion or possibly a friend’s engagement. I snuck back to look at the private rooms and they seemed like they’d give you that “I’m just sitting cross-legged in my living room with my best friends” feeling. You can make reservations for up to a party of eight, but it’d also be perfect for an intimate evening with your sweetheart.
If we were in a movie and if it were fifty years ago, I probably would have been smoking a cigarette while enjoying my cocktails. In fact, I kind of wish I had been simultaneously smoking, if only for the romantic aspect of it. Minus the coughing and gagging.
Midnight Cowboy left me under its spell and I want to bring all of my favorite people back to fall in love with it too. We need a little more fancy in our lives and I think this tucked away gem is a keeper. Take a look at their photos on Facebook or enjoy the initial surprise of stepping into the perfect place.
Go on, make your reservation: http://midnightcowboymodeling.com.