Celebrate rebirth of longtime Austin bar the Tavern, back in the hands of old owners – Entertainment – Austin 360
Austinites nearly lost an iconic business earlier this year, but two locals who owned the tavern from 1979 to 1981 bought it back with the aim of keeping the sports bar and restaurant. Now the tavern is celebrating its relaunch at a party this weekend.
In February the two owners of Esther’s Follies, Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, bought the tavern at 922 W. Twelfth St. from brothers Ellis and Austin Winstanley. After the brothers owned the room for five years, they wanted to ditch it for other business opportunities and more family time. At the start, a positive thing about the sale was announced: Sedwick and Shelton would keep it largely the same, making mostly small changes to bring it back to its former glory.
And it would stay open during the interior renovation, as a hub for sports fans who gathered there to watch the World Cup this summer. However, this weekend marks the first time customers have seen the updated tavern in its entirety: Sedwick and Shelton are officially introducing a streamlined menu and a new focus on seasonal cocktails at the weekend event, which runs August 24th through August 26th.
Maintaining the tavern was important to the couple who founded the legendary Liberty Lunch venue and also own Patsy’s Cowgirl Cafe – Sedwick and Shelton both remember when Austin was just a sleepy university town.
“In this time of losing special places in Austin like Frisco, Hut’s Burgers, Ruby’s BBQ and others, we are excited to be part of a rebuilding renaissance with our favorite Austin, the Tavern at 12th and Lamar. Michael and I always did. ” had a special love for the tavern, “said Sedwick.
The revamped menu features updates to classic tavern dishes like white wings, tavern burgers, and chicken steak, but there are also all-new, chef-controlled dishes like beef stroganoff and a grilled seafood avocado salad. Try these out at the relaunch party. The tavern will also enjoy cocktails courtesy of the new bar manager Arielle Glath, who introduces simple sippers like lavender (gin, lavender bitters, St-Germain elderflower liqueur and soda).
Sedwick and Shelton opened Esther’s Follies, a modern vaudeville-style theater, in 1977, and for more than 40 years it has been serving laughs with political satire, comedy sketches, magic shows and more in a prime location on Sixth Street. When she ran the tavern in the late 1970s and early 80s, Shelton renovated the historic building, which is now more than 100 years old.
“Everyone has their tavern story where they met their wife, or sealed the deal, or met Emily the local ghost,” Sedwick said. “The tavern has a place in all of our hearts.”
You can find more information at facebook.com/TavernAustin.
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