A bar with DIY arts and crafts projects is coming to downtown Austin

12:13 p.m Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 Drinks
Emma Janzen/American-Statesman/Emma Janzen/American-Statesman
The DIY arts-and-crafts bar Upstairs Circus will have a cocktail menu with drinks like margaritas when it opens early next year.

Upstairs Circus, a bar with locations in Denver and Minneapolis, is almost ready to serve crafts-loving Austinites big helpings of cocktails and do-it-yourself projects.

That’s the basic premise behind Upstairs Circus, which plans to open a local location in the Second Street District in early 2018. There, you’ll create all manner of Pinterest-worthy DIY items — everything from leather works to jewelry, according to Upstairs Circus’ Austin page — while enjoying beer, wine or cocktails. 

The bar and crafts shop calls these activities “Project Socials,” and you have to reserve your spot in advance to participate, according to the website. Once at Upstairs Circus, choose what you’ll be making from the project menu, which is divided into sections of jewelry, art, home, libations and lifestyle items and includes the expected time they’ll take you (generally between 1 to 2 hours). 

Some of the things you can make don’t exactly look like easy DIY projects, especially once you’ve gotten some booze in you, but Upstairs Circus promises help. 

“We give you the time, supplies, tools, tutorial and inspiration to make a masterpiece,” according to the bar. “Work at your own pace, enlisting our creative assistants for project tips, advice or help (or another cocktail) as needed.”

The Austin menu of booze hasn’t been created yet, although a sample menu from one of the Denver locations has colorfully named cocktails on it like the Vintage Circus, a rye riff on the Old Fashioned, and the Mexican Circus, a spicy margarita. There will also be local beers, a small wine list and ‘mocktails’ for people who don’t want alcohol. 

If this place follows the model of the other locations, it’ll have small bites, like mixed nuts and truffle popcorn, available for purchase, but hungry patrons will likely be able to order food from nearby restaurants as well. And happy hour might have both discounted drinks and projects that you can do. 

It’s certainly not the first business to come to Austin with a focus on doing arts project while drinking something boozy. The locally based Crafts & Drafts pop-up sets up shop in a bar or restaurant, and participants can make their DIY item with a pint of beer nearby.

Upstairs Circus will be located at 234 W. Second St. For more information, visit upstairscircus.com/co/atx.

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