The Aquarium on Sixth's managing partner is also connected to Unbarlievable, which received major backlash last year for the owner's lewd and racist comments.
A newly revamped downtown bar that wants to take “the dirty out of Dirty Six,” according to a news release, has launched a menu of shareable cocktails with questionable to downright offensive names.
The Aquarium on Sixth announced its return last week, aiming to make its mark in the heart of Austin’s well-known Sixth Street entertainment district with cocktails in fishbowl-shaped glassware and with actual aquariums as part of the decor. But the bar is drawing attention for another reason.
Each of the large-format cocktails have aquatic-themed names, such as the Abyss and the Bermuda Triangle. One of them, the Sea Cucumber, could be a little suggestive. But also among these boozy options are the two most offensively named drinks: the Shut Up Beach and the Whore of Atlantis.
A pivotal force behind the Aquarium on Sixth’s rebirth at 403 E. Sixth St. is managing partner Robert Espinosa. He is also partner at another infamous Austin bar, according to Eater Austin — Rainey Street’s Unbarlievable, which drew outrage in 2017 for owner Brandon Cash’s social media comments that were considered both lewd and racist.
After the accusations of racism reached a fever pitch, a protest in front of the bar was organized, and alcohol sales at Unbarlievable plummeted about a month after the controversy. Though the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission opened an investigation into his remarks following the outcry, the state ultimately did not sanction the bar.
Cash and Espinosa manage both Unbarlievable and the Rooftop on Sixth. We have reached out to an Aquarium representative for comment about the sexist cocktail names and the revamp of the bar.
A popular Sixth Street hangout in the early 2000s, the Aquarium was included in a 2013 list of the 25 douchiest bars in Austin, according to Eater Austin, which first reported the new bar’s offensive cocktails this afternoon. (The American-Statesman also named it as the city’s top party bar in a 2006 article, noting it served as “an observational window into the aquarium of college life.”)
But the new Aquarium on Sixth hoped to shed its shot bar image, noting in a news release last week that “the operation is now in the capable hands of seasoned, competent staff whose goal is to make Aquarium great again for its patrons.”
The fishbowl cocktails are intended for groups. The smallest size available serves no less than two people; the largest one, at a steep $95, is for four or more people.