Well, that didn't take long. The former Joe's Crab Shack building that sits on prime acreage off Lady Bird Lake will soon be occupied by a boozy new tenant from Dallas.
This weekend, Bishop Cider announced on Facebook that it plans a big expansion of its Bishop Cidercade concept — an arcade bar — to both Austin and Houston. Both locations will be at least double the size of the original in Dallas but will offer the same things that have made Cidercade so popular: house-made ciders and wines, as well as a variety of arcade games.
Bishop Cider co-owner Joel Malone confirmed on Tuesday to the American-Statesman that Austin's Cidercade will be located at 600 E. Riverside Drive, the old Joe's Crab Shack site that was shut down in March after unpaid rent and taxes. Bishop Cidercade's Facebook announcement had not given a specific address.
"We anticipate having 40 ciders and wines on tap and around 250 arcade games that are free to play after paying the $10 admission," Malone said. "The ciders and wines will only be what we make ourselves."
He said Austin's 13,000-square-foot Cidercade is expected to open sometime at the end of this year.
In the Design District of Dallas, the current Cidercade was voted in 2018 as America's best cider bar in a USA Today readers' choice poll. So Malone isn't changing much with the expansion into Austin, although this one will have "a huge patio on the lake," according to the Facebook announcement. It will also have a cider production facility on a much smaller scale than the Dallas location, offering small batches of Bishop beverages, Malone said.
"The Cidercade locations serve as our R&D facilities," he said. "Whichever ciders are the most popular will be ultimately canned and distributed."
Bishop Cidercade will bring food trucks on site, rather than keeping the old Joe's Crab Shack kitchen, because "we keep our focus 100% on making the best cider possible," he said.
The new cidery and arcade bar is part of the 118-acre South Central Waterfront district that runs from South First Street to Blunn Creek and is in the process of being redeveloped. This spring, a 15-story tower broke ground at the former Hooters site at West Riverside Drive, South First Street and Barton Springs Road. Earlier this week, proposed plans for the current Statesman property at South Congress Avenue and Barton Springs Road were also revealed.
MORE: Huge project planned for Statesman site
Bishop makes ciders that range from the year-round Crackberry, featuring cranberries and blackberries, and the Star Wars-themed Dark Cide, with black currant. About 75 to 100 R&D batches are released throughout the year at the Dallas Cidercade.
For more information, visit cidercade.com.