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Nickel City is one of the south's best new bars, says Garden & Gun

Arianna Auber
aauber@statesman.com
The east side bar Nickel City was recently included in a Garden & Gun article about the South's best new bars. [Arianna Auber / AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Another day, another list: Nickel City is one of the South's best new bars, according to a recent article in Garden & Gun magazine.

Put together by esteemed cocktail writer Wayne Curtis, the article points out the craft cocktail renaissance that has dominated much of the 21st century has come full circle. Bartenders are back to being bartenders again, after brief stints as mixologists creating works of liquid art, and the places where they serve up well-made drinks are homey and welcoming.

"New venues are taking some of the settings we’re familiar and comfortable with — the dive bar, the honky-tonk, the classic corner tavern — then adding to the mix outstanding cocktails, a wine library that runs quiet and deep, a mood that refuses to take itself too seriously, and bar food that doesn’t seem in the same genus as cheese fries," Curtis writes in the introduction to "The South's Best New Bars."

Does that description remind you of anything? In particular, a certain East Austin watering hole? Since opening in summer 2017, Nickel City has offered some of the best cocktails in town in an entirely unpretentious space, with food truck Delray Cafe on-site to serve up Coney dogs, hamburgers and more irresistible pub grub. The unfussy vibe inside might remind you of a Milwaukee dive with its vinyl booths, Curtis writes, "but this is a bar that takes its liquor seriously."

"Like fancy cocktails but hate fancy cocktail bars? Nickel City (forthright slogan: 'Cold Beer & Mixed Drinks') has you covered," Curtis writes.

Two other Texas bars are also featured in the Garden & Gun roundup, and both are in Houston: Tongue-Cut Sparrow, a Bobby Heugel project, and fancy honky-tonk Goodnight Charlie's.

It's not the first time Nickel City has been in a best-of list. Esquire magazine decreed it one of America's best bars last year, and previously, we included it in our roundup of 2017's best new bars. Plus, Nickel City made national headlines when it transformed into Moe's Tavern from "The Simpsons" for Halloween last year. Most recently, the bar hosted the holiday-themed tiki pop-up Sippin' Santa.

Nickel City is located at 1133 E. Eleventh St.