South Austin bar from Hopfield's team opens in old Red Shed Tavern space
The stone cottage where dive bar Red Shed Tavern was located on South Congress Avenue for 10 years has transformed into a homey cocktail bar from the team behind craft beer-focused gastropub Hopfields.
Nicolaza's is now open daily with Latin-inspired decor and drinks — and a selection of canned and draft beers, too, in what might be one of the bar's few similarities to Hopfields. The vastly different vibe is intentional. Hopfields, the campus-area gastropub from founders Bay Anthon and Lindsay Anthon-Zuloaga, has a strong French influence, in a nod to Anthon-Zuloaga's mother side. But Nicolaza's takes inspiration from her Hispanic father's side, according to Eater Austin.
Anthon and Anthon-Zuloaga decided to take over the former Red Shed Tavern space, along with Hopfields general manager Pedro Carvalho, to give Austinites who live off Slaughter Lane and surrounding streets a proper cocktail bar. The house cocktails feature a range of spirits, as well as house-made ingredients like fresh juices, shrubs and tonics. And each one has a Spanish name, such as the Miel de Amor with reposado tequila, Campari, Cynar and strawberry shrub.
Each of the other house drinks have mezcal, rye, rum, gin and vodka. Despite their names, not all of them are Latin-focused, but one of them does hail directly from Belize: Rumpopo, with Flor de Caña rum, creme de banane, horchata and egg yolk, is a sort of Central American twist on eggnog, according to the Eater Austin article.
Nonalcoholic options, such as the fruity agua frescas popular in Latin culture, are available, too.
Sip on one of them while relaxing in the bar that is intended to feel like you're inside someone's home, from the leather sofa and fireplace in the main room to a side room with sapphire walls, a sparkling chandelier and a macrame canopy whose center surrounds the chandelier's base.
Although the vibe of Nicolaza's diverges from that at Hopfields, the gastroub will remain tied to its sister bar in more ways than one. According to Eater Austin, Nicolaza's is set to become the site of "the food truck version of Hopfields" in a couple of weeks — and yes, the food truck's arrival means access to Hopfields' beloved Pascal burger in South Austin.
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Red Shed Tavern was known for its extensive outdoor patio. Nicolaza's owners aim for the backyard-like space, shaded by live oaks and strung with lights, to host live music shows, art shows, vendor fairs and more. A community garden will grow native herbs and plants, according to Eater Austin.
Nicolaza's is open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily at 8504 S. Congress Ave. The cocktail bar doesn't appear to have a website, but you can get more information from its Instagram page.