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Asian cocktail pop-up comes to East Austin's Nickel City this weekend

Arianna Auber
aauber@statesman.com
An Asian-inspired cocktail pop-up comes to the east side neighborhood bar Nickel City for two days starting on June 30. [Arianna Auber / AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Two local bartenders continue to honor their heritage and are taking their Asian cocktail pop-up, Daijoubu, to a new bar in town — Nickel City — this weekend.

Caer Maiko and Sharon Yeung work at the Roosevelt Room downtown, where they introduced Daijoubu in March with cocktails like the Tom Kha Collins. They're hoping to take the pop-up on tour and will next have a two-night takeover at the East Austin bar that has already played host to other themed events like "The Simpsons"-themed Moe's Tavern.

Maiko and Yeung, who grew up in Asian-American households, named the pop-up after "arguably the most common phrase in the Japanese language, (which) translates most closely to 'fine,'” according to the Facebook event post. 'Fine' is also an oft-used word in these bartenders' vocabulary, spoken "to brush off something that could be upsetting" during a shift when things tend not to go as planned.

But the women weren't going to simply dismiss or let go of one problem they have noticed over the course of their bartending careers.

"We share a pet peeve in the restaurant industry," according to the Facebook event post. We have noticed "how often Asian restaurants don't have a bar program that explores the many flavors found in Asian cooking and culture. Instead of brushing this off and saying 'it’s fine,' we’re trying to make it fine by bringing Asian culinary techniques and flavors behind the bar."

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The pop-up at Nickel City, which runs 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday, will serve as an homage to Asian-American take-out counters — which no doubt means at least one of the cocktails will come in the traditional white to-go containers. At the March pop-up at the Roosevelt Room, cocktails included the Tom Kha Collins with Ciroc Coconut Vodka, lime, pineapple, herb syrup, Topo Chico and a Thai basil sprig. These are the types of flavors to expect again.

But it's not just Asian-inspired cocktails you'll get at Daijoubu. Decorations such as Sanrio toys and music such as Korean and Japanese pop will transform Nickel City's atmosphere, too. An Instagram video on the Daijoubu account will give you a sneak peek at what's to come.

"We're trying to make dope Asian inspired cocktails and support Asian American culture as much as we can! Especially in the bar industry," according to the Facebook event page.

Nickel City is located at 1133 E. Eleventh St. and will be cash only.