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Longtime Austin bar the Tavern is now up for sale — but it might not change much

Arianna Auber
This iconic Austin bar is up for sale.

UPDATE: We have added in data from the state comptroller’s office about the Tavern’s alcohol sales, which have been steadily dropping, at the bottom of the story.

EARLIER: A favorite bar of University of Texas fans to gather on Longhorn game days, the longtime hangout the Tavern has now been put up for sale, according to the Austin Business Journal.

The Tavern, at Twelfth Street off North Lamar Boulevard, has been in the possession of brothers Ellis and Austin Winstanley for five years, but they are interested in finding new owners as they seek other business opportunities and more family time. Before you fret about the loss of another iconic local spot, though, consider this: The Winstanleys want the new owners to keep it a pub.

They aren’t selling the 101-year-old building itself, as they don’t own it, according to the Austin Business Journal. Instead, they are selling the business name and operations, as well as all the equipment — with the idea that someone could take over without interrupting service. There are still 20 years left on the lease.

The brothers declined to tell the Austin Business Journal what their asking price is.

A bigger change the Winstanleys are making is that of Abel’s North, another of their restaurants. It will shut down soon so they can convert it into “creative offices,” the Austin Business Journal article noted.

The restaurateurs own a couple of other recognizable Austin dining places that will remain in their hands: Abel’s on the Lake, El Arroyo (which is famous for its funny marquee sign) and Cain and Abel’s. They acquired the Tavern in 2012, but the bar had been a local staple well before then.

A look at data from the state comptroller’s office, however, suggests alcohol sales there have been in a steady decline since that year, and 2016 was the worst for alcohol sales of the past 10 years. This year (there is data through October) is shaping up to be potentially even worse.