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South Austin hangout Radio Coffee & Beer now has an extra reason for you to visit: cocktails

Arianna Auber
aauber@statesman.com
You can now have a margarita with tacos from Radio Coffee and Beer's on-site food truck Veracruz All Natural.

At Radio Coffee and Beer in South Austin, you can get a little bit of everything: all manner of coffee drinks, draft beers, live music, and tacos or breakfast items from the two on-site food trucks, Veracruz All-Natural and Paperboy. 

Until recently, however, one thing was missing from the menu — cocktails. 

The coffee shop owned by musician Jack Wilson added three mixed drinks recently in response to customers who don’t want beer, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive for each one. Radio Coffee and Beer now offers a margarita, Bloody Mary and Irish Coffee.

But for Wilson, the cafe with a large shaded patio and plenty of seating will remain primarily a kid-friendly place where people can come to work by day and hang out with friends at night. 

“It just became this thing where we heard, ‘Well, I'm not really a beer drinker. Is there anything else (boozy) to drink?” he said. “We wanted something for them but didn't want to change the entire program. We didn't want to be a wild Sixth Street shot bar all of a sudden. Keeping Radio’s atmosphere has been paramount.”

So he decided to start small with the trio of cocktails, each one chosen based on the kind of experience you can expect at Radio. The margarita is ideal to pair with the tacos from Veracruz All-Natural, he said, and the Bloody Mary is perfect with a Paperboy brunch (although you can order the savory drink any time of the day).

The Irish Coffee — made with brew from Portland’s venerated Stumptown — is a nod to Wilson’s deep love of coffee and features Jameson Irish Whiskey. It debuted as a hot drink, but with Austin’s steamy summer ahead, Radio is also going to have a cold version with nitro cold brew.

Wilson said having whiskey available “has been a big success” at Radio’s Bluegrass Night every Monday. The weekly tradition has become a sleeper hit, a popular time to catch live music at the coffee shop.

“Live music has become a much bigger part of what we do here, and people expect a full bar at a venue show,” he said.

The margarita, featuring Espolon Blanco Tequila, is on tap — a way to make it easier for the baristas who aren’t used to making mixed drinks. Wilson expects that other cocktails on tap will eventually hit the menu, including a gin drink, and seasonal options are also coming.

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