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One of America's 21 best bars, according to Esquire, is in Austin

Arianna Auber
The east side bar Nickel City has won some top honors from Esquire magazine.

If there’s any “best of” list that a bar aspires to be on, it’s Esquire magazine’s yearly roundup highlighting the top 20 or so bars in the U.S. And once again, an Austin watering hole has made the cut.

This time, it’s Nickel City in East Austin, less than a year old but already topping many such lists — including our own, a look at 2017’s best new local bars — because of its laid-back atmosphere and quirky, well-regarded beverage program. 

“This is not your dad’s dive of off-brand well spirits. But precious cocktail joint it is not. Go ahead and order that shot at 3:00 p.m. or enjoy a dangerously delicious frozen hurricane, one of the most popular drinks on the menu ­— no one’s judging,” according to Esquire’s list of 21 best bars in America

The publication summed it pretty well. Nickel City, from the owners of Austin’s Detroit-style pizza empire Via 313 and two other bar industry juggernauts, has found a way to balance a hole-in-the-wall vibe with one of the most carefully curated booze menus in town. Want a whiskey flight? Done. To close out your night with a boilermaker (a beer and shot)? You got it. Craving a fancy mezcal cocktail? Here you go.

And not only that: Nickel City owners Zane and Brandon Hunt, Craig Primozich and Travis Tober also wanted to make sure customers have plenty of food to go along with their drinks, so the Hunts’ accompanying food trailer, Delray Cafe, serves up similarly Detroit-style grub like Coney dogs, crinkle-cut fries and sliders. There’s nothing like a foot-long Coney dog to satisfy your midnight cravings. I say that from experience.

Last year, another deserving local spot, Rainey Street’s Half Step, represented Austin on the Esquire list.

Agree with the publication’s choice this go round? Sound off in the comments or share your opinion with me on Twitter or Instagram. My handle on both platforms is @ariauber.