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Abruptly closed Rattle Inn is being split into three separate bars

Arianna Auber

The six-year-old Rattle Inn, a live music and events venue in the West Sixth Street area, closed suddenly in April, but a few Austin bar and restaurant veterans are quickly developing plans for the large multi-level space. It’s about to become three separate watering holes, according to the Austin Business Journal.

“Half of the property closest to the Ranch 616 restaurant will house a bar owned by Kevin Williamson, Ranch 616 owner and chef,” a recent ABJ article said. “The other half of the property will host two bar concepts by the owners of Handlebar and Red Headed Stepchild.”

The evolution of the Rattle Inn is currently underway, as a cinder block wall has already been erected to divide the venue in two.

The HandleBar co-owners, a group that includes brothers Willie and Matt Stark and Brett Vance, plan to divide the upstairs and downstairs portion of their section of Rattle Inn into two separate bars. Upstairs will be the Cat’s Pajamas, a bar opening by the end of the year. Downstairs, the similarly animal-themed project the Bee’s Knees doesn’t have a targeted opening date.

Collectively, the remodeling for both projects will cost about $250,000, according to the ABJ. 

Next door to the shuttered Rattle Inn, which had been located at 610 Nueces St. just north of the strip of West Sixth Street bars like Star Bar and Little Woodrow’s, is Southwestern-focused restaurant Ranch 616. Owner Williamson wants his new bar, taking over the remaining portion of Rattle Inn, to “complement” Ranch 616, although he’s mum on most of the details for now, according to the ABJ. 

The Ranch 616 founder was also one of the owners of the Rattle Inn, which was conceived as a Western-themed dance club that local musician Ray Benson helped to open. 

Williamson said the Rattle Inn had at one time been two buildings, at 610 and 612 Nueces St., that Williamson and longtime local restaurateur Matt Luckie joined together as one big bar. The two partners decided to shut it down “to focus on other projects,” according to the ABJ.

Together, they also own Star Bar just down the bustling West Sixth Street entertainment district, and that’s not going anywhere. 

The Rattle Inn “was too big for its britches,” Williamson said in the ABJ story.