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Chantal Rice Variety: The Spice of Sixth Street Written by: Chantal Rice
Issue: March 2013 | NSIDE Business
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219 West toasts its new location with a signature cocktail and diverse pairing menus

A Texas legislator, a jeans-clad UT student and a restaurant waitress walk into a bar. The politician orders a single malt scotch and a grilled beef tenderloin filet; the college student orders an imported beer and an oversized burger with fries; and the waitress orders a specialty martini and a seared ahi tuna salad with the vinaigrette on the side.

Waiting for the punch line? There isn’t one. This is a near daily occurrence at downtown Austin’s hip “multi venue” bar and restaurant, 219 West. In fact, it’s not uncommon to encounter all sorts of odd bedfellows mixing it up at 219 West, often at the same table or cozy leather couch.

After all, 219 West’s classy, comfortable lounge atmosphere lends itself well to making new friends and hobnobbing with the city’s elite.

Opened not quite a decade ago in Austin’s popular Warehouse District by hands-on restaurateur Marty Munden, 219 West – a name that gives a nod to the venue’s Fourth Street address – prides itself on offering a little something for every taste. 

Top-quality ingredients and a passion for diversity drive the restaurant’s six cocktail and cuisine pairing menus, which feature everything from premium beers and American tapas to distinctive martinis and fresh seafood entrees; from julep cocktails and Creole-inspired dishes to Old and New World wines; and from contemporary fare and sipping tequilas to refined Mexican cuisine.

The reasonably affordable fare – all made in-house from scratch by deft hands – is clearly prepared with care and precision. 

But don’t let the cuisine fool you; 219 West is also the champion of the cocktail, and the bartenders know a thing or two about creating classic mixed drinks and one-of-a-kind adult libations.

In fact, one of 219 West’s beloved Texas-style cocktails, the Longhorn Ice Tea (a refreshingly smooth combination of SKYY vodka, triple sec, El Jimador Blanco Tequila, Bacardi light rum, sour mix, fresh lime and orange juices, grenadine and Coke), was even featured in Playboy magazine as “a big ol’ bucket of Austin sunshine.”

“The idea with 219 West was to create a welcoming place where there’s something special for every taste,” Munden says. “We specialize in diversity, and it’s really neat that on any given night, you’ll see a very diverse crowd enjoying our various menus. We always want to be sure to provide that balance between what’s familiar and comfortable, and what’s new and more exotic.”

Munden is an expert at defining what his customers want. The seasoned restaurateur – who opened the original Old Alligator Grill in California, and consulted on the opening of Austin’s Saba Blue Water Café and Eddie V’s Edgewater Grill – has employed 219 West to fulfill his dream of showcasing elegant food and cocktails while providing diners with a comfortable, inviting and posh space simultaneously well-suited for mingling and intimacy. 

It’s apparent that Munden spends every day at 219 West (he knows many of his regular patrons by name), as his passionate energy has been infused in every detail of the venue, from the kitchen creations to the décor.

A longtime staple on downtown’s foodie and cocktail scene, 219 West is known as a mainstay in the corporate community for wining and dining clients, and as an ideal spot for corporate happy hours or simply relaxing with friends over a few cocktails after a long workday.

But 219 West made an unprecedented upgrade when it recently relocated to Austin’s most prominent thoroughfare: West Sixth Street. The new location, housed in the building that formerly held Union Park, allowed 219 West to nearly double its size to a whopping 8,600 square feet of expansive, yet charmingly intimate indoor and outdoor space. 

If the décor looks familiar, that’s because it is. Munden had the comfortably familiar furnishings and adornments – all three bars, the plush banquettes and the restaurant’s signature curved railing – uprooted from the Fourth Street location and replanted at the new restaurant, where everything’s been given new life alongside added features that are characteristic of 219 West’s classic lounge aesthetic.

And the new location doesn’t betray the restaurant’s multi-venue composition. In addition to the rooftop deck, 219 West boasts a new patio on the front side of the building that’s perfect for people-watching along Sixth Street, a large main dining room that anchors the downstairs space and a more intimate upstairs dining room that offers the ideal spot for private parties, special gatherings and unique events.

The Sixth Street move comes just in time for the holiday season, with the downtown buzz spreading about the new venue’s prestige in hosting some of the most chic holiday parties in Central Texas. 

The new capacious rooftop deck at 219 West, with spectacular downtown views and plenty of alluring seating vignettes, is destined to become the new go-to hot spot for businesses in search of a hip holiday happy hour – a popular trend replacing the requisite and often dull workplace Christmas party.

Holiday party guests are encouraged to raise a toast to 219 West’s cosmopolitan Sixth Street location with the bar’s new signature cocktail, the 219Tini, an exhilarating mixture of cucumber vodka, fresh lime juice, a splash each of sour mix and 7UP or soda and a dash of simple syrup.

So whether you crave dining in a chic lounge environment alongside the city’s trendsetters and politicos, want to sip a cocktail atop a rooftop deck flaunting one of downtown’s most inspiring views or simply can’t make a decision between tapas and tenderloin, the new and improved 219 West has something special for you. 



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