Just steps from day and nighttime local favorites such Halcyon and Lonesome Dove in Austin’s Warehouse district is a collegiate-themed drinking den created with a few tricks up its sleeve, including, but not limited to: A celebrity bartender backing the booze, an Ivy League feel sans frat bros, and a little friendly cerebral infiltration.
“Esto Perpetua, Propino!” reads the gold academic seal stamped on the door at the entryway of one of Austin’s most unique cocktail bars. If you’re not fluent in Latin, which we’re not either, (thanks Google) this means “Live perpetually, drink!” which is the perfect tagline for Academia, a natty new haunt with Ivy League influence with an atmosphere purposely designed with different types of mental stimulation in mind for the ultimate overall bargoing experience. With blatant odes to literary geniuses of the past, for instance, the set of surreptitious banners each aimed at a few of the greatest writers (and drinkers) of all time, i.e. Hunter S. Thompson, Dorothy Parker, and Ernest Hemingway, what is perhaps even more enticing is the use of cognitive psychology to ensure the mood of the space.
Let’s just say that Cocktail Theory 101 is kid stuff to the bar staff and their lead at Academia.
Tapping into the senses to put any patron in the right headspace whether you use the environment to drink, eat, study, or work, you can count on underlying tricks such as curated playlists that can be aptly programmed to actually sync up with the beats per minute of guests’ hearts, lighting designed by a Cirque du Soleil director to “influence moods, trigger memories and evoke emotions,” as well as releases of ambient scents and even pheromones. Yeah, you read that one correctly, pheromones. All of these strategies come together to expel any sort of mental block and get your creative juices flowing. Ha, expel, get it?
As if the subconscious unspooling wasn’t enough to get you all jazzed up, just wait until you sit your happy ass down in a barstool. As the brainchild of former Bartender of the Year Russell Davis, who you might also know from Bar Rescue, Davis made his mark holding it down just around the corner at Peche. Let’s just say that Cocktail Theory 101 is kid stuff to the bar staff and their lead at Academia. Pedagogical sections such as Undergraduate, Graduate, and Elective direct you through the cocktail list. Undergraduate, consisting of classics, for instance the Mellowed 50/50 Sazerac, is a section for the student who is set in his ways and knows exactly what he came for. The Graduate section features new & obscure takes on the classics, like the Negronen, which is a smoky Negroni variation made with tequila and twice-distilled, unblended mezcal for an unexpected fruity finish.
As for the Elective section, you’ll find a few off-the-wall faculty signatures fashioned by the master mixologists in-house, such as wacky signature creations such as Raw Dill, which is practically the face of Academia’s cocktail lineup due to its photogenic nature. Spun with Aquavit — an herbaceous, caraway and dill seed-forward Scandinavian spirit — as well as Dolin Blanc Vermouth, St. Germain, saline, and is topped with Dill (duh), as well as a small spoon of salmon roe. But does a spoonful of fish eggs make the medicine go down? Why, yes, yes it does. On the richer end of the spectrum, How Black Do You Like It? is for sure one of the best damn Irish Coffee variations you’ve ever sipped. Made with none other than Tullamore Dew, oxidized espresso, Irish cream, sugar, and a touch of Fernet Branca, you’re able to conquer the buzz of all buzzes with something a bit sweet in your teeth.
A small, yet stirring food menu resides alongside the cocktail program, featuring dishes such as aptly named Hemingway — house churned peanut butter and smoked onion jam spread on brioche, and what would a bar menu be without deviled eggs? Bring your laptop, your girlfriend, your book club, you name it. Just make it a point to visit the folks at Academia for a toast or two seven nights a week — and remember your mantra, students: Esto Perpetua, Propino!
With so many new cocktail bars going to Rainy Street and east Austin, Academia is an A+ in downtown A-town
School is never out at Academia, educate yourself on a good cocktail seven days a week
If hungry, try the Hemingway—where creativity meets mouth watering flavor
When hitting the cocktail menu, try out the electives, those classes/drinks are always the most fun
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