Today, Bridget Dunlap, known for her reign as the bar queen of Rainey Street, and Director of Operations Scranton Twohey have opened Bar Ilegal. This newest addition to the royal Rainey Street family is a tiny, Mexican-style cantina housed in the historic stone building that shares the property with Dunlap’s Clive Bar.
More information from Press Release:
Bar Ilegal will serve only handcrafted, small-batched Ilegal Mezcal, made by mezcaleros in Oaxaca, Mexico. Ilegal Mezcal is made using the heart of the espadin agave plant that is baked underground over volcanic rock, then crushed by a traditional millstone drawn by a horse. It is distilled in small batches and hand-bottled and numbered. Ilegal’s resulting Joven, Reposado and Añejo mezcals provide a smooth, smoky flavor and beautifully reflect the spirit and culture of Oaxaca. Bar Ilegal will serve Ilegal Mezcal flights and individual sippers, and will likely add a variety of mezcal cocktails and infusions.
Bar Ilegal evokes the feel of a Mexican cantina, with rustic, recycled wood elements on nearly every surface and black and white photos hung with tattered wire. The small, candle-lit space accommodates only about 20 patrons, providing a dark and sexy ambience for sipping the world’s best mezcal. The eight-foot bar is made from ancient hand-hewn pecan plank cut from a tree on the property years back. Above the bar is a rusted candelabrum that holds a dozen votive candles. The liquor shelf was fashioned from old picket-fence boards, and many of the bar’s architectural elements are coated with the same powdered paint applied to the colonial walls of Oaxaca. In one corner of the bar stands a wooden statue of the Pagan saint Maximon, god of gamblers and drinkers, a shrine of sorts where bar patrons can pay homage by tipping back some Ilegal. The detail is all the more magical in the flickering candlelight.
The other royals in the Dunlap Empire:
Lustre Pearl – the older sister that you know hearts you
Dunlap’s first Austin Venture. Named after her self-descibed alter-personality.
It boasts a stunning view of downtown skyscrapers and elements of a Southern Childhood that bring feelings of nostalgia: rocking chairs on the front porch, a jukebox that rocks, ping pong and hula hoops for hip twirlers. Oh, and there’s also liquor, beer and wine.
Clive Bar – the low key little brother you never wanted but are glad you have
Lustre Pearl’s little brother. Low key bar known for friendly bartenders and unpretentious patrons. It’s inexpensive, yet not cheap, which keeps away the $1 shot crowd. The space is small and cozy but the outside wood deck has ample room for stretching out one’s legs and eating Graj Mahal grub when the ATX is not “100 degrees plus”
Bar 96: the cool uncle who’s place feels like home , or rather a pimped out crib
Infused with a sports-friendly vibe, classic board game entertainment, and a wraparound porch that loves the company of late night loungers, it’s the bar with a little something for everyone. A place where you can catch the game while savoring Texas brews and melt the heat away in the comfort of a neighborhood back yard.
Container Bar - your wacky Aunt that’s a little outside of the box
The Container Bar is a libation lounge made of metal shipping crates. At forty-feet long and almost ten-feet high, these four-ton shipping and storage containers will take on new lives as sleek and welcoming rooms hosting Austin’s lively bar patrons. Each container will undergo a massive transformation, with newly installed flooring, windows, and walls replete with the artistic accents that reflect Dunlap’s appealing aesthetic. Only the exteriors of the retired containers will retain their original distressed appearance. Dunlap hopes to start construction by Labor Day and is slated to celebrate the opening New Years Eve. Now, that should be a good party.