100 Austin Burgers: The Driskill Bar

The Driskill Bar
604 Brazos St., Austin (map), 512-439-1234, www.driskillhotel.com
Bar hours: 3pm-midnight Mon-Tue; noon-2am Wed-Sun
Food served: 5-10pm Sun-Wed; 4-11pm Thu; 4pm-1am Fri-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 07.21.16
You don't have to shell out $250 for a room at the Driskill Hotel to settle into the hotel’s old-money-meets-new culture at the Driskill Bar. The conversation pits with spotted cowhide, sunken leather chairs, impromptu conference tables and the polished saloon bar accommodate pre-dinner business warriors and squinting tourists with equal grace.
 Driskill Bacon Cheeseburger: The same Driskill Grill kitchen that stands among Austin’s best restaurants sears grass-fed Angus with stripes like uniform rank insignia. The beef glows with fatty lustre straight to its scarlet center, the cornerstone of a burger draped in good cheddar on a stout onion roll, finished with lettuce, red onion and heirloom tomato. In this context, bacon might be an afterthought if it weren’t as thick and sweet as honeyed trail jerky. It’s Redford’s Sundance Kid to Newman’s Butch Cassidy. ($14 with fries)
 On the side: It’s a challenge to pull off hand-cut fries, and even more challenging to pull off the shoestring size. But here they are, the long and short of them, with shades of earthy skin, brisk exteriors and a flash of potato fluff. But what lands them among Austin’s best burger sides is Driskill ketchup as sweet and smoky as chipotle marinara.
 Happy hour extras: From 5-7 Sun-Wed and 4-7 Thu-Sat, sweet Brussels sprouts and juicy bacon-wrapped medjool dates are jewels among the bar’s half-price small plates. ($5)
 Wash it down: I passed up the genteel charms of a 130th Anniversary Mint Julep, taking instead my server’s advice to try some Sage Advice, a cooling summer splash of pineapple juice with gin’s leavening dryness, a hint of St. Germain florals and an appropriately Texian touch of sage ($11). The bar also pours 20 wines by the glass and the touristy Batini, the “Official Cocktail of Austin.” But for a better local buzz, there are drinks made with Treaty Oak rum or 512 Tequila and pints from Austin Beerworks and 4th Tap.
100 Austin Burgers
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)