In June 2018, Here Nor There opened its doors in downtown Austin and immediately began serving some of the best craft cocktails in the city.
Speakeasy, cocktail lounge, craft bar. They all apply to one of my favorite spots to grab a drink.
One of the reasons I like the Here Nor There is that it's a semi-private bar.
But, they also cater to members who pay $500 a year to enjoy perks like priority reservations, a special seasonal menu, and discounts off rare spirits. Membership is invite-only.
As a result, Here Nor There has a feeling of exclusiveness, while still being open to the public.
In my experience, visiting a half dozen times as a house guest (i.e., non-member), the staff has always been friendly and welcoming.
Finding the Bar
Once you've downloaded the app and had a reservation accepted, you'll receive a door code.
The easiest way for first-timers to find the entrance is to go to the Driskill Hotel and then walk north on Brazos until you see a gate with an electronic keypad on your left side.
Enter the code, and the gate will open.
On some visits, I've been greeted by an Irish gentleman who confirms my reservation before allowing me to enter the next door, and other times, I've been able to walk right in.
The stairwell leading to the below-street-level lounge is painted in a black and white mural, which indicates the attention to detail that goes into everything here.
At the bottom of the stairwell are a host(ess) stand and a life-size bear holding a tray.
On my first few visits, complimentary welcome drinks were waiting there, while on my last few visits, those were provided after my guest(s) and I was seated.
Once your eyes adjust to the low lighting, you'll see a variety of different seating options, including:
- The bar
- Cushy sofas
- A semi-private room covered in antique plates and lit by candles
- Two small booths near the entrance
If you're there alone or feeling social, you'll want to sit at the bar, while the other options offer more privacy if you're on a date or with a group.
See also: The Best Speakeasies in Austin
Here Nor There's initial cocktail menu was created with specific global flavors in mind. As a traveler, the theme was right up my alley.
I began with drinks I was confident I'd enjoy and branched out over time. As a result, I can confidently say I've enjoyed every cocktail I've ordered.
The first drink I tried was From Russia With Love, served in a chilled metal cup:
- Beluga vodka
- Gold leaf
The touch of caviar was a first for me in a cocktail and elevated the presentation.
The second drink I tried, Tropic Thunder, evoked Southeast Asian flavors:
- Grey Goose
- Coconut liquor
- Thai herbs and spices
- Manuka honey
- Kaffir lime
- Coconut mylk
Drink number three was a vodka cocktail called Northern Lights inspired by Scandinavia, a region I'll be visiting for the first time this fall.
Small touches like branding the ice with their logo further show an attention to detail I find fascinating.
My most recent visit was for a first date. She ordered a drink I hadn't tried before, and it was on fire when we were presented with it. She said it was the best cocktail she'd ever had.
Here Nor There releases seasonal menus with new drinks, while continuing to feature customer favorites.
Prices are in the $14-$16 range per drink, putting it at the high end of what you'll find in Austin.
HNT is run by a group of business partners, including Terance Robson from Ireland and Nik Zoylinos, aka “Nik the Greek.”
They've successfully brought a world of flavor to an intimate 50-seat bar in downtown Austin.
And I, for one, am thankful.