219West needs to turn the volume down

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Live music at 219West

All Day Monday, Weekdays 5-9pm, Saturday 5-8pm
$1 off draft beer
$5-8$ shakers of martinis (no shaker for straight alcohol matinis like Manhattans, Vodka, or Gin)
1/2 and 1/2 price American Tapas (half price plus 50 cents)
$12 wine flights

$5 martini shakers

219West is no doubt the happy hour champ of Austin’s Warehouse District. Located on Lavaca and Fourth Street, this traditional American bar is a bit more on the pricier range, but the location, atmosphere and quality of food is a good trade-off if you’re willing to dish out a couple more bucks.

I went on a Thursday night with several girlfriends, and luckily made a reservation since we were a big group. There was a 15-minute wait for a table otherwise. We opted to sit inside (there is a small outdoor area), and I was a bit surprise when our table was actually the height of coffee table. There is a full bar, and a good number of regular tables, along with our height-challenged table.

One thing that I couldn’t ignore was the blaring live music playing; it was incredibly loud and we were on the far end of the venue.  We were yelling just to hear one another. However, the two-person group took song requests, and the volume was great when our request came on and we were singing along. The man on the piano was lively and fun, and played mostly singalong-friendly oldies.

Chipotle mac & cheese

219West’s rather pricey menu was organized quite nicely—the drinks (beer, tequila-based, etc) were listedwith suggested appetizers, entrees, and desserts. I had a Georgia Peach martini and the rest had Mexican martinis.  The shakers were a pretty good size; I was able to pour about 3 drinks out of it. The Georgia Peach was sweet but had a more orange taste to it. The Mexican martinis were pretty standard.

Tuna and avocado tartare

In my opinion, 219West’s half-off tapas are more worth the visit than the drinks. Most of the appetizers fell into the $4-$9 range during happy hour. We ordered the chipotle mac & cheese, spicy cheese tater tots, southwestern mini burgers, and tuna and avocado tartare. I found the mac & cheese to be a little dry and could use more chipotle peppers. The tater tots were pretty standard and tasty, but yet again, I couldn’t taste the spice in it.  The mini-burgers came with four, and were amazing. Although the bun was a bit more on the greasy side, it made it so juicy. The tuna and avocado tartare was, hands down, my favorite dish because the tuna was incredibly fresh and the sauce really tasty. However, the chips we were given were basically crumbs, so it was a bit frustrating to eat.

Southwestern mini-burgers

If you want lots of energy and interaction with mediocre service and mid-priced drinks but amazing appetizers, then this is the place for you. If loud music isn’t your thing, I would suggest the outdoor seating.

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