Two Austin bars make Playboy’s Top 50 Bars in the U.S.

Photo by Tom McCarthy Jr. for American-Statesman. Justin Elliott has helped to make the Townsend one of Austin's best bars. According to Playboy, it's also one of the best bars in the U.S.

Photo by Tom McCarthy Jr. for American-Statesman. Justin Elliott has helped to make the Townsend one of Austin’s best bars. According to Playboy, it’s also one of the best bars in the U.S.

It’s the realization, as the Townsend’s beverage director Justin Elliott noted last night on Facebook, “of a dream that until recently I didn’t know I had.”

His bar has made Playboy’s list of the top 50 best bars in the U.S. So has the nearby Small Victory, co-owned by longtime Austin mixologist Josh Loving, after Playboy took nominations from readers, bartenders, writers and industry insiders.

The Townsend and Small Victory, only a couple of blocks from each other downtown, are the only two Austin spots to make the list, which includes venerated watering holes from bigger cities like Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Houston and Dallas also represented the south in Playboy’s roundup.

After first insulting our city for loving such things as chicken-s*** bingo and two-step lessons, Playboy goes on to note all the reasons that the Townsend rightly deserves its kudos:

“Located in a landmarked building on Congress Avenue, the Townsend is the opposite of all those other bars Austin has become known for. It has a serious cocktail program, a heck of a lot of chandeliers, its own live-music venue and a hamburger that will melt your face off, which isn’t, by the way, prepared in a food truck.”

Of Small Victory, Playboy writes that the “narrow cocktail den” wasn’t aiming to be something new but, rather, something better. “Loving says he picked out (take a deep breath here) better spirits, better ice, better water, better glassware, better wine, better charcuterie, better straws, better syrups, better bar stools and even better refrigerators than he had seen anywhere else,” writer Alyson Sheppard noted.

Small Victory didn’t open until early this year, but the Townsend, which drew headlines last summer for announcing a guest bartender program that would pay royalties for original cocktails, made the Statesman’s own roundup of Austin’s best new hangouts at the end of last year. Both places are among the best bars in Austin for good drinks, a comfortable ambience and knowledgeable bartenders.

And, if you agree, you can vote for Small Victory and the Townsend to make Playboy’s upcoming “Best 10 New Bars in America.”

For the remainder of August, support your favorite bar by voting for it once a day. (Unfortunately, you can only choose one each day.) The winners of this poll will be announced in Playboy’s November issue. Vote for Small Victory here and for the Townsend here.

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