Isla, the sister bar to Peche, has now closed in Austin’s Warehouse District

Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Isla, once home to Caribbean-style cocktails, is closing down.

Once a rum bar and restaurant serving up Caribbean-style food to patrons, Isla made the switch late last year to Peruvian cuisine and cocktails but couldn’t seem to find its groove. The sister spot to French-focused Peche announced this morning on social media that Isla has closed.

The announcement came through Chef Julio-Cesar Flórez, a Peruvian native who helped the restaurant redirect its culinary program to the flavors of South America.

“Isla closed,” he wrote in a Facebook post that was then re-posted on Isla’s Facebook and Instagram. “It was my pleasure and honor to bring Peruvian food of this quality to this city. I hope to do it again soon, it has always been my mission, and I know I won a lot of hearts during this short period.”

Owner Rob Pate, who opened the city’s first absinthe bar with Peche, took over the short-lived Pleasant Storage Room next door to Peche in late 2014, when the rum bar styled after a popular Cuban watering hole abruptly closed. He decided not to change the focus of Isla from its former incarnation, creating a menu of tropical drinks and food.

Isla became the place to go for almost exclusively tiki-style cocktails paired with island fare. It then transitioned to more of a Caribbean cantina until Flórez’ Peruvian influence. And for Pate, through all of his project’s changes, Isla remained a special place because of the people who worked there to make it what it needed to be.

“It is never an easy thing to close something that so many people have put a great deal of effort into,” he said in an emailed statement. “We were blessed at Isla to have a great core of employees, and I think that is what hurts the most. We will take a couple of weeks to figure out our next step and go from there.”

Isla’s last day was Sunday, when it hosted a final brunch.

Downtown jazz & blues club Brass House to shutter

Julia Robinson for American-Statesman. Evgueniy "Gene" Todorov, left, and Jason White, right, dreamed of opening a bar from their Marine outpost in Afghanistan in 2012. They opened the Brass House, a jazz and blues club, in downtown Austin in February 2013, but are now at risking of losing it to rising costs.
Julia Robinson for American-Statesman. Evgueniy “Gene” Todorov, left, and Jason White, right, dreamed of opening a bar from their Marine outpost in Afghanistan in 2012. They opened the Brass House, a jazz and blues club, in downtown Austin in February 2013, but are now closing it down.

A little over a year after owners of Brass House raised money to help the jazz-focused restaurant and venue stay open, co-owner Jason White announced that it’s shutting down after all.

“Due to the rising tide of the downtown Austin rental market, lack of free parking, and unforeseen circumstances, Brass House will be closing its doors permanently,” he wrote on Brass House’s Facebook page last week.

It’ll close this weekend after being opened Friday and Saturday only, although the restaurant portion of the venue is already no longer in service.

White and his co-founder, Gene Todorov, opened their dream business in February 2013 as two Marine veterans who often relied on music to stay sane during multiple deployments to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American-Statesman’s Nancy Flores profiled them in November of that year, writing about how Brass House helped them to readjust to civilian life.

“On a recent Thursday night,” she wrote, “Brass House buzzed with an eclectic mix of patrons: professionals in suits, young hipsters, women sipping wine. The elegant wallpaper, vintage-inspired chandeliers and plush booths couldn’t be farther from the dusty terrain of southern Afghanistan. Blues-funk-soul outfit Mojo House grooved on stage.”

Bid the bar adieu by listening to Brass House’s final acts. Candy DeClue and Christian Wiggs & V15 Quartet perform on Friday, while Karen Tennison Trio and All U Need take the stage for the last time Saturday.

“Please come out and support the Austin live music scene and staff as we say good-bye,” White said on Facebook. “Thank you for all your love and support these past four years.”