Serious Eats: Drinks
Happy Hour, Austin: Liberty Bar
How often does a happy hour sign outside convince you to actually walk in? We were technically already headed to the Liberty Bar in Austin, but the chalkboard sign out front confirmed this was the right place, right time. "Hoppy Hours 4-9, Ery Day Fools!" (How convenient, that's today.)
Head inside for cheap beers: $1.50 cans of PBR and Pearl, and $1 off drafts, including Austin's own Live Oak Pilz (we went with that). It's a refreshing Czech-style pilsner with clean hints of pine and citrus. If you're in more of a hard liquor mood, the wells are $2.50 and $3 for Jagermeister, Firefly sweet tea vodka, and Tito's handmade vodka (Austin's own).
It was a little dark inside the bar for 5:15 p.m. on a sunny Friday, so we headed out back for the picnic tables and spunky mobile kitchen of East Side Kings. Admittedly, the trip to Liberty Bar had much to do with ESK's fried brussel sprouts—an overflowing pile of roasted-then-fried brussels in an Asian sweet-spicy dressing with fresh cilantro, mint, basil, onions, and jalapenos. Something about the combo of heat, crunch, sweetness, and tang makes you want to shovel this into your mouth. Brussel sprouts = bar food? It sure works here. We also couldn't resist ordering the "tongue bun." The East Side Kings menu becomes the de-facto happy hour menu, and a very happy-making one at that.
As with most summertime backyard seating, beware of the relentless 'squitos. They'll descend upon your fried brussel sprouts and buns despite all attempts to whack them far away. We eventually admitted defeat and let them finish up the last bites.