• Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

New East Austin Restaurant Uptown Sports Club by Aaron Franklin Opens


May 25, 2023

Earlier this spring, a new all-day bar and restaurant touting New Orleans fare and ambiance with Texas tinges, produced its way into in East Austin beneath the energy group of pitmaster Aaron Franklin and music maven James Moody. Uptown Sports Club opened at 1200 East Sixth Street on March 27.

Uptown had been a extended time coming for the abandoned creating on the corner of East Sixth and Waller Streets. The physical space was constructed in the 1890s and was a bakery/butcher shop/market place, per the Towers. And then it became a bar and cafe known as the Sport Bar by owner Arnold Hernandez in the 1960s into the 1990s when its name changed to Uptown Sports Club (therefore the present name) beneath son Ron Hernandez. Arnold died in 2000 and Ron had planned on reopening the business enterprise afterward, but he died in 2014 through a motorcycle accident.

Then, in 2016, Franklin, Moody, and Jason Jones (a lawyer in Fort Worth) purchased the historic creating, as reported by Austin Month-to-month by way of the Hernandez family members. Their intention was normally to open a sandwich-geared restaurant and bar, as Eater Austin uncovered in 2020. Moody, who is from New Orleans, and Franklin has family members from the state, according to Statesman. There was a point when the defunct creating had been flyered with what-turned-out-to-be fake indicators announcing that a Chili’s was going to open back in 2017 (see if you can locate the Chili’s cap in the space).

A restaurant corner with a brick wall, an array of hanging sports pennants, and a large green plant on the floor.

A corner featuring sports pennants and plants at Uptown Sports Club.

Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

The resulting Uptown Sports Club is an all-day spot with a New Orleans-leaning meals and drinks menu (no reservations). Of the former, there are po’ boys produced with bread from New Orleans bakery Leidenheimer Baking Enterprise, with fillings like hot roast beef fried Gulf shrimp, fried green tomatoes and a club with roast beef, smoked turkey, and bacon. Then there’s a chicken and sausage gumbo with rice caviar served with New Orleans’s Zapp’s chips and red beans with rice. (Franklin has produced each gumbo and pulled pork po’ boys for meals events in 2016 and 2017.) And, a great deal like several restaurants opening these days, there’s a raw bar with seafood platters, East Coast oysters, and shrimp cocktails.

And then, drinks consist of cocktails like the namesake Uptown with mezcal, sotol, yellow chartreuse, and a rosemary straightforward the Rope a Dop with gin, St. Germain, and an absinthe mist and the Corkscrew Punch with vodka, rum, and pineapple. The bar does serve classic New Orleans drinks like Sazeracs, Vieux Carre, and French 75s produced with cognac. There’s a sturdy nonalcoholic cocktail displaying as well, such as the No Hitter produced with a boozeless whiskey, and the Low Blow with a nonalcoholic spirit that is a mix of allspice and cardamom.

There are also freezes — primarily slushies in flavor combinations like orange and cream cherry jubilee, and chicory and chocolate — that can be boozified, as a nod to New Orleans diner Camellia Grill, as reported by Statesman. Plus, per its daytime hours, there are coffees and teas, freshly squeezed juices, morning cocktails (such as a bloody mary produced with a Franklin Barbecue spice rim), beers (such as a collaboration with Meanwhile Brewing), and wines by the glass and bottle.

A bowl of gumbo.

The gumbo at Uptown Sports Club.

Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

A sandwich.

A po’ boy from Uptown Sports Club.

Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Pink cooked shrimp hanging out a glass of ice.

The shrimp cocktail at Uptown Sports Club.

Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Rounding out the culinary group is chef de cuisine Rene Garza, who previously worked at sibling Mexican restaurant Suerte and its seafood counterpart Este. Then there’s bar manager Ericka Predmore (per Statesman) and bar consultant Robert Björn Taylor (who consulted on Moody’s other current bar Gear Space).

The space was redone by Tenaya Hills (who is Bunkhouse Group’s senior vice president of design and style and improvement), along with her design and style partners Rose Barnett and Paige Finley, plus Hsu Workplace of Architecture’s Michael Hsu and Ken Johnson. Moody approached Hills about functioning on the restaurant, which tends to make sense seeing as the two also worked on Bunkhouse hotel bar Gear Space (see above).

Offered the East Sixth Street building’s history, the design and style/building teams had to preserve several elements of the important structure. This played nicely seeing that Hills really got her masters degree in historic preservation from the University of Texas at Austin.

“We wanted it to really feel like it is normally been right here,” Hills tells Eater in late March. “We wanted it to have the classic underlay, but we wanted to make it really feel like it had been remodeled more than the years. It need to have layers and layers and layers.” The group restored the windows, doors, and ceilings of the current structure.

There are no televisions, in spite of the uncomplicated assumption folks can make that it is a sports bar per the name. So in order to design and style the space, the teams leaned into the thought of sportsmanship. There are pennants on the walls, hanging boxing gloves, vintage photographs, and other associated objects,

A tiled floor that reads “be a sport.”

The entryway of Uptown Sports Club.

Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

The corner portion of the bar is an antique sourced from Philadelphia — the group replicated the rest of the wraparound bar. Likewise, the smaller sized booths along a wall are from Philadelphia as nicely. Elsewhere, there are neon indicators announcing cocktails and sandwiches, loads of plants, a brick wall, mosaic tiles (such as at the entrance urging folks to “be a sport”), and person round red tables with gold trim.

This is not the 1st Franklin-Moody group-up. That is their meals and music festival Hot Luck, along with Portland-primarily based Mike Thelin, which is really taking location this week.

Also beneath Franklin’s belt is Asian smokehouse restaurant Loro with Uchi’s Tyson Cole, which has places in Austin, Dallas, and a forthcoming a single for Houston. He also has published many books about barbecuing and other reside-fire/meat cooking, with his most current a single, Franklin Smoke, which came out earlier this month.

Moody is also the owner of downtown music venue the Mohawk, and is the co-founder of branding firm Guerilla Suit (which also did Uptown’s branding).

Uptown Sports Club is open from eight a.m. to two a.m. Wednesday by way of Monday. There are indoor and outside dine-in solutions.

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