Although you won’t mistake the Golden Goose for the bar that came before it, the iconic Horseshoe Lounge that closed earlier this year, it’s stayed true to the dive bar spirit of the original, with low lighting, beer in cans and bottles, and shuffleboard and a jukebox. Now that it’s found its stride, the Goose is ready for its official debut — the owners are throwing a grand opening party on Nov. 12.
The grand opening, starting at 4 p.m. and running throughout the night, will center around live music from Austin band Them Duqaines and include plenty of rounds of shuffleboard and drinks.
Local bar owners Jason Steward, of Bungalow and Bar 2211, and Sean Fric, of J. Black’s Feel Good Kitchen and Lounge, took over the Horseshoe Lounge space in the spring with plans to keep some of the things that made the 50-year-old bar so special to its regulars. But they’ve also added cocktails and other elements to the Golden Goose, creating a comfortable, dimly lit atmosphere complete with a copper tile ceiling, antique church pews and the same worn stone walls of the Horseshoe Lounge.
“We’ve been able to bring in some of the old regulars, as well as newcomers who are just looking for a good neighborhood bar,” Steward said, adding that he, Fric and general manager Jason Wilson have wanted to keep it a dive bar at heart.
Wilson noted that some of the Horseshoe regulars who still stop by regale him with tales of long-ago Horseshoe: that the building, for example, was built in 1953 and used to be known as the Rock Pile. He’s happy to hear their stories, he said; at least the longtime customers keep coming back.
The Golden Goose offers beers like Independence Brewing’s Stash IPA, Austin Beerworks’ Pearl Snap Pils and Uncle Billy’s Humbucker Helles. The cocktails, Fric said, are kept simple and straightforward, like the frozen Moscow Mule made with Deep Eddy Vodka that he said is easily the bar’s most popular drink. (My personal favorite was the Disiac, a striking mix of Hendrick’s gin, fresh beet juice, Cointreau lime juice and soda.)
Also important to Fric and Steward was the shuffleboard table that runs along one wall of the bar. Although it’s not the same one that used to be at the Horseshoe Lounge — this one’s new and professional-grade from shuffleboard pro Don Valk — the shuffleboard table has already seen many a game play out, including ones between friendly competitors Fric, Steward and Wilson.
Against the opposite wall, the jukebox holds more than 1,500 tracks — “jumping from Frank Sinatra to Tupac to local guys the Crooks” — Fric said, all songs that he and Steward carefully compiled. “We didn’t just want the greatest hits from each artist,” he said.
Above all, he, Steward and Wilson are looking to create a cozy little sanctuary on South Lamar Boulevard.
“We’re happy to take over an iconic spot,” Wilson said. “We just want to do right by the neighborhood. That’s what we’re going for.”
Located at 2034 South Lamar Blvd., the Golden Goose is open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. For more information, follow the bar on social media at @TheGooseAustin.