A new bar from the owner of Icenhauer’s will have a very different vibe and atmosphere than the laid-back Rainey Street bungalow once it opens in September.
Sellers, at 213 W. Fourth St., is on the road to becoming an underground cocktail lounge in the Warehouse District, with venerated local design firm Michael Hsu Office of Architecture in charge of transforming the space into Michael Icenhauer’s vision.
“Glowing bottles will illuminate a rich atmosphere of velvet, brass and wood, giving Sellers the feel of a 1970s basement lounge in modern downtown Austin,” according to the design firm.
Icenhauer knew he wanted to open a second bar after the success of his eponymous Rainey Street spot, which has become known for its infusions and cocktails named after some of the women in Icenhauer’s life. But the bar owner didn’t want his new project to be too similar to Icenhauer’s.
“I didn’t think we could do another Icenhauer’s so close in the vicinity,” he said. “I wanted something with more of a club vibe, which fits in the area where Sellers will be.”
Still, he’s keeping one element of the new bar similar to Icenhauer’s: Sellers is named after two women important to him. It’s “my mom and my maternal grandmother’s maiden name,” he said. “I don’t know if they would want me to use it for a bar, but I think it’s a cool name. The bar is also half a story underground, so the name doubles as a play on words. But we don’t want people to think we are a wine bar.”
Instead, Sellers will specialize in classic cocktails like martinis.
“I think martinis are something Austin doesn’t have right now,” he said. “Austin has established itself as an entertainment hub and tourist destination, and we think we can offer something new while still maintaining the authentic Austin vibe. The plan is to do a mix of classics with fun (cocktails), like Icenhauer’s.”
With 5,800 sq. ft., Sellers has plenty of room for a bar, lounge seating, a dance floor and private event space. Icenhauer hopes to have it opened around Labor Day weekend, although the timing depends on construction. (And the workers have already had plenty to do: 213 W. Fourth St. used to be the address of one of the infamous Yassine bars, Qua, where a shark tank below the dance floor enraged animal rights’ activists. Icenhauer has taken it out.)
And don’t expect Sellers to be the last bar project from Icenhauer. He recently formed Icenhauer Ventures with plans for more to come.
“Icenhauer’s has been really successful and practically runs itself,” he said. “So we were looking for a new project to expand our horizons, and Sellers fulfills that.”