A pair of local bar owners are hoping day drinkers and late-night crowds alike will flock to their second concept in North Austin — a cozy neighborhood bar called Night Owl, opening soon in the Wooten area of Austin.
At 8315 Burnet Rd., Night Owl will have classic and original cocktails, bottled and canned beer, and a small selection of wine. It’s a drinks program that co-owners Danny Parrott and Jonathan Insley hope will be regularly enjoyed by residents in the neighborhood as well as other locals.
“We want to create a cool place for people in the area to walk to that’s nice and friendly. The kind of place where you’ll know the person behind the bar,” Parrott said.
He and Insley also own the Old School Bar and Grill on Sixth Street, a multi-story restaurant, bar and live music venue that opened in 2011. Though it’s much larger and draws big crowds, it operates now as a well-oiled machine — which means that the entrepreneurs got the itch to find a new, very different bar project in another part of town.
They wanted something smaller and more low-key, for starters, and found it when Parrott came across a tiny shopping complex on Burnet Road, just south of Highway 183, that seemed to be the perfect location. As soon as he’d seen it, he said, he envisioned one of the spaces as a hangout for Wooten residents. The neighborhood is bounded by the highway, Burnet Road and West Anderson Lane, and Night Owl is right on the border of it.
“When my business partner and I started talking about the concept and the philosophy behind it, it morphed into this idea of a neighborhood bar with craft beer and a slightly higher-end cocktail menu,” he said.
Cocktails are going to be a mix of classics like a Manhattan and a French 75 and more original options all named after surrounding neighborhoods and streets, such as Burnet, Crestview, Allandale and Brentwood. These drinks didn’t draw inspiration for their ingredients from each place but instead represent Night Owl’s embrace of the area, Parrott said.
They’re also going to be relatively simple, with “three or four high-quality ingredients,” he said. “We’re not wanting to have seven-adjective drinks with smoke coming out of them. We just want to offer a nice solid drink for someone, or they can get a Lone Star with a shot of whiskey if they want. We want people to know they can find what they’re looking for when they come here.”
That includes good beer. Night Owl is focusing primarily on local and regional brews, all in bottles or cans and not on draft because of the bar’s small size. Parrott is also hoping that food trucks will be able to park nearby so that dinner and drinks will be available all in one place.
“Neighbors have been popping in and say, ‘Hey, it looks great; when does it open?'” he said. “We’re hoping to engage people to come over and have a good time with us. Once a month, maybe we’ll do a cookout outside with burgers. Or have a crawfish boil…. Being so close to a neighborhood, that lends itself to day drinking. People no longer have to go downtown or up to the Domain to do that. But we’ll have a night crowd, too, as the name suggests.”
There isn’t a set opening date for the bar yet, although Parrott hopes that construction will be done by the end of next week.
Once it’s finished, Night Owl will have a “vintage warehouse feel,” with exposed brick, reclaimed wood, concrete floors, exposed Edison bulbs, vintage sconces and a long tufted booth running the length of one wall.
It’s a look nothing like the one Old School Bar and Grill has. And it will probably be very different from the next place that Parrott and Insley open together — another bar on the opposite side of town.
“That’s our goal as well. To have one bar south, one downtown and one north,” Parrott said.
Night Owl’s hours are tentatively set for 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. or noon to 2 a.m. on weekends. Keep an eye on the bar’s social media for a more solid opening date.