A Higher Ground Above ATX

Emma Cain

Higher Ground is an eclectic new gastro pub meets craft cocktail bar in downtown Austin. It is in a very spacious location with two levels of seating, each with a bar, and a rooftop patio. Their slogan is “a nightlife social space for enlightened spirits with elevated soul in Austin, Texas,” and their ‘seven deadly sins’ cocktails, vintage organ transformed into a DJ booth, and décor stick to that theme, creating a unique and mysterious atmosphere. The bar manager for Higher Ground came over from local favorite Whistlers, which is another great cocktail bar in Austin.

The Cocktails

Higher Ground uses a really unique concept of the ‘seven deadly sins’ to craft cocktails, with ingredients that fit each sin. Gluttony was my personal favorite cocktail. It was their take on an espresso martini, with Absolut vodka, heavy cream, coffee dem, licor 43, and nutmeg. It is perfectly balanced with the right combination and sweet, creamy, and coffee.

My partner’s favorite cocktail was Lust, which has Alto’s tequila, Vida mezcal, lime, house made strawberry syrup, blackberries, and absinth. It is strong, but still has the right balance of sweet and fruity flavors to balance it out perfectly. We also tried Pride, which has Absolut vodka, house made watermelon & cucumber syrup, lime, rum, and clement mahina coconut liqueur. These drinks are comparable to the level of craft and balance that makes places like Whistlers’ cocktails stand out to me.

The ‘Lust’ Cocktail

The Bar Food

The food is what I would call ‘classy bar food’, and super delicious. We tried their house-cut fries served with pickled pimento cheese. I always like to order a restaurant’s fries as a kind of judge for the quality of the food, and these were amazing. The pimento cheese was the perfect combination of creamy and spicy, with pickled peppers adding a new twist to the dish. We also tried their charcuterie, a group favorite with a selection of meats, cheeses, olives and bread.

Lastly, their prosciutto and cheddar crochette was divine. A fried batter mixed with cheddar and prosciutto, a spicy fra diavolo sauce served alongside cut through the rich taste perfectly. We mainly stuck to appetizers during our visit, but they do have some entrée-esque dishes. The Higher Burger, eggplant parmesan, and a crispy porchetta all sounded intriguing. 

The Charcuterie Board

Higher Ground is a great new late-night spot located in a historic two-story building right in the center of downtown Austin. The ambiance is unique, completed with a LED-lit vintage organ, gold embellishments, and taxidermy. It seems to be the perfect location for a 16th century renaissance masquerade ball. This is definitely a place I will be returning too, rivaling for a spot as my favorite cocktail bar.