Big Bang. 412 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
Visited 4/26/17 @ 9pm.
Flaming Dreamsicle. Pinnacle whipped cream vodka, Licor 43, orange Fanta. $8.75.
Drinks that involve fire are cool; on this I think we can all agree. I would have thought that they're as exasperating for the bartenders to make as they are exciting for the patron to drink, but on a slow night like it was, the bartender practically demanded that we try these, I guess as opposed to him having to make his ten millionth plain-Jane Jameson shot. Here's how it works, if you have somehow never had a flaming drink before: you stand back while the bartender holds a mouthful of booze in his mouth, splashes a bit more on the bar and lights it, then dips his finger in the puddle's flame, holds the lit finger to his mouth, and spits fire across the row of drinks, which ignites them all in a spectacular fireball. The flaming shots fall into the beers and are instantly extinguished in time for you to then grab your glass and chug, to the general approval of the bar. The Flaming Dr Pepper is the gold standard for this type of drink; this differs only in that it tastes like an orange Dreamsicle thanks to the Licor 43, a Spanish citrus liqueur with 43 "secret ingredients". That seems like an excessive number of secret ingredients for a citrus liqueur (it's not a fried chicken recipe or a nuclear warhead), but the end product was exactly the kind of childhood taste memory in a glass you'd want. They also have plenty of other, more complex shots that looked great.
Travis, Hannah, Rome, Aaron, Davis.
I didn't put this together until the bartender told me, but Friends, Big Bang. and Cheers are all part of the same TV show-themed bar family. I personally would quibble with some of those specific choices, but the general concept is sound, and of course I suppose there are far worse things to start naming your bars after: war criminals, venereal diseases, and so forth. Keep in mind that these bars share only the name with their respective shows, so don't walk into this bar expecting the same level of laugh-a-minute zaniness that's kept that lovable band of misfits a prime-time network television comedy sensation for so many years; this isn't that kind of place. It's fairly low-frills: a small dance area beside the door leads up to the main and only bar, with the typically narrow queueing area eventually leading to the back of the establishment. Nothing fancy, but you're not reading this for the architectural details, right?
I say this a lot, but going to bars on a quiet weeknight like Wednesday gives you a vastly different experience than going at peak times. Sure, the nightlife is turned down a little, but the opportunity to have a good time with your own crew more than makes up for it, as long as your crew is good (it is, right?), plus you get vastly better service, especially when the bar staff is as friendly as Big Bang's was. I think what a lot of people get wrong about Dirty Sixth is that they're looking for each interaction to knock their socks off at all times, and they put far too much weight on the flashiness of the bar. In reality, the bars are for the most part fairly similar, staff are generally pretty competent, and it's the attitude of the patrons that makes the biggest difference in how much fun a bar is. Most of the time, you bring your own happiness with you, and we had a blast here.