Drinking fine wine is an important part of many of our travels (especially if you’re a Napa and Sonoma junkie like I am), but how about sipping your favorite varietal as a way to make the actual planning of the trip easier to swallow? And no, I’m not talking about pouring yourself some cheap Pinot Grigio while you sit on kayak.com. Leave it to enterprising Austin to open the first ever travel agency / bar hybrid — and I just happened to be in town for its grand opening. The bar was fun enough (and the treats tasty enough) to hang out at even if your Next Big Trip isn’t around the corner, and I love the idea of attracting like-minded travel folk to one locale, regardless of actual trip-planning needs. But while you’re there, why not flip through some guidebooks to see what luxury travel might entice you?
Allow me to introduce you to Departure Lounge.
Everything about Departure Lounge is expertly curated to attract big-time travelers. It’s just the kind of place where I’d love to hang out! They have an excellent happy hour with wines and snacks from around the world, and there is plenty to entertain the travel-intrigued imbiber.
Departure Lounge is the first of its kind, but owner Keith Waldon promises that it won’t be the last. The native Texan worked for the luxury travel agency Virtuoso for 25 years before leaving to start his lounges, and Departure Lounge remains a member of the prestigious network.
While you’re sipping wine or coffee at Departure Lounge, the international menu will get you in the mood to flip through some guidebooks. See something you like? Travel agents are on call at all times to come down to the bar and help you. (Hours are 7 am – 11 pm Mon-Thurs, 7 am-midnight Fri, 8 am-midnight Sat, 8 am-10 pm Sun.)
Is all of this travel planning and sipping international beverages revving up your appetite? In addition to snacks such as Turkish fig salad and a Persian pita plate, Departure Lounge serves up sweets such as cake balls and fruit tarts.
I see endless possibilities for events, parties and shows at a place like this. What sort of themed hang-out appeals to you?
311 W. 5th St.
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