You first have to know the back story before I get into the whole reason of why this place is so close to my heart. I met my dear friend, Lauren Bade Cone, 27 years ago while helping my father paint the signs and front windows for her store. The one thing I came to find out about my friend was that she is transparent, the kindest, most caring and loving person you will ever meet.
Approximately eight years ago, Lauren invited my family and me to drive down to Victoria to visit her Bar, 77901, and the connected retail store. So on a blazing August weekend, we journeyed to South Texas to discover what all the fuss was about. It was early in the day but hot as blazes when we opened the door and walked into the cool elegance of the 1940's.
Haven't we all watched some dynamic movie where we turn and exclaim to the person next to us, "Can you imagine living during that time period? Just look at how classy everything and everyone looks!" Don't get me wrong; I love my modern amenities, but everything at 77901 was just exquisite! Lauren has such an eye for detail and not one detail had been missed. I thought to myself," I could hang out here every day." But the truth was that I couldn't, because I didn't live in Victoria. After that fantasy weekend, it was back to reality for me.
Fast forward eight years and I had just finished my training at Escoffier and was thinking about how to use my new skills, so I took on a restaurant consulting job to test the waters. I have to admit that it was fun and challenging, but something was missing. I wasn't sure what it was at but after signing off from that job, I came to realize that it wasn't just about doing the tasks I had been given. I needed to feel that I was a part of something bigger. I wanted to use my skills in the best possible way, while working among people that I truly cared about in the process.
In the fall of 2016, Lauren and her husband Dr. Cone, announced that they had decided to move the bar from Victoria , Texas, to Fredericksburg. The plan was to open the bar early next spring.
It wasn't as simple as just bringing things from point A to point B. Lauren's retail store had been in that building for quite some time. Her devoted friend Joe Hernandez, who had been doing remodeling and restorations for her for many years, had been given the task of constructing a new building and moving the entire store to the back. If you know Lauren, then you know it's hard to say "No", so when she asked for help, everyone put a hand to the task. Joe began construction and all the retail ladies began to pack the shop and restore furniture that was going to be used in the bar. I ran network cables and researched the fine art of concocting cocktails. It took five months to get the store moved to the back and the bar situated and ready to open. And open we did on February 14th, 2017!
78624 The Bar was now open and we were ready to go! I had never worked a bar before nor had the ladies who were employed in the retail store, but everyone, including Lauren, was pouring, waiting, and washing dishes, alongside the new hired help. We all felt like family ever after, and it was natural to take on this new project together.
It's going on three years now and the bar continues to grow. The menu offers a variety of classic cocktails , but our most requested drink is the per-prohibition "Old Fashioned". A lot of thought is put into our cocktails and each one is handcrafted meticulously. Artisan ice is available upon request. The Bar carries the largest selection of imported wines in town and an array of spirits and just recently became the exclusive carrier in Fredericksburg of " Family Business Beer Company".
We also serve exquisite charcuterie boards with an array of specialty meats and cheeses. The mood is set as soon as you walk in and you are greeted with a gentle smile. The unique decor and warm tones that bring comfort to your eyes make you want to just find a comfy seat and let your troubles drift away. Whether it be the classic standard or a twist on a modern pop-song, the music starts and you're in for a treat from our local musicians. You have the option to prop yourself up by the elegant bar and watch as our staff creates some delicious cocktails, or you could flop in a leather couch to enjoy your drink. If you need tranquility, check out the beautiful courtyard, where you'll be under the spell of the koi pond or cozy fireplace. I also encourage you to grab your drink and visit the Lauren Bade retail shop located across the courtyard, where you can shop for unique finds. It doesn't matter if you're a local or visiting for the day, you will feel at home when you visit 78624 The Bar.
This is a place to slow down, relax and savor the moment. The drinks, music, and staff will leave you wanting to come back for more. I hope to see you soon, my friends. I'm usually there on the weekends playing music with the Trey Shoots Trio, greeting people at the door or making the occasional cocktail. Remember when you visit the bar, you're family, so drink, eat, and be merry!
Chef Leo Aguirre