Bringing good food, good times and revelry to Anderson Lane.
By Shelley Seale, Photos by JoJo Marion
The Goodnight is the magnificent aftermath of a few too many happy hour cocktails and a spirited conversation about a love for fine foods and fine fun. Austin’s newest addition to the multi-activity lounge concept, the goodnight opened in the Village on Anderson lane in November 2012, and bills itself as “absurdly magnificent.”
Stepping into The Goodnight is like stepping into an adult playground with an 80-person social dining room, a groovy bar and lounge where Dean Martin might feel at home, eight vintage bowling lanes, four custom billiards tables, two table-tennis courts, shuffleboard tables, an outdoor deck and two private conference parlors. There is also constant live music and DJ mixing on the calendar.
As the website states: “Fueled by a passion for not taking ourselves too seriously, we seriously found everything that embodies revelry and packaged it under one roof.”
The key clientele are people who are looking to do more than just sit and drink, says General Manager Mo Wark.
“The idea is we are much more than a bar and restaurant,” Wark says. “We keep one hand occupied with food and drink and your other hand occupied with games.”
Wark, who comes from a service-industry background spanning 16 years, admits that the gaming isn’t bright and shiny, but insists that is part of the charm—and part of what makes The Goodnight a quintessential Austin place.
“We do not have professional-quality table games, and our bowling alley is old and worn in, but it’s fun,” he says. “We want to offer an upscale, laid-back, professional and fun environment. Some of those words may seem like oxymorons, but if you’ve lived in Austin long enough, then you know it exists.”
Wark says his team built The Goodnight because they love to have fun, but ultimately, they take quality and service very seriously. The newest addition is a karaoke room, which was completed in February, and they are in the process of adding plants to the patio to make it a more lush and inviting space for springtime.
A native Austinite, Wark graduated from the University of Texas with a liberal arts degree, which he admits has not been very useful in his chosen career, except as a conversation starter. He has worked throughout Austin in the restaurant service industry, and has done everything from bartending and serving to management. He spent many years at Guero’s Taco Bar, and oversaw the opening of Uncle Billy’s on Lake Travis.
“It’s really exciting seeing how far Austin has come in the last five to 10 years with restaurants and bars,” he says. “This city is so supportive of new local businesses.”
Wark is also a big foodie himself, frequently visiting favorite restaurants throughout town, such as Buenos Aires Cafe, East Side Show Room and Uchiko (when he can afford it). Perhaps this is why Wark strives to offer an above-the-bar dining experience, with elegant comfort food that people can recognize, but with a twist to surprise the palate.
With items like chicken-fried antelope, bison meatball sliders and a braised pork belly pizza, the menu definitely surprises. Case in point: the chicken-fried antelope, a free-range antelope steak deep fried, covered in jalapeño gravy and served with a side of goat cheese mashed potatoes. Wark’s pick for a drink from the bar would be the Cajun Lemonade, using fresh-squeezed lemonade infused with serrano peppers, and a shot of Maker’s Mark bourbon.
“We hope to bring food and drink to our customers that is consistently delicious,” he says.
2 cups sugar
4 serranos, sliced
2 ounces Maker’s Mark (or your favorite bourbon)
splash of soda
Make a spicy serrano simple syrup by boiling two cups of water and two cups of sugar in a pot. Add four sliced serranos (more or less depending on how spicy you want it) and heat over low-medium heat. Let this simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes to get the serrano flavor infused. Strain the serranos and pour the simple syrup into any container to let it cool to room temperature. This is great for lots of drinks and can be done with your favorite flavor (cucumber, cranberries, strawberries, etc). Mix 1 ounce of the simple syrup with the bourbon and soda in a tall glass over ice. Fill to top with fresh lemonade and garnish with a lemon wedge. Stir and enjoy.