On our trip to Mexico’s tequila region last year, we met the proprietor of an establishment in Austin, Michael Parker of Opal Divine’s Freehouse. Rochelle and I were thrilled to hear about a good place for tequila in Austin, and at the trip’s end, promised to visit him at his restaurant when we flew back for Thanksgiving, less than a month later.
And visit we did! We hit Opal Divine’s our second night in town, and liked it so much that in spite of a compressed schedule visiting Rochelle’s relations we found a way to squeeze it in again right before our return flight.
Opal Divine’s is quite a bar, with a truly fabulous selection of most liquors including tequila, a stupendous selection of interesting beers from here and abroad, and what must be a U.S. Top 5 selection of single malt Scotch — certainly the best I’ve seen (and we have a great Scotch bar in SF, The Irish Bank).
Rochelle and I certainly know how to entertain ourselves in a good bar, but what takes Opal Divine’s up to the next level, to our only must-visit in all of Texas, is the food. Really, there’s no requirement for Michael to have such good food — decent pub grub would be more than enough to make the patrons happy and coming back to drink more.
His food doesn’t need to be outstanding for him to be successful — but it is. We were reminded of that again this evening, when we made everything right with our day by going and having the tasting sampler of Scotch to start (six single malts from all the Scotch regions), and then eating a great chicken fried steak and an incredible patty melt.