Austin bar pours energy into party and safety for the Big Game

Bartender pours drinks at Dogwood Rock Rose (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)
Bartender pours drinks at Dogwood Rock Rose (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin bars are filling up fast on this Friday night, but many are pouring most of their energy into Sunday.

“I’d like to see the Falcons win,” said Jessica Lombardi, general manager at Dogwood Rock Rose at the Domain. “I think they’ve kinda been the underdogs this entire season.”

She says they could be close to capacity with more than 700 football fans on game day drawn in by their 38 televisions screens, plus a 40-foot projector and 1,200 pounds of craw fish for a party they’re calling the “Super Boil.”

“We’re doing craw fish, corn, potatoes and sausage,” said assistant manager Simeon Basinger, who is in charge of the food, but on many days you’ll find him behind the bar.

Even when the Big Game isn’t on the big screen, he has to pay attention to how much alcohol he’s serving customers and speak up when it’s time to cut someone off.

“It’s fairly easy to have that conversation,” said Basinger. “You start off by offering them water, and we have coupons around the bar for Fasten since Uber is gone, and cabs are constantly up here.”

Lombari says their bartenders are big proponents of safety.

“I’ve pulled up Fasten on my phone before for convenience sake,” said Lombardi. “I would much rather give out that $20 to make sure that person who is inside my bar gets home safe.”

Austin police will have their “no refusal” weekend initiative in effect until early Sunday morning. That means officers who pull over a suspected drunk driver can get a warrant to have their blood drawn, if they refuse a breathalyzer.

Typically officers streamline the process by parking a bus in a spot near the jail where medical staff can do the blood draws before booking suspects into jail. KXAN is told the bus is out of commission right now, but it will not slow down officers this weekend when it comes to getting drunk drivers off the street.

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