If you're not familiar with the area, George's Keep is not the easiest place to find. Tucked away in Eilan, the mixed-use development near The Shops at La Cantera, George's Keep reigns as a significant, standalone bar.
Climb the concrete steps past the water fountain — or take the nearby elevator — and you'll come upon a modestly sized patio with metal chairs and tables on the terrace level of the building.
George's Keep, open for two years now, is the creation of Steve Mahoney, who has a track record of opening taverns in unique spaces that turn into neighborhood hot spots, each with its own personality and vibe. Mahoney also opened the Blue Box in a former storage room at Pearl, Green Lantern in a former basement in Stone Oak, and Francis Bogside as a New York-style gastropub in Southtown.
Visitors can enjoy marble tops on the front L-shaped bar with warm lighting illuminating the shelves where bottles of spirits sit. There are a few cozy booths and small tables on the side of the front bar if you want a more intimate spot or cannot find a seat at the counter.
Further in the back of George's Keep lies a larger second room where lighting is kept at a low level and leather booths surround the copper-topped bar. This room is also a space for live music, which ranges from singer/songwriters to the one-and-only Jim Cullum Jazz Band.
But let's get back to the main issue at hand — the beverages. Each room at George's Keep is capable of producing a variety of traditional, contemporary, and custom cocktails. Currently, George's Keep is offering drinks such as The Antoinette with vodka, Bauchant, lemon, sugar, fresh blackberries, and sparkling wine. There's La Diabla, with tequila, mezcal, lime, ginger beer, and creme de mure. And there's also the popular Northwest Side, with vodka, lime, sugar, serrano, and cucumber.
George's Keep also has a small yet potent stock of wine and beer on hand. The brews are available on tap, canned, or bottled, and include local companies like Freetail and Karbach. Jennifer Pendergast, a manager and bartender, says the menu has a few additions, cocktail- and beer-wise, for spring and summer tastes.
There's no food, so it's all about the drinks — and a variety of cigars, too — for the time being at George's Keep. Happy hour satisfies virtually anyone seeking a serious cocktail, and it's hard to beat the $5.50 cocktails (3 to 8 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, all day Sunday and Monday).
The clientele at George's Keep is made up of Eilan residents and folks on their way to a nearby restaurant or en route home from work. But there are other visitors — area residents and cocktail fans — who have come to appreciate the hideaway where the atmosphere is inviting to all.
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