Braunda and Jesse Smith are on a mission to bring the icehouse back to San Antonio. Once the center of neighborhood social life, the open-air beer halls became less popular after the ‘80s and ‘90s when many longtime favorites tapped out. The couple hope their upcoming bar, Lucy Cooper’s Ice House, will help bring the concept into modern age.
The hospitality industry vets hope to get the 16080 San Pedro Ave. space up and running by mid-November. Currently, they are hard at work converting the former Outback Steakhouse interior and building 120 square feet of outdoor deck space.
Once finished, Braunda says Lucy Cooper’s will offer “cold beer, good times, and bar eats.” She points out that the offering will be in exactly that order, with libations being the main focus. “We’re a bar that has good food,” she insists.
The drinks part will come with a strong sense of Lone Star pride. Although customers can grab a Bud Light from the ice troughs, the 30-tap wall will push Texas products, including local favorites like Freetail. The cocktail program will make use of Texas spirits, too.
The bites may get second billing, but they are no afterthought. The menu will include shareable plates, hand-cut fries, craft burgers like the Big Kahuna with fried spam and a pineapple ring and 10-12 different varieties of wings. The latter will be a step above the typical kind slathered with Frank’s RedHot and include innovative flavors like the PB&J — served with peanut sauce, peach jam, and toast points.
Georgia native Braunda will also bring some Southern hospitality into the kitchen with Lowcountry shrimp and crab boils, and a rarity in San Antonio — boiled peanuts. “What’s better with cold beer?” she asks.
The populist spirit of both menus will be reflected in the space. The deck will be outfitted with fire pits, outdoor games like corn hole, and maybe even an all-weather pingpong table. Interiors will have flat screens, a video arcade, a giant Scrabble board on one wall, and a lounge area. The idea is that Lucy Cooper’s will give everyone something to do.
Inclusivity was also the inspiration behind the name. “Every bar you can think of has a male-driven name," explains Braunda. "Lucy Cooper is the girl you feel comfortable bellying up to the bar with.”
One gets the sense Lucy Cooper may bear a passing resemblance to Braunda Smith.