New Orleans native Dustin Batson (formerly owned West End Elixir Co.) has brought to the community something incredibly unique – a swanky speakeasy alongside a refined, gourmet Cajun restaurant and bar.
After his success at West End Elixir Co., Batson was searching for a spot in Downtown Bryan, where revitalization has been blazing through the streets. He and the owner of The LaSalle Hotel (Janak Patel) connected, and decided Batson’s concepts were the perfect fit for the charming hotel. Thus, 5 Knocks Speakeasy and Downtown Elixir & Spirits were born.
“I love the Bryan and Downtown Bryan community,” Batson said. “It’s really tight-knit, like family. I want more bars and entertainment to come to Downtown, because it’s not competition – it’s an attraction, and people will flock down here … mark my words, in two years Downtown Bryan will be the new hotspot for entertainment.”
Located in a historic hotel, serving up the finest, made-from-scratch prohibition-era craft cocktails – check. Burlesque performers, leather couches, and cigars – check. Secret knock for entry – check, check, check, check, AND check!
“It’s kind of like a subconscious taboo, being somewhere you’re not supposed to be,” Batson said. “it’s a secret, and you’re in on that secret.”
When you arrive in the hallway lined with dim, red lights – you’re almost there. Find the door with the small iron grate window, and give the secret password. Once that door swings open, you’re magically transported back in time. Prohibition newspaper articles line the walls; antique furniture beckons you to stay a while; dim Edison bulbs swing from the rafters; and sultry candlelight dances around the room, casting shadows on the phonograph and shoe shine stands near the back.
Cozy up on one of their lush leather couches with friends, order an expertly fashioned drink from a dapper bartender, and delight in the entertainment for that evening. You may be watching live music while sipping on your Vieux Carre, getting a Tarot card reading from their in-house Tarot card reader, or…you might be graced with a tantalizing burlesque show. “It feels like we’ve stepped into a time machine when we’re here, and we’re actually living it,” said Ruby Joule, an award-winning performer, and leader of the Les Bijoux Burlesque troupe based out of Austin, Texas. “We walk out of that dressing room and this blue cigar smoke hung in the air, the lights are really low, and it just feels authentic.”
The burlesque performance began experiencing a revival during the late 90s and has continued growing into a favorite entertainment pastime. If you’ve never experienced a burlesque show (and it’s definitely an experience!), this is the one to see. “I feel like burlesque at its heart, is still theater,” Joule said. “I want the audience to have fun, first and foremost … burlesque is unlike many other kinds of theater and dance, though, in that usually the fourth wall is gone. You’re inviting the audience to be a part of the show.”
“I think the space is unique in that it’s an intimate experience, but it doesn’t feel like you’re forced into it,” said Lady Lola LeStrange, also an award-winning burlesque performer. “You can enjoy the show from where you are, but not have to feel like you’re apart of the show, which I think is great for those experiencing a burlesque performance for the first time.”
The cocktails served up at 5 Knocks are masterfully crafted based strictly on a Prohibition-era menu.
Burlesque Shows | Thursdays
9:30p.m. | 10:30p.m. | 12:00pm
Tarot Card Readings | Thurs. Fri. Sat.
…and during the full moon
Live Music/Piano Bar | Most Nights
Private Party Rental
…and could a Murder Mystery Night be in the near future?
DOWNTOWN ELIXIR & SPIRITS
Inspired by the supernatural culture of New Orleans and the sophisticated atmosphere of Downtown Bryan’s rumored-to-be-haunted LaSalle Hotel, Downtown Elixir & Spirits delivers quality, made-from-scratch cocktails, and gourmet Cajun fusion recipes.
“Our Cajun fusion style is an original concept. Order anything from the menu, and you’ll love it. Instead of risotto, it’s a jambalaya risotto. Instead of bruschetta, it’s a muffuletta bruschetta,” Batson said. “I’m so proud of all of our chefs. I come up with a concept and give them free rein over it, and they always blow my expectations out of the water.”
Downtown Elixir is a ritzy addition to Downtown Bryan, and it’s not just the tasteful decor that conveys class and quality. Their cocktails and food are all made completely from scratch with the finest, freshest ingredients – and you can absolutely taste the difference!
“We make our own syrups, tonics, grenadine, ginger beer, ginger ale, some of our own bitters, and only use freshly squeezed juice,” Batson said. “We’re actually working on our own vermouth right now, too. If we can make it in-house, we’re going to make it in-house. ”
Downtown Elixir started off the year by introducing a newly revamped menu and extending their hours of operation. They’ll begin opening at 11 a.m., and will continue their delectable brunch specials every Sunday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Adding to their current list of from-scratch craft cocktails, they now offer 112 drinks total.
“Most of our cocktails are original recipes, well put-together with exotic ingredients and some twists here and there,” Batson said. “We have one called the Fly by Night. It’s homemade fig preserves, brown sugar, barrel aged bitters, and bourbon. What we do is we put the drink in a lantern with peach tree wood chips, light the wood chips with a blow torch, close the lantern – so there is a small flame, but it quickly goes out. The differential temperatures actually attract the smoke, which adds to the flavor. And, the drink is still smoking when you take it out of the lantern.”
If you fancy the finest in quality, taste, service, entertainment, and ambiance – Downtown Elixir & Spirits and 5 Knocks Speakeasy are the destinations for a bewitchingly good time.
Downtown Elixir Happy Hour | Daily from 3-7p.m.
$1 OFF Beer + Wine
$2 OFF ALL Appetizers