Watertrade: Intimate Gem Inside the South Congress Hotel

Cocktail lounge raises the bar with small bites from award-winning chef

Otoko is a Japanese restaurant featuring a Tokyo-sushi omakase dinner. If you can get a coveted reservation, it will set you back $295/person. While that may be aspirational for many, Watertrade, an intimate Japanese-style cocktail bar attached to Otoko is more accessible, and certainly a treat. The low-lit and intimate space takes reservations for tables, but walk-ins can be accommodated at the bar seats, where guests have a front row seat with the bartenders mixing intentionally crafted cocktails.

Like at Otoko, at Watertrade guests can enjoy a large variety of sakes, Japanese whiskeys and creative libations as well as an a la carte izakaya-style menu featuring bar bites and other small but delicious dishes from the Otoko culinary team.

Highlights include the private label sake, Revenge of the Third Son, from Executive Chef at Otoko, Yoshi Okai. The sake is brewed in Kyoto, named in part because Yoshi is the third son and the label even has one of his tattoos included on the front plus a design on the back barcode resembling the dining room lights in Otoko.

For food, the caviar served with Funyons, chives and tofu crème fraiche is fun, and the Nasu Friteswith tofu créme fraîche, chives and hichimi are the perfect culinary twist on traditional frites.

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-11pm

Location: South Congress Hotel, 1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Website: https://otokoaustin.com/watertrade

Instagram: @watertradeaustin

Reservations: Available on Tock: https://www.exploretock.com/otoko/

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