I lingered in my car outside The Aquifer last Thursday night watching a group of girls in short black dresses and high heels make their entrance at the brand new Stone Oak hotspot. The bar is located in the Blanco Pointe shopping center, outside the 1604 Loop and across the way from neighborhood hangout Kennedy’s. I spotted a DoubleDave’s Pizzaworks nearby (delish!), but a crowd as attractive as Aquifer’s is definitely not frequenting pizza places.
The space is characterized by high ceilings and low, black leather seating areas scattered around an airy layout. A DJ was already bumping dance music from his raised stone pedestal when I arrived early on, and a crowd of about 30 clustered near the luminous semicircular bar. A dramatic stone wall reaches the ceiling, dividing the bar into two sections, and ambient blue lighting sets the vibe. Though Aquifer is the site of the former Pointe Martini Lounge, the only remaining connection is the address. The bar was gutted over the summer and was completely redone for its opening in August.
I was painfully aware of my ratty old Chuck Taylors amidst the clicking heels. Fortunately, the bar was dark enough that I could fade into obscurity until my perpetually late buddy arrived. Bar staff was friendly and talkative — I sidled up for my first vodka tonic ($4).
Staffers pointed out the new VIP spot, a raised seating area with mod-ish black couches, candles, and blue track lighting. It will cater to those who opt for bottle service, one of Aquifer’s defining features. Think downtown ambience on the Northside, minus parking hassles. Making a reservation for bottle service is always a good idea, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
Aquifer plans to capitalize on its built-in service industry crowd, who primarily traipse in from nearby salons. Vino Mondays — $3.50 by the glass, combined with massage, manicure, and pedicure giveaways — are a big draw for that bunch. A third of all wine carried in the bar is from Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg. A Friday happy hour for teachers is also in the works, a smart move considering how many schools are in the area.
By the time said late buddy arrived, the bar had morphed into a veritable dance party. Red, blue, and green laser lights on the floor highlighted the dancers, spinning into cool Spirograph-style patterns. The music had ratcheted up a couple notches — it’s apparent they didn’t skimp on the sound system. Tiësto and other danceable Top 40 grooves, complemented by videos on the huge flatscreen TVs, pulled guys and gals out of their seats as we settled into a two-tiered, candlelit seating area that overlooked the dance floor.
Aquifer is definitely a place to see and be seen. Albeit new, it’s a popular, upscale hotspot. Even though you shouldn’t roll out there in ripped-up jeans and a t-shirt, it’s still a comfortable and fun place to hang. There are lots of places to sit and lounge if you don’t wanna break out your dance moves, and an expert bar staff hustles drinks out quickly even when it’s packed. DJ Silver will mix up the tunes for Aquifer’s grand opening on Thursday.
Everybody needs different kinds of bars in their repertoire: favorite dive, neighborhood sports bar, live music venue. Think of Aquifer as your hip, happening ace in the hole. •
19178 Blanco Rd, Ste 201
Bottle Service: (210) 624-1788
Vibe: Upscale atmosphere where DJs mix it up on the dance floor; plenty of comfy, classy lounge seating; dress code strictly enforced on Fri and Sat
Best Use: Your hip, happening ace in the hole; Stone Oak bottle service
Prices: Wells: $4; Happy Hour: $2 domestics, $3 imports, $3 wells; Wed happy hour all day; Sun all beer $2, all liquor $3