The Local Outpost founder and owner Kevin Hibbs said it is not uncommon to walk into his tavern only to find him cutting lumber with his power saw.
The bar owner-turned-carpenter is always working on projects to upgrade or move things around in the Northwest Austin bar, which celebrated its third anniversary in early February.
Everything in The Local Outpost, from the floors to the wooden tables to the patio, was either handmade or renovated and finished by Hibbs. The owner said he found a passion for crafting the bar’s interior while he was gearing up to open his bar.
“I made everything in here. It took us so long to get everything open—to get all the permits—so I just started building stuff,” Hibbs said. “There are 500 bars in Austin, so I wanted to stand out somehow. ... There aren’t too many bars that look like this.”
Hibbs said he and his staff have worked over the past three years to turn The Local Outpost into a recognizable neighborhood bar.
The approximately 5,000-square-foot bar can host hundreds of patrons—and frequently does during live music on the weekends—but the bar also has a cozy, comfortable atmosphere where neighbors can connect with each other over a drink, Hibbs said.
Frequent patrons at The Local Outpost can earn a personal mug to be kept at the tavern. After 36 visits to the bar, customers get their own numbered mugs that hang above the bar. Hibbs said The Local Outpost now has more than 750 mugs for frequent customers, and he adds five to 10 new mugs to the collection every week.
“By the time you fill out your card, our bartenders will know your name, and you’ll know a lot of people here,” he said. “It’s your own part of the bar.”
Every year, Hibbs gives The Local Outpost a new addition, such as the bar’s extended and handcrafted outdoor patio.
“I’m always tweaking [the bar], trying to make it better,” Hibbs said. “Every year I try to do a new project.”
Most recently, Hibbs took his old tool shed that housed the very instruments used to build the bar and renovated the space to build a small tequila tasting room.
The space, tucked away in a hidden part of the bar, is open once a week and offers a couple of tables in a quiet, reserved atmosphere.
Eventually, Hibbs said he wants to try serving flights from his own curated tequila menu.
“I’m looking to expand with some tequilas you don’t find in most bars,” Hibbs said. “I’m always trying to stay ahead of the competition and try new things. I want to do something here that no one else does in this area.”
The Local Outpost