Shawn Bermudez, co-owner behind the Burger Joint and the Taco Stand, is finally unveiling his latest project, and it’s out of this world.
Bermudez has transformed the former location of his shuttered bar Stone’s Throw into Roswell’s Saloon, an intergalactic, black-lit cocktail lounge that opens around sunrise.
Named after the site in New Mexico where an alleged UFO sighting took place in 1947, Roswell’s sports an outer-space theme, with a black-lit bar area featuring neon intergalactic artwork and posters, iridescent planets hanging from the ceiling, and trippy lava lamps for added decoration. Projection mapping — with artwork of an astronaut in a purple suit, shooting stars, and an active UFO — adds another element and movement to the bar, and more options for depicting a rotation of space travel and other extraterrestrial things. The upstairs space, which is decorated floor-to-wall with black-light reactive posters, is Bermudez’s favorite part of the bar. “It feels like you’re in someone’s basement in the 70s,” he says.
The restaurateur says he’s done his best to create a hangout spot with a tasty and creative, ever-evolving cocktail menu that, too, leans into the overall theme — channeling extraterrestrial and Western details in its flavors, ingredients, and even the glassware. Bargoers can swap UFO sighting stories over Crop Circle formation-topped cocktails mixed with homemade elote syrup, or get a humbling reminder of how small Earth is with the Pale Blue Dot, which is served in a planet-like sphere glass. Lithium Crystal shots that glow bright orange in iridescent space capsule-shaped glasses are meant to remind drinkers of the sun, and those who can’t help but ask “What’s your sign?” to new acquaintances might be intrigued by the monthly zodiac cocktail special, which uses each sign, starting with Gemini, for inspiration.
And with the bar being dependent on its blacklight feature, Roswell’s has swapped the traditional happy hour for “sunset hours” from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., giving bargoers a chance to see first-hand how the bar transitions into its nighttime hours while indulging in half-priced cocktails and draft beer, wine, and bubbles for $2 off.
Roswell’s has been in the works for nearly four years, following the closing of Stone’s Throw. The neighborhood bar was slated for a rebrand in January 2020, but once the COVID-19 pandemic hit — causing a shutdown that March — Bermudez paused the project, he says. Other businesses took priority. Bermudez relocated to Austin after opening outposts of his clothing store Pavement there and then put his efforts into opening new locations of the Burger Joint in Webster and the Taco Stand in the Heights. But in February, he was set on finishing Roswell’s “full force.”
“I’ve always thought of space as infinite, and the possibility of things we could do were all over the place,” Bermudez says. Roswell’s is indeed the departure from his former bar Stone’s Throw, which he describes as a “straight-up neighborhood bar” where some people sometimes took themselves too seriously.
“I just wanted to get away from that, and I wanted something more fun this time around,” he says. “When I take over an existing place, I never want it to look like what it had before.”
Roswell’s Saloon will be open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, at 1417 Westheimer Road.