Abilene’s Nightlife District - Downtown & Around
Historic Downtown Abilene. For anyone who has spent time in Abilene, “Historic” isn’t an adjective. It is part of who we are and what we take pride in – our history. For generations, Historic Downtown Abilene continues to offer its community and visitors a variety of unique museums, children’s art and literacy centers, classic movie theaters and concert halls.
Recently though, new ideas and exciting visions are coming together to create a Nightlife District among Historic Downtown Abilene. Thanks to a few locals pulling up their sleeves and pulling out their wallets, old, worn-out buildings of the past are being revamped, refreshed and bringing new life into our beloved Abilene.
The Mill Winery Set in an old flour mill building originally opened in 1910, The Mill Winery is grand and cozy. As soon as you enter The Mill, get comfortable in one of her outdoor silos with a glass of The Mill Original House Wine 1 and stay forever.
The Mill Winery is one of Abilene’s largest nightlife venues. Ninety percent of the seating is outdoors and includes small nooks with tables and chairs for two as well as large covered silos for groups of 10+. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting with strings of light scattered from rooftop to bar top. Live acoustic music fills the air and a patio bar serves wine and craft beers on tap. Servers stop by periodically to refill drinks and offer charcuterie boards and dessert flights from the inside bar. Stop by the renovated laundry truck, dubbed the Feed Truck. Now paneled inside and out with natural wood and chalkboards, ready to fill with daily specials - patty melts and veggie burgers included.
The vineyard is usually in budding season from May to September, but The Mill Winery is open year-round. Fire pits, stacks of wool blankets and vinyl coverings provide warmth in the colder months.
Owner Mindy Howard, a former high school science teacher, said her family couldn’t pass up the opportunity to “create the ideal hangout spot” out of this beautiful old mill building. When asked what inspired her to take on the task Howard said, “We just want to create a place for people to celebrate and an atmosphere that lends itself to that.”
-239 Locust St., Abilene, Texas
- Hours of Operation: Wednesday and Thursday 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm; Friday and Saturday 5:00 pm – midnight
Cru Bar and Venue
Cru Bar and Venue is one of downtown Abilene’s newest and most lavish establishments. The bar and events venue is set in one of Downtown Abilene’s grandest buildings from the 1920s. New owners, Jennifer and Emmanuel Navejas, have added a modern twist with white walls, tufted furniture, and lighting features that double as art. Cru prides itself on her wide selection of whiskey, scotch and bourbon, but all three levels of Cru are equipped with a full bar. The signature cocktails bear historic Abilene nods and names. On big event weekends, you can be sure to find elaborate decorations and appropriate themes. Graduation 2017 was met balloon arches, and confectionary cocktails straight out of a Dr. Seuss wonderland.
Themes not your thing? How about an Abilene on Rye with Bullet Rye and red wine fusion? Or the Crurita with cilantro-lime infused Patron and a chili salt rim.
Cru Bar and Venue is loungey. Formal or laid-back cozy, Cru effortlessly combines atmospheres making a statement in Downtown Abilene. Cru clientele range from 21-65. Cru has filled a gap in Abilene. It has transformed an old dilapidated building into a downtown treasure of a new age. A place where you would take a date for a drink, or your parents when they’re in town, according to co-owner Alexandria Ybarra.
Most recently, in the 1960s, an optical store occupied the now grand building. Now, all you will see from those days are silver guilded metal ceiling tiles decorating the bar and beautifully refinished original wood flooring on the mezzanine and third story event space.