The Roosevelt Room (Austin, TX)
Born in Austin and raised in Boulder, CO, Justin Lavenue developed his passion for the service industry while attending the University of Colorado and managing the bar for an Indian Restaurant between classes. After graduating Valedictorian of Leeds Business School in the summer of 2011, he decided to make it his career, and moved back to Austin in August 2013 with the dream of opening his own bar. While searching for venues, he kept busy by taking the rigorous B.A.R. 5-day certification course in NYC later that year and helping open Half Step in Austin’s eclectic Rainey Street district. Co-owned by Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey in N.Y. and Eric Alperin of The Varnish in Los Angeles, Lavenue was one of Petraske’s last standout understudies before his passing in late- 2015. Lavenue left Half Step a year later to open The Roosevelt Room in June 2015. The following month, he was one of 25 up-and-coming bartenders featured in the 2015 Food & Wine Cocktail Book. In August 2015, he was recognized as one of the “Rock Stars Redefining the Industry” in Zagat Austin’s “30 Under 30” awards. The next month, he won Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender 2015 competition in Las Vegas, NV, which landed him on the cover of GQ magazine. Two months later, he was named Bartender of the Year by Eater Austin. Today, Lavenue continues to study for his B.A.R. Masters certification while operating The Roosevelt Room, and it’s neighboring event space, The Eleanor. He also consults for bar/restaurant projects both locally and nationally, judges local and national spirit and cocktail competitions, writes cocktail recipes for major brands to promote their products, educates and trains new bartenders, and has plans to open additional concepts with business partner, Dennis Gobis, in the near future.