Food & Drink | July 12, 2022 8:02 am

The Roosevelt Room’s New Cocktail Truck Is the Key to the Backyard Party of Your Dreams

RoadHaus is a '60s-era Citroën van turned extravagant mobile bar that you can rent

The 1967 Citroën HY van that The Roosevelt Room bar in Austin, Texas, now uses as a mobile cocktail truck they're calling RoadHaus
There are normal cocktail trucks, and then there's RoadHaus.
Robert Lema

The Roosevelt Room is not just one of the best bars in Texas, it’s one of the best bars in the country. The Austin outpost was recently recognized as a top four finalist in the Best U.S. Cocktail Bar and Best U.S. Bar Team categories at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. If you’re in town, you should really stop by for a drink. If you’re not, you can still experience the menu and service thanks to their newly launched cocktail truck, RoadHaus.

This project from Roosevelt Room owners Justin Lavenue and Dennis Gobis was created to function as a modern cocktail bar on wheels. To make it happen, they refurbished a 1967 Citroën HY van they found in southern France in 2015. It was sitting in an old barn for decades, so it needed a lot of care — first via a shop in Wales and then a food truck builder in Austin. The result has been a long time coming, but the truck went operational late last year and is currently waiting to roll up to your next event.

When outfitting the truck, the goal was to provide the same level of service that customers get inside The Roosevelt Room, but in settings that could range from a large-scale festival or wedding to a backyard pool party.

“As the vehicle is one-third the size of The Roosevelt Room’s main bar, we needed to plan every square inch of the truck’s buildout,” Gobis tells InsideHook, adding that countless features had to be custom-built to suit their needs.

Many mobile cocktail operations feature a few kegs and limited offerings, but RoadHaus was always meant to bring entire bar experience to new locations. Lavenue says that party hosts can choose from a menu of 75 cocktails when booking their event, and drinks can be made to order or served on draft. “There’s simply no other mobile bar or bar catering service in the country able to offer the same number and quality of cocktails,” he says.

Justin Lavenue (left) and Dennis Gobis behind the RoadHaus bar from The Roosevelt Room in Austin, Texas
Justin Lavenue (left) and Dennis Gobis behind the RoadHaus bar.
Robert Lema

Given the extensive selection, customers can work with the RoadHaus team to tailor a drink menu for their particular occasion. You could stick with spirited classics like the Sazerac and Old Fashioned, or choose refreshing, citrusy drinks for warm-weather affairs, like the French 75 and daiquiri. The menu also features their original concoctions, like the smoky Cigar Box, which is made with mezcal, smoked black tea syrup, lavender bitters, tobacco essence and a flamed cinnamon stick; or the Matcha Business with gin, mezcal, mint, matcha powder, absinthe, wildflower honey syrup and lime.

Since not everyone wants cocktails — and some guests may not drink alcohol — the truck also offers beer, cider and wine, plus a handful of non-alcoholic options. Beyond drinks, RoadHaus can also plan catering services, from finger foods to five-course meals, and coordinate other event needs, like photography, music and audio-video setup, all things you wouldn’t expect from the typical mobile bar.

RoadHaus is based in Austin, but the whole point of this enterprise is to go where it’s needed. That usually means destinations within Texas, but the team has a trailer they can use to load up the truck and drive it across the country.

Considering the truck’s pedigree, capabilities and price tag, it’s probably best reserved for larger events. (Just imagine how much better your wedding would be with this thing around.) It costs $3,000 to get the truck on-site before booze and bartenders, so it’s not cheap. But the RoadHaus crew will roll up to any event, even a small backyard barbecue. If you’ve got some extra money burning a hole in your swim trunks, drop them a line.