Why This Is A Top College Party Town
When some people hear that word, they tilt their head back and laugh. (For they have been to Austin).
Others get wide-eyed and start to to dial up the airline to book a flight. (They, too, have been to Austin.)
Still others start talking fast, saying things like, “South by Southwest!” “Lake Travis!” UT games!”
That’s because Austin, Texas is a rockin’ party town, and this is a party guide to Austin with a look – through words and pictures – at the nightlife and bars throughout the city.
6th STREET BARS
The eyes of University of Texas students – and Austin tourists – are on 6th Street.
At first glance, a first-time visitor might assume they were blindfolded and placed on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The reason being, there are bars on each side of the street for blocks, lined up next to each other like Longhorn football players on the sideline of Texas Memorial Stadium. (But instead of Lucky Dogs and Krystal burgers being consumed after closing time, here it’s pizza slices and sausages.)
But oh, no, it’s Austin. And on weekend nights, 6th Street is rocking, happening, as bold as Bevo. There are dive bars, live music bars, sports bars, hangout spots with balconies overlooking the madness below, and even a couple of swanky-looking lounges. There are rarely – if ever – cover charges, so bar hopping is as much of a ritual as tailgating before UT games.
There are more bars than the football team has blue-chip recruits, and it would be easy to simply recommend poking heads into places and leave it at that. But, much like Bourbon Street or any other heavily-populated bar area, some places are better than others.
The action heats up between 10:30-11, and goes crazy beyond even when the bars close at 2 a.m. By this time the street is blocked off to traffic and people wander about for a while, try that pick-up line one last time, look for their lost friends or get in line for a slice.
The Aquarium is among the most popular spots, if not actuallythe most popular. There’s not much to it, really, a long, narrow dive with ultra-cheap beers. Occasionally, a girl jumps on the bar and dances to the music. This goes great with the $1 bottles of beer on Thursdays. That’s right, dollar beers.
That price is hardly exclusive to The Aquarium but it’s worth nothing that once when PubClub.com was in there, a guy rolled up to the bar and bought a round with his credit card. There’s a $10 minimum, so he had to order 10 beers, which was way more than he needed. So he started passing them out to passers-by, including PubClub (and thank you very much!).
There is an aquarium in the place, set into a wall, but it has neither fish nor water. What this place does have is true college bar scene and UT students ellbow-to-elbow enjoying cheap drinks and lively conversation.
Next door is The Library. Every good college town should have a bar by this name so students can honestly tell their parents, “really, I was at The Library all night!”
This one has books, too. Well, sort of; that’s part of the decor on the wall behind the bar. The Library also has $1 beers on Thursdays ($3 on weekends, plus $3 Long Island Teas on Fridays and Saturdays), an active main level and a balcony overlooking the whole thing.
Two places have second-level outdoor patios that are highly popular on nice nights (this can be anything under 95 degrees in Texas), Maggy May’s and the Blind Pig Pub. Expect a wait to get upstairs.
Maggy May’s has a large balcony and it needs it, for it’s as popular at Colt McCoy. (It certainly ranks far ahead of Texas Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis at the moment.) People dance under a huge video screen playing music videoss and others spent thier night mingling on other parts of the roof. Drink, mingle, drink. Repeat. That’s Maggy May’s.
The far less popular downstairs area has a band playing in a room off to the side of the courtyard. Here, people sit at tables and a few folks get up and dance. Talk about a contrast to the buzzing activity upstairs. It’s like the difference between playing Rice and OU.
Texas used to end its regular season playing border rival Arkansas, whose mascot is the Razorbacks. If the Blind Pig Pub is a some kind of swipe at this swine we are not sure, but people do go hog wild for its rooftop balcony. The Pig is a long and narrow down-and-dirty bar at first glance, much like The Aquarium. But it keeps gong back, back, back, all the way to stairs leading to the previously mentioned balcony.
A more controlled place to observe the shanagans happening below on 6th Street is the third level of the restaurant/bar, Iron Cactus, directly across from the Pig. This is also an escape from the students, for the bar is more for 30+ year olds.
The above places are, for the most part, casual hanging drinking bars with nothing overly outlandish taking place. Not so at The Dizzy Rooster, which mixes in Mexico Spring Break with 6th Street sillyness. Girls (patrons, not hired dancers) dance on the bar, bartenders pour shots down people’s throats and a DJ who must spend his springtimes in South Padre Island or Cancun amps up the fun factor.
PubClub.com got soaked in the place when a bartender joined the girls on the bar and started spraying beer on all the guys below. It was like being in the winning locker room of the World Series! One can certainly be dizzy when they leave this place.
Bikini’s is a “sport bar with a view,” meaning that it has girls as bartenders and waitresses wearing bikini tops. Beers here are as “expensive” as any place on 6th Street, meaning they start at $4.25, though there are daily specials on different brands, plus shots and mixed drinks.
The number of TVs in the place – including a couple of mega-screens – give the mostly-male patrons something to focus their eyes on other than the girls, at least during football season on Saturdays and Sundays.
Pure is pure Vegas-style lounge. Without the Vegas lines, velvet rope, massive cover charge and over-priced drinks. In fact, it’s like a friendly upscale-style lounge with VIP booths and a rockin’ dance floor upstairs.
People go to Touche for the Flaming Dr. Peppers. And Cheap drinks and good local bands can both be found at The Thirsty Nickle.
SUNDAY BRUNCH ON 6th STREET
Feeling the need for a little hair of the dog after a big night out on 6th Street? Then head to Beale Street Tavern for its Sunday Brunch. It’s $14.95 for an all-you-can eat buffet, but that’s not the best part – bloody marys are $5, and mimosas are $1.50 a glass and $7 a carafe. The food consists of eggs, bacon, biscuits, fried chicken and a few other items.
Frankly, it’s on a satisfaction level comparable to a win over Oklahoma State rather than A&M. But a win is a win, right? There’s likely to be a band playing downstairs in a place that loves the blues and Elvis. Plus, Bikinis is right next door for those who want to catch sports and, well, bikinis, afterward.