The Christmas lights are always on at Spider House Cafe. The funky atmosphere will grip you as soon as your foot is in the door, and the coffee drinks, full bar and food options will make you want to stay a while. Just next door, Spider House Ballroom keeps nightlife on an aggressive dose of oxygen with regular shows and events.
Maybe you haven’t been around Spider House since you moved out of West Campus with that degree in your hand. Or maybe you haven’t been initiated yet, your assaulted senses carrying you over the wooden threshold. Whatever the case, I’m here to tell you why a visit should be in your future.
20 Years and Going Strong
Spider House may not be as old as Threadgill’s (not many Austin establishments are), but 20 years in this town is a remarkable accomplishment. Most of my dealings with Spider House Ballroom and Cafe have been with the Ballroom itself. Eva Mueller, Spider House’s general manager and talent buyer, skillfully fills an eclectic calendar of events.
Aside from comedy events like regular showcases, open mic’s, and annual shows like the Comedy Seance, Spider House also hosts Austin Poetry Slam every week and is an active venue for Austin’s venerated live music scene. Recently, my wife and I joined our photographer buddy John Cabuena of Flipintex Fotos at Spider House Ballroom for an Austin Free Week show.
Since most of my shenanigans have taken place at the Ballroom in the past, I wasn’t fully aware of the Cafe’s vastness. When you walk into the Cafe, there’s the inside area with a bar, tables and the usual accoutrements. We noticed pockets of folks tucked away in the various corners of the cafe eating, drinking, and taking advantage of the free wi-fi. The cafe is cozy and wood finishes make it feel lived in and personable.
Outside is a whole new world with its own personality waiting to be discovered.
Festive and Inviting Establishment
My wife and I ordered a couple of coffees before venturing outside to the massive patio and outdoor area. Bedazzled with Christmas lights year round, it maintains a festive vibe.
Behind the Cafe and just beyond the outdoor seating area is a large outdoor stage/dance floor/additional eating area. To the left of that is a two story building with a tattoo shop occupying the top floor. I wasn’t expecting that. Seriously.
To the left of the tattoo shop is a food truck called Love Balls which specializes in tokoyaki – a Japanese street food in the form of veggies or octopus in fried dough balls. It’s good, real good.
Besides serving coffee, Spider House Cafe has a full bar and menu. They serve everything from red wine to Pearl Snap Beer. Old school Texas beer drinkers will be happy to know they have Lone Star as well.
The adjacent Spider House Ballroom also sports a full bar with plenty of beer ranging from Lone Star to craft options. They have happy hour every day from 5-8 PM, plus daily drink specials like Whiskey Wednesday. The Ballroom menu is appetizer only though, so if you’re looking for a full meal you may want to head to the Cafe beforehand…or after. Speaking of drinks, they are non-transferable. You can’t carry them between the Cafe and Ballroom, so plan accordingly.
What You Need to Know
Spider House Cafe is open seven days a week from 11 AM-2 AM. The Ballroom is open seven days a week from 5 pM-2 AM. The addresses are 2906 and 2908 Fruth St, but all you have to remember is that they’re one block east of the 29th and Guadalupe intersection – smack dead in the heart of Austin just north of the UT campus.
If you haven’t been yet, get over to the award winning establishment, eat some food and catch a show. Everything else you need to know can be found on the Spider House Cafe and Ballroom website.
@ElDavidThomas wants to know:
Have you been to Spider House?
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!