There are many types of bars in Austin, offering different things for different people. The hipster bars have the creative, infused cocktails. The frat bars have top 40 music and cheap shots. Whatever the theme, each new bar of its type tries to outdo the competition with stranger cocktails, or cheaper shots, and the list goes on.
One bar on Burnet Road stands out by taking the opposite approach. This Texas bar is distilled to the essentials. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Welcome to Buddy’s Place
Buddy’s Place is more than old Austin–it is old Texas. This dark and comfortable bar is filled with regulars sitting at their usual bar stools. On my most recent visit, country music played overhead as dart players threw to my left.
You won’t find many specialty craft beers at Buddy’s Place. Nothing is barrel aged or made with open cask wild yeast. But all the usual suspects are here, and that’s all you need: Shiner, Miller, Sierra Nevada. You get the gist.
Relaxed, Slow-going Atmosphere
This isn’t the type of bar where you go to turn up and get sloppy. That’s too much action for Buddy’s Place. You can take that nonsense across the street to the Chili’s. Buddy’s Place is for your friends in low places to sip whiskey and talk about how the Longhorns will do next season. Above the bar is a fake (?) pistol and a sign that reads, “We Don’t Call 911.” I’d advise you not to test that.
Buddy’s isn’t wild, but the drinks are cheap and the door is propped open whenever the weather’s nice. A Lone Star or Miller Light will run you around three dollars. Nothing’s on draft; it’s all bottles. While sitting at the bar listening to Hank Williams, I couldn’t help but appreciate the stripped-down simplicity of this Austin bar. Don’t be a jerk and you’ll make good friends with some good ole’ boys in no time.
Standout Bar Experience in Austin
This type of bar experience is slowly fading out of Austin, though you can find it in many small towns across the state. With all of the lights and thudding music found in local bars these days, it’s nice to find a place where words are few and you can enjoy some slow company.
Buddy’s Place started in 1997. Since then, they’ve cooked free food for their regulars every Sunday: sloppy joes, burgers, whatever’s fresh. Twice a year, they host a community fish fry for the entire local community. It’s their biggest event of the year. This emphasis on community is the foundation of Buddy’s Place. It’s not for everybody, but those who click with its very Texas vibe tend to hang around, and they are appreciated.
I spent my evening drinking beer and making new friends with guys who had been sitting on Buddy’s barstools for years. They invited me to play a round of pool and just shoot the breeze. (Pool is 75 cents a game, and shuffleboard will run you a dollar.) We stood outside the front door to Buddy’s Place, looking like we were reenacting a King of the Hill scene. I wondered how many other people have sipped cold beer and watched the slow traffic of Burnet from that vantage point, without saying much at all.
8619 Burnet Road – Website
@DustyVegas wants to know:
What is your favorite old Austin bar?