When the lights go off and the audience settles in, all you can see inside a spacious back room at Austin Java is a brightly-lit stage and two neon arrows hanging from the ceiling. In the spotlight created by the arrows is a tall guy with a cup of coffee in one hand and a phone with notes open in the other. Brendan K. O’Grady is here every single Saturday. So is his best friend Duncan Carson who takes the stage next. The duo has been running a free comedy show called Sure Thing in the back of the coffee shop for five years now. Every Saturday, there’s a lineup of comics, from Austin and around the country. [Read more…]
Like a perfectly worn-in pair of cowboy boots, slipping into a classic dive bar to down a cold one provides true comfort. The Hole in the Wall is as divey as they come. I’m grinning from ear to ear as I order my tequila. [Read more…]
For some people, karaoke is a time to sit back and marvel at (or laugh along with) vocally talented friends. For others, it’s a dream scenario come to life to hold a mic and squeeze every note out of a favorite song. Austin has a happenin’ karaoke scene. Even better, the community of karaoke-ers is usually very welcoming, no matter whether you sound like Adele or Tom Waits with a cold.
Karaoke is a perfect outlet to shake off stress built up during the week. Here are a few of Austin’s favorite spots to let loose with a microphone. [Read more…]
Guest article by Jesselyn Parks
For those who find themselves on Austin’s famous Sixth Street on a weekend night, the sights and sounds of the city’s bustling nightlife radiate out in a familiar song. Cars and bikes zip through the streets, deep bass diffuses from lines of packed bars and, of course, a bucket drummer or two pulses rhythm into the supercharged atmosphere of “Dirty” or “West.”
However, when performers venture out to Austin’s streets, armed with their instrument, guitar case or bucket, many fear an encounter with police. Navigating the gray area of Austin’s city ordinances is tough, these buskers say, and many live in legal limbo. Unclear if they are operating under their First Amendment rights or simply waiting to be run off, street performers in Austin are forced to navigate swift waters. Even worse, according to buskers, the city is equally unsure of the law and benefits from keeping it that way. [Read more…]
There are three sections of Sixth Street in Austin: West, East and what locals refer to as Dirty. For locals, Dirty Sixth runs from Congress to I-35 even though technically, and according to street signs, East Sixth starts at Congress Avenue and runs east. But when you hear locals talk about East Sixth, we are referencing anything east of I-35. Don’t get confused by the street signs; you’ll be talking like a local in no time.
West Sixth is the section of Sixth Street that runs west from Congress Avenue. For the most part, the nightlife scene ends at North Lamar Boulevard, but for this article I’ll take us all the way to MoPac as there are several notable bars and restaurants in the extended stretch of West Sixth.
While you’ll find your fair share of bars here–no surprise for Sixth Street–West Sixth is much more diverse when it comes to local Austin businesses. This list highlights the cream of the crop. [Read more…]
The Buzz Mill on East Riverside has been serving caffeine and booze for the past three years, enticing customers with its lumberjack decor, live music, a spacious outdoor patio space and delicious in-house eats. I particularly enjoy grabbing a brunch plate of chicken and waffles paired with grapefruit mimosas and a large group of friends.
Now, the crew behind The Buzz Mill is expanding operations with Grizzly Hall, their debut music and event venue. Showcasing music and comedy shows, art exhibitions, film events, and beyond, the space is poised to become a popular nightlife option.
There are three sections of Sixth Street in Austin: West, East and what locals refer to as Dirty. West Sixth is the section of Sixth Street that runs west from Congress Avenue. For the most part, the nightlife scene ends at North Lamar Boulevard.
For locals, Dirty Sixth runs from Congress to I-35 even though technically, and according to street signs, East Sixth starts at Congress Avenue and runs east. But when you hear locals talk about East Sixth, we are referencing anything east of I-35. Don’t get confused by the street signs; you’ll be talking like a local in no time.
East Sixth as we know and love it today is an eclectic blend of shops, restaurants, dive bars and cocktail bars. It’s also quite new–in relation to Dirty or West Sixth–with the gentrification of east Austin surging in the past 10 years. Here are some of my favorite East Sixth Street establishments you won’t want to miss when you visit. [Read more…]
The Broken Spoke isn’t just a venue. It’s a symbol of Texan defiance. You won’t take the Alamo without a fight and The Broken Spoke will never change. Even as South Lamar explodes skyward with apartment complexes and hotels, one of the most famous dancehalls in Texas remains intact. A genuine relic of Lone Star uniqueness.
In the course of a four-hour visit, I not only got a chance to breathe in everything this storied establishment has to offer, but I learned why it has endured over 50 years. Underneath the weathered bar neon and aging exterior lies a musical history and sense of family that are unlike anything else Austin has to offer. [Read more…]
Guest article by Alicia Santiago
No, that’s not a misspelling or auto-correct inaccuracy. BYOV stands for Bring Your Own Vinyl. While this unique night has a long-standing presence at a couple of well-known local bars, BYOV nights are showing up in other venues across Austin.
Guest article by Laurie Engle
Not having grown up in Texas, one of the things I enjoyed most when I first moved to Austin was listening to live music and watching all the cute couples on the dance floor, having a blast two-stepping. At first, I didn’t know what type of dancing I was looking at, but I quickly decided I wanted to twirl around in a southern gentlemen’s arms wearing a sundress and boots.
You may have a secret desire to get out there yourself, but you’re concerned about not knowing what the heck you’re doing. No worries, I’m going to share with you where to take your two left feet for an awesome class with some of the best teachers in Austin. Our city has no shortage of amazing and truly historic joints to head to when you want to show off your new skills.
Here are three of my favorites. [Read more…]