Have you ever walked into a bar and felt like you knew everyone in the place? In Texas-style homage to the beloved television show “Cheers,” I happily introduce Dry Creek Cafe & Boat Dock.
This cozy oasis in the hills of Austin was built in 1953 with nothing around but some houses, the creek below and Mount Bonnell right up the road. The rich history of the place was just beginning when owner Buddy Reynolds bought Dry Creek Cafe from his mother in 1984, roughly the same time Texas changed the drinking age from 18 to 21. It was important to Reynolds to keep it running, as he spent most of his childhood helping his mother, Sarah, create this special place for the community. Sarah is a legend at Dry Creek Cafe, operating the bar until she was in her 90’s. If you’re lucky, you’ll hear a sassy “Sarah” story now and then from behind the bar.
If you’re new, here’s how to have the ultimate time at Dry Creek Cafe.
1/ Have a Beer With Friends on the Deck
On a beautiful day, be sure to drive up for a sunset. Grab a beer and koozie, and head up the wooden steps to the deck. There’s plenty of seating outside. If you head to the covered area, you’ll find more tables PLUS a community piano for your entertainment. Hint: Bring or make friends with a musician.
2/ Enjoy the Company
Dry Creek Cafe has some of the friendliest staff around. They will take care of you and remind you to “bring your empties” back to them for recycling. On Wednesdays, Reynolds brings food for the whole bar to enjoy. Lining the walls, there are photos of family and friends, each one representing a story waiting to be told.
3/ Be a Pool Shark
There are two main ingredients for capturing that “cool” feeling while playing pool: the last 45 RPM record jukebox in Austin and a cold beer to sip between turns. The music selection is perfectly old, with some of the names written by hand.
4/ Meet the Owner
Buddy Reynolds has many stories. He hails from Austin (he attended Austin High School and The University of Texas), but has traveled all around the world in the engineering field. Come on a Wednesday and share a meal with him.
5/ Pick a Koozie, Any Koozie
But return it before you go…
6/ Make Sure to Bring Cash to Dry Creek Cafe
Angel will remind you that the bar is cash only!
This is my open love letter to a little place called Dry Creek Cafe. I hope this authentically Austin spot brings you as much joy as it has me.
4812 Mt Bonnell Road
Hours: Open 4-9 p.m. most days. Fridays from 4-10 p.m.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What’s your favorite “old” Austin bar?