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 Street 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, dives, 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 15 of my favorite East Sixth Street establishments you won’t want to miss.
As you wander down East Sixth Street, you’ll come across one of my favorite dive bars, Shangri-La. As an east side “veteran” that has been around since 2008, this spot has won the hearts of many locals…and Bill Murray, who helped serve up drinks during SXSW in 2010.
What I love about the people at Shangri-La is they’re all about having fun. If you’re not having fun, then it’s your fault–not theirs.
1016 E. 6th St. — Website
2/ Ah Sing Den
Ah Sing Den has a luscious, luxuriant ambience that makes you want to sit down and stay awhile. Just one look at Instagram or the location’s website, and you’ll get a sense for the exotic aesthetic. Ah Sing Den has a host of signature cocktails inspired by worldly flavors; a number of Asian spirits, including sake; coffee and tea; desserts; and delicious bites which include poke nachos and different types of dumplings.
1100 E. 6th St. — Website
3/ Practice Yoga
Although Sixth Street is packed with bars and places to enjoy Austin’s nightlife, there are also places like Practice Yoga. It’s a donation-based studio with classes starting as early as 7:15 a.m.
Practice Yoga offers classes at a variety of levels, whether you are a brand-new beginner or seasoned yogi. It also hosts workshops, including sound healings and meditations.
1103 E. 6th St. — Website
Keep reading: Bendy on a Budget: Free or Donation-based Yoga in Austin
4/ Via 313
Via 313 started as a food trailer inside Violet Crown Social Club on East Sixth Street. Eventually it branched out, but didn’t go far, moving from Violet Crown to a new location just down the street.
Now with multiple locations in the Austin area, Via 313 serves Detroit-style pizza. For the longest time, I’d only known of New York and Chicago styles. Detroit is similar to Chicago in that it’s deep dish, but different in that its a bit fluffier and not so heavy.
Many Via 313 fans recommend The Detroiter as a representation of pizza from the northern region: it’s made with two kinds of pepperoni and two kinds of cheese.
1802 E. 6th St. — Website
5/ Gelateria Gemelli
“Gemelli” means “twins” in Italian. The shop was started by two friends—not twins, though they’re both Geminis—who have an immense passion for the art of gelato. They use local and organic ingredients and, for those of us with vices other than sugar, they also serve coffee and cocktails.
1009 E. 6th St. — Website
6/ Ramen Tatsu-ya
Ramen Tatsu-ya is an Austin staple with several locations, and you’ll be glad to know there’s one on East Sixth Street! The owners are both chefs and DJs, and they first met through the music scene in Austin. There are always hints of Ramen Tatsu-ya’s musical origins, because the playlists are always on-point.
Ramen comes in a great variety here, so make sure you come back more than once to try a different style.
1600 E. 6th St. — Website
7/ Revelry Kitchen + Bar
Revelry boasts two popular locations in Austin: this one on the east side and another on North Lamar. The original on East Sixth Street is 21+ with a shorter food menu and a focus on drinks. Both locations love their dogs, however, with dog-friendly patios.
1410 E. 6th St. — Website
8/ Violet Crown Social Club
Violet Crown is a longtime favorite in the Austin scene. It’s known for the Iron Whip, a refreshing creamsicle-like drink make with orange juice, and orange and vanilla vodka. The Iron Claw is the Iron Whip made with White Claw hard seltzer.
1111 E. 6th St. — Website
9/ Buenos Aires Cafe/Milonga Room
Buenos Aires Cafe is owned and operated by Argentinians who aim to recreate the atmosphere of Buenos Aires within the restaurant walls, highlighting traditional Argentine dishes. If you don’t know what chimichurri sauce is, do yourself a favor and order from the grill.
The same owners then opened speakeasy Milonga Room in the basement, adding a whole new level to the Argentine history and ambiance they share. Don’t forget to check for the weekly passcode, which can be found on social media.
10/ Hotel Vegas/The Volstead
If you’re in the mood for music and dancing, then head to Hotel Vegas and sister bar The Volstead. Think swanky dive bar with fancy damask wallpaper next door to a bar that has a stage for live music. You can easily switch between the two bars through the back patio area, making this the center of East Sixth entertainment.
1500-1502 E. 6th St. — Website
11/ The Liberty
The Liberty is another one of the original dives on East Sixth, dating back to 2009. It’s also home to the original East Side King trailer! And since the outdoor signage was recently upgraded, you literally can’t miss it. Be sure to stop in and stay for a while.
1618 E. 6th St — Website
12/ Zilker Brewing Company & Taproom
Austinites are incredibly lucky to have so many micro breweries to choose from in the city. There’s even one on East Sixth, Zilker Brewing Company. While there isn’t a kitchen on site, they host local food trucks on a rotating basis.
1701 E. 6th St. — Website
13/ The Grackle
Another dive bar on East Sixth, The Grackle offers patrons several whiskey options, as well as a covered patio and large draft beer selection. You may also notice the fancy signage from the same folks who did The Liberty Bar’s: Blackout Signs and Metalworks. This is another great spot to enjoy a low-key night out with friends.
1700 E. 6th St. — Facebook
Moving down the line, Whisler’s is another personal favorite on my East Sixth list. The rotating cocktail menu always features classic drinks with a twist, made by mixologists who know what they’re doing.
Golden Tiger, the restaurant inside of Whisler’s, has a rich array of American comfort food with an Asian twist: fries, burgers, and a Thai chicken sandwich made with sweet chili sauce.
1816 E. 6th St. — Website
15/ La Holly
Thus far, our featured establishments have been in no particular order. Sixth Street may be a straight line, but your east side adventure will likely not be linear. However, La Holly is intentionally placed at the end of this list for a reason: once you hit La Holly, you know you’re about to reach the end of Sixth–its easternmost point.
The fact La Holly is called a “cantina” instead of a bar should give you a clue as to its origins. The owner has strong ties to Mexico and the cocktails are strongly influenced by Mexican flavors. There is ample outdoor space for enjoying hot summer evenings with your cold drink.
2500 E. 6th St. — Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
What’s your favorite East Sixth Street spot?
The original version of this article was published May 9, 2016.
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!