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.
ELM Restaurant Group (24 Diner, Easy Tiger) is responsible for this rustic Italian restaurant located one block west of Congress Avenue. Italic’s menu changes daily to allow for seasonal produce and their 100% Italian wine selection is to die for. The Negroamaro from the Southern Italian region of Salento is one of my favorite red wines. Don’t forget to check out their Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
123 W. 6th St. – Website
The Belmont is one of the few music venues on West Sixth Street that boasts a beautiful backdrop for both indoor and outdoor concerts and events. Whether it’s a big name act in town for SXSW or an art event to support local artists, The Belmont offers a variety of options for Austinites to enjoy. They have one of the only outdoor stages in downtown Austin, so be sure to check out their calendar of events to take advantage of this beautiful event space.
305 W. 6th St. – Website
The Austin Wine Merchant
When Neil deGrasse Tyson mentions you’re one of his favorite spots on Sixth Street, you know you’re doing something right. And The Austin Wine Merchant has been doing it right for over 24 years! This is more than a wine shop; it’s a family-run business keeping customers in mind through every aspect of business.
The Austin Wine Merchant offers both spirits and wine, as well as all the accoutrements necessarily to enjoy your purchases. And their convenient parking allows anyone to easily access the store. Looking for something in particular? Call ahead and their wonderful and knowledgeable staff will help. Or if you want to discover something new, stop by on Saturday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. for wine tastings.
512 W. 6th St. – Website
I always like to include one location adjacent to Sixth Street in my articles, and Ranch 616 is the winner this time! Ranch 616 was inspired by South Texas-style icehouses. For those not familiar with old-fashioned icehouses, they are a cross between a saloon and a convenience store and are typically open-air. Ranch 616 achieves this feel through its interior design and cuisine. The food melds flavors from the Gulf of Mexico with those from the border towns of Texas. While Ranch 616 has both surf and turf options, I prefer the various fish dishes.
616 Nueces St. – Website
Parlor & Yard
One of the newest spots on West Sixth Street, Parlor & Yard is brought to us by Rainey Street queen, Bridget Dunlap. This vintage-themed lounge takes guests back to a time when people relaxed and played yard games. You’ll find a great selection of cocktails and a menu that won’t break the bank! Parlor & Yard also offers Sunday brunch from 2-5 p.m.
601 W. 6th St. – Website
Walton’s Fancy and Staple
Walton’s Fancy and Staple opened on West Sixth Street in 2009. Interestingly, the original Walton’s was a florist and nursery, located in Westlake Hills for over 40 years. The now-famed bakery and deli keeps its floral roots alive through a delightful gift and floral shop. Walton’s offers delicious baked goods alongside breakfast and lunch options, as well as Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
609 W. 6th St. – Website
The Dogwood has seen recent success with Domain Northside and Houston expansions, but the West Sixth Street bar is the original location. The Dogwood offers Austinites a unique spot where they can enjoy music on the outdoor patio or cool off inside with plenty of TVs and an 80-foot bar. Definitely a convenient spot to catch up on sports. The Dogwood also has a full menu, so there’s no need to venture off when you get hungry.
715 W. 6th St. – Website
When you think of good, old-fashioned Texas burgers, you should think of Hut’s Hamburgers on West Sixth Street. They’ve been around since 1939, but–don’t fear–they’ve definitely kept up with the times. You can order burgers made with Longhorn beef, buffalo, chicken breast or a vegan veggie patty, and you can even get your burger on a gluten-free bun. Check out Hamburger Happy Hour on Wednesdays from 6-10 p.m. when you can order two of the same burger for the price of one.
807 W. 6th St. – Website
Whole Foods Flagship
While some might find it strange to include a grocery store on this list, Whole Foods plays an important role in the Austin community. They offer several community events on their rooftop, such as yoga, concerts and plays. And you’ll find an extensive selection of ready-made foods when you’re on the go.
525 N. Lamar Blvd. – Website
What makes West Sixth Street so special is that it’s not lined with only bars. There are plenty of local businesses lining the street that appeal to all walks of life. Music has always played a major role in Austin culture, so after Waterloo Records opened in 1982, it naturally became an Austin institution. Not only has Waterloo Records withstood the test of time despite changes in technology, but their customer service has, too. For example, they still allow you to listen to an album before you buy it!
600A N. Lamar Blvd. – Website
Z’Tejas Mexican Restaurant and Grill
West Sixth Street is home to the original Z’Tejas. Located in a converted turn-of-the-century Victorian house, Z’Tejas offers a beautiful patio as the setting to memorable Mexican fare. They offer happy hour every day of the week, and Saturday and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Be sure to order the cornbread, as proceeds made from the sales are donated to charitable organizations in Austin.
1110 W. 6th St. – Website
Sweetish Hill Bakery
This old-school Austin bakery has been baking goodies for locals for over 40 years. Sweetish Hill Bakery not only prepares traditional breads, cookies and cakes, but it also has amazing lunch specials with homemade sandwiches and soups. They serve Texas Traders coffee in the morning and offer beer and wine in the afternoon, so you can enjoy this spot at any hour. Sweetish Hill also has a huge parking lot, making it convenient to stop by and grab a pastry for your morning commute.
1120 W. 6th St. – Website
Clark’s Oyster Bar
Clark’s Oyster Bar is considered to be Perla’s little sister. Locally owned and operated, Clark’s offers an outstanding raw bar with neighborhood charm. They also offer fresh fish dishes and lobster rolls, so treat yourself to a night of seafood. Check out the daily happy hour from 3-6 p.m. when you can enjoy 50 cents off oysters, or enjoy weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
1200 W. 6th St. – Website
Last but certainly not least on our list is Nightcap, which recently opened on West Sixth Street. The dessert-forward concept does offer a few savory dishes for those who don’t have a sweet tooth. But for the rest of us, it’s okay to eat dessert first! Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
1401 W. 6th St. – Website
West Sixth is probably the section of Sixth Street with the most turnover, but I trust these spots will hold their own over time. Some have already been around for 40 years or more! Whether you’re looking for a new brunch spot or simply wanting to change up your Sixth Street routine, head a little farther west and I’m certain you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
@jpino9 wants to know:
What is your favorite West Sixth Street spot?
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