This guest blog post is by Hunter Stanford.
Free Week in Austin has a certain vibe that’s hard to put down on paper. It’s the first week of the New Year; you’re still riding that Christmas high, still pretending resolutions might actually happen, and dang y’all! some things are free that usually aren’t.
For those of you just now emerging from under the rock you call home: Free Week is the first week or so of each year, in which select venues in and around the Red River area host – wait for it – free shows all week.
A new stomping ground of mine is Holy Mountain, a frequent stop throughout my Free Week extravaganza. Built in the locale where Beauty Room used to be, at 617 E. 7th Street, Holy Mountain opened its doors right in time for ACL last year.
Not that this monkey had too many complaints about Beauty Bar, but Holy Mountain did take a few steps in the right direction. Mainly, they moved the stage. It now sits nicely in the back corner, as opposed to right next to the entrance, accosting you with high decibel counts right as you walk in.
Further, there’s good eating right out back. We all know the herds of food trailers making their way around the ATX area, and there’s no better place to set up camp than behind a venue. Johnny’s Soul Food takes up that real estate and I got some fine fried okra to keep the vices rolling in all night.
Making an awesome bar seems really easy. Paying for/building/sustaining one may be hard, but my fantasies have no place for money, responsibility or hard work. Don’t play the music too loud between bands, give me cheap-ish drinks, a place to sit down and some Ren and Stimpy re-runs in the background. Ka-blam dude, we just conceptualized an awesome place to blow some money on the weekend.
Holy Mountain falls short in one of these categories and I’ll give you a hint. My buzz and my wallet were at odds all night.
$4 Lone Star tallboys? $5 wells? $6 Jack and Coke? Look, Holy Mountain, I want to be friends. I really do. These prices aren’t outrageous, but they don’t rock my face either. This isn’t West 6th. Things aren’t pricey around here. For Pete’s sake, there’s a Wendy’s right around the corner! Ease it back just a nudge and you’ll fit in on Red River like an old catcher’s mitt.
All in all I went to Holy Mountain five times during Free Week. The sound was excellent (even if the band playing was waaaaay less than excellent), there was room to move around, places to sit out front and back and – heck – some restroom facilities that would make any Best Western jealous.
So go check this place out. Free Week is over, but the fun times and bad decisions of 2013 have barely begun! Get you some soul food, a couple gin and juices and let the live music machine lull you into a great vibe. Right next to Red 7, a little south of the 7th/Red River intersection, Holy Mountain will show you a good time.
Hunter Stanford is an Austin-based web designer with a passion for all that is awesome. That may sounds vague to you but to him it’s quite specific. Refer to hunterstanford.com for awesomeness discrepancies.
Photos courtesy of local photographer Sean Claes.