Drive around Austin with anyone who has been here more than five years, and you’re likely to get into the I remember whens. I remember when downtown was boarded up and always quiet. I remember when The Domain was a field. The frenetic pace of Austin’s growth has a lot of us wishing time would stand a little more still.
Luckily, there is Lala’s Little Nugget. With all of the young, trendy bars that come and go all the time, Lala’s feels like a relic trapped in time. It’s an “old Austin” bar that has switched ownership in recent years, been renovated and somehow managed to survive in today’s bar scene. Undoubtedly one of my favorite bars in North Austin.
Merry Christmas, Everyone! Always!
First off, Lala’s is a Christmas bar. One hundred percent of the time, every day. Even on the summer solstice, it’s Dec. 25. Inside, multicolored lights hang across the ceiling, casting warm light as friends laugh and talk. Ornaments above the wood bar bounce up and down any time a door is opened. The carpet is brown; people play pool in the corner; and the bar is in no way “too cool for you.” It’s a dive in all the best ways.
I used to get my laundry done at the laundromat next door. Lala’s was always a great place to relax for an hour and a half when I had nothing to do. In a way, I appreciated its dinginess and rundown vibe.
Since the reopening, Lala’s has had a lot of work done. There’s still that welcoming, unpretentious vibe that attracted me in the first place, but now it can stand toe-to-toe with any new bar.
Craft Beers and Specialty Cocktails
Lala’s has a list of craft beer it serves every day. Old standards like Shiner Bock are available, but you’ll also find newer beers in a rotation. Ask one of the bartenders, and they’ll let you know what’s coming up next.
Other than craft beer, you should also try a specialty house cocktail. The first drink you may hear about is their house old fashioned. It’s made with any bourbon you choose from the shelves, infused with either mint or chocolate, and garnished with an orange peel. Lala’s has an entire list of house cocktails, whether whiskey is your thing or not.
One new addition to Lala’s Little Nugget is the patio it shares with Austin’s newest Stubb’s BBQ (yes, that Stubb’s). The patio alone makes Lala’s one of the best kept secrets in northwest Austin. You can enjoy the relatively quiet street, sunshine and good drinks with friends.
Oh. And there are stockings hanging from the wall. And reindeer watching from above you 24/7.
Supporting Old Austin Bars Like Lala’s
Lala’s Little Nugget is one of those bars you keep coming back to. Maybe the first two times you come back for the irony or novelty. The idea of a Christmas bar in the middle of the blazing sunlight in Austin. As time goes on, though, you begin to appreciate the subtler details, like the familiar faces there every time, or how the bartenders purposefully make you feel welcome. I’m happy to support a bar that keeps true to its roots, but keeps up with the times. Hopefully you are, too.
Lala’s Little Nugget is located off Burnet Road in North Austin at 2207 Justin Lane.
@DustyVegas wants to know:
What is your favorite “old Austin” bar?