If you're done browsing art, jewelry, etc. on First Thursday and you want to go grab a beer, but don't want to go to a crowded place such as Guera's, Trophy's might be your place. It's a great dive bar. Trust me, it's extremely divey. It's located just south of Magnolia Cafe on South Congress. It's unlike many other places in this district, considering it's not artsy, classy, or chic. However, it may just be the place you want to be after being around all those places that are artsy, classy, or chic. It's a dark, smokey bar that I believe may serve only beer. The jukebox's selection includes Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. Occasionally, you may catch a band performing.
Dress Code: Wear whatever you want. I doubt anyone cares here.
Almost all of the nightlife in Austin is Downtown:
If you drive a really expensive car you'll go to the Warehouse district - 4th Street.
If you're kind of dull and "normal" you'll go to 6th Street.
and, if you're cool, you'll go to Red River.
See - you have choices!
Dress Code: Most people walk around without any clothes... or is that just me...?
Have I mentioned how much I love coffee shops that serve alcohol? Halcyon is another one of those places. I love this place. It's incredibly artsy and hip, with tons of artwork on the walls. It's just a very cool, chill place. I often stop here for a cup of coffee or tea after work and read a book. You can also order s'mores and cook and eat them right at your table. I think it's amazing and ingenious. It's in an excellent location for people watching as well, as it's on 4th Street, right where all of the bars are. Get an outside table and you can see the fashionable 4th Street crowd go by. It gets really crowded on weekend nights, though, so try to go on a weekday or else get there early.
Dress Code: Casual.
Austin's premiere Goth and Industrial club with offerings almost every night. Tuesdays are Sappho's Isle (lesbian night), Wednesdays is Midwave (underground 80s retro and old school goth), Thursdays & Fridays (live bands and music), Saturdays are Haven - synthpop, eurodance, goth, and industrial; and Sundays are Regression - retro 80s. Austin Chronicle in 2003-2006 voted the venue as Austin's best dance club. Great dance floor, large stage, pool tables, long smoking patio opening out to Red River street, two bars, and excellent staff with great drink prices (boasting best priced in the city). My visit on wednesday's Midwave found free cover, strong drinks for affordable prices, intriguing special drinks they are known for, and an incredible staff, DJ, music, and experience. Patrons were all happy and dancing - it was a blast. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Cru may not be an original Austin restaurant/bar, but I still enjoy it. Cru is a trendy little place in the trendy little spot which is on 2nd Street of the Warehouse District. It's small and the furniture makes it a little bit crowded, but the ambience is stylish and cozy and somewhat similar to a European cafe. There's an impressive wine selection, all of which is moderately priced. If it's nice out, get one of the outdoor tables and enjoy a glass of wine and some nice cheese. My book club met here, and it was an excellent location on a weekday night. It was quiet enough to be able to carry on a conversation, which I think is always a plus. On weekends, I'm sure you can get plenty of people watching in if you get an outdoor table. Cru's really at an excellent location.
Dress Code: I wouldn't go dressed in ratty old jeans and sneakers. I even felt slightly underdressed in premium jeans and a vintage-style cardigan, so I would go a step above that. However, it's Austin, and you can surely go dressed in nice jeans if you want.
Ruta Maya is just really cool. It's another coffee shop that serves alcohol, but it's a pretty big coffee shop. There's a stage for shows and a large, open space with a balcony. The shows at this place can be really cool. The Ruta Maya crowd is really friendly. Many of the patrons will happily engage in conversation with you. Despite its size, the coffee shop is still pretty comfy and cozy. They have various artisians, such as a lady selling handmade jewelry and a guy offering embroidery services. It's a very artsy, independent, community oriented, local business. The coffee is organically grown. Ruta Maya also offers free (with coffee purchase) classes like yoga, capoeira, tai chi, and medical terminology.
Dress Code: Casual
The Saxon Pub often has some good Austin musicians performing. It's an interesting little place. Depending on the night, it can be incredibly crowded with standing room only. Personally, I think they charge a little too much of a cover charge sometimes. I've paid $15, and according to Austin standards, that's kind of a lot. Sometimes, the performances are worth the high cover charge, though. Overall, I don't think there's too much that sets the Saxon Pub apart from many other places except for some of the shows they have sometimes. You also can't miss the giant knight in armor outside the pub. I think it's missing an arm.
Dress Code: Casual
Flipnotics is another one of those cool Austin coffee shops that serves beer. It's on Barton Springs, near Zilker Park. It's another relaxed, artsy, intellectual, hipster type places. They have live music sometimes, so it's cool being able to drink coffee or beer at a cool coffee shop and enjoy music. It's also a great place to go read a book or work on your laptop. Stop by if you're in the area. Chuy's, Baby A's, Green Mesquite, Shady Grove, and all those places are right across the street.
Dress Code: Casual.
G&S Lounge is another pretty divey place. But once again, I'll admit that I love dive bars. This place has an interesting, old arcade room with pinball, foosball, air hockey, pool, etc. I absolutely love it. It's such a fun place to be. I feel like a young teenager again when I'm at G&S, yet I'm old enough to have a beer in my hand while playing these games. I love it. It's generally an older crowd here and not too crowded, so if tight, crowded spots aren't your thing, then G&S is a cool place to be.
Dress Code: Casual.
Bouldin Creek Cafe is one of my favorite spots in Austin. There's just such a cool crowd there. You'll see hipsters, college students, and random other people. I just love how so many Austin coffee shops serve alcohol. I think it's amazing. I love the coffee shop ambience, so being able to drink there is even better. Anyway, Bouldin Creek is just a cool little coffee shop with a nice sized patio. I think it has sort of an artsy, intellectual, independent, cool vibe. They have lots of books and board games available. I dig it.
Dress Code: Casual.
I love Opal Divine's. I've only been to the Penn Field location on South Congress, but it's one of my favorite happy hour locations. I've been there many times. It's a large space with a very large patio. There is an excellent beer selection and an extensive drink menu. It's a very casual spot. They also have quite a bit of board games available. Last time I went, my friends and I drank beers and played Uno and Apples to Apples for a few hours. We had a lot of fun.
Dress Code: Casual.
The Horseshoe Lounge is seriously a dive bar. It's very casual, cash only, and I think they only have beer. However, the atmosphere just feels Texan to me. They have a shuffleboard table and a pool table. They have a juke box blasting country music. It's just a great place to just go and chill. It's generally not too crowded. The people there are an interesting mix. You can run into bikers, cowboys, and a smattering of random hipsters. It seems to generally be middle aged people out having a drink and a good time, but it's a pretty neat place if you like dive bars. I'd much rather go to a place like this than to 6th Street. $3.25 beer, but I think it's $2.00 before 7:00 PM.
Dress Code: Wear whatever you want. Seriously. I'm usually in jeans, a t-shirt, and flip flops and that's perfectly normal.
A tiny little gem on Burnett Road. It doesn't get much more authentic than this. There's a bar, one pool table, a teeny weeny dance floor and an even teenier space in the corner for the band to squeeze into. It's one of a dying breed of genuine honky tonks. If you can, try and catch the rather bizzare Chicken Sh*t Sunday. You will never think of bingo in the same way again. Dale Watson is a regular here - the man! The legend! I can't rave about him enough.
Dress Code: If you wear a coat and tie here you will probably get your head kicked in by the truck drivers in the parking lot. Put your jeans on or better yet put your shorts on.
New issues are distributed throughout the city every Thursday. Pick one up and try and choose from the many things going on in the city. You can also check out the website for backlogged reviews of bands, restaraunts and clubs.
Located right off South Congress close the Capitol, this place is incredible, as it has great Salsa dancing along with other Latin beats, such as Mambo. Upstairs is another smaller bar where one can take Tango lessons and then practice their moves. The atmosphere is brilliant and the music is great. The dancers range from experts to beginner's, always open-minded. As long as you are willing to ask, they most likely will oblige at least one dance.
Check their calenders for lessons.
Dress Code: Upscale dancing attire, such as a button shirt and jeans/pants for men and generally a skirt for women with possible heels. I would highly advise against sneakers.
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