Thoughts on Austin’s Sixth Street

Some of the Sandbar crew visited Austin, Texas, right before Thanksgiving. It seems like a million years ago after all the holiday hoopla, but I still wanted to share some of the fun stuff we saw at Austin bars. I'm going to break this up into several posts, because there's a lot to share. So, check back later this week for more.

Everyone always talks about Sixth Street as "the place to go" in Austin. And maybe it is, but not until 11 p.m. -  even on weekends with home football games, apparently.  Several of the bar employees we talked to confirmed that they rarely get busy until late at night.

Dave and I stayed at a hotel in downtown Austin about two blocks from Sixth Street, and on our first day there we spent the afternoon walking around the area. We noticed right away that it's very different than Mass Street in Lawrence. We're used to seeing people in Downtown Lawrence all the time- morning, afternoon, and late into the night- but the Sixth Street area was practically deserted. In fact, most of the other people walking around were sporting KU attire just like us; other tourists there for the football game who had been directed to Sixth Street as the place to be.

20091120_austin_0002We found a somewhat-tropical looking place to grab some food, the Paradise Cafe & Bar. This was a  research trip, after all! It was a cool old building that had been restored, and the staff was super friendly. Probably because there were several of them, and only a couple of us. We asked the bartender to whip up her best tropical concoction (the name escapes me), and it was pretty tasty. The staff even bought us tequila shots. In the middle of the afternoon,ugh.

Most of Sixth Street was populated with bars and restaurants, with a few random businesses or offices sprinkled in. Not like Downtown Lawrence, where you can buy practically anything. We also noticed that a majority of the bars seemed to offer some type of food. Another one we liked was the Jackalope– awesome burgers and a surprisingly delicious spicy Guiness Bloody Mary.

One of the few stores that we saw along Sixth Street that was actually open and busy was Wild About Music. As music fans, we spent quite a bit of time in there. It was a neat gift shop that I would compare to a combination of Hobb's/The Palace/Etc. Shop.

While we had a great time on Sixth Street, we decided that Lawrence is lucky to have a downtown area like we do- an area that is vibrant almost any time of the day, with office workers, shoppers, diners, and bar hoppers all sharing the space. It wouldn't be nearly as great if Mass Street activity shut down at 5 pm, or if it didn't get busy until late at night.