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Thirsty Thursday: Dives and Lounges in Austin

March 28, 2013 by

Places to Drink in AustinI’m not going to talk about barbecue and Tex-Mex here. When I began planning my trip to Austin, I made the mistake of opening that can of worms after I posted a thread on a foodie forum to ask about the best BBQ and Tex-Mex in town. Apparently, those are fighting words for Texans – like bagels and pizza for New Yorkers. There are too many greats to list only three. Instead, I’m going to tell you where to drink. (But, for what it’s worth, I ate my weight-plus in BBQ and Tex-Mex in Austin and recommend you do the same.) When you go to Austin, don’t miss these three favorites.

The Broken Spoke 
This is one of the oldest, greatest honky-tonks in Austin. Actually, I’ll go as far to say, the greatest in the world. The spot has featured country crooner greats like Willie Nelson and Bob Willis as background beats for Texas two-stepping. My husband and I took a lesson ($20 each before the real dancing starts), and while the instructions where solid, it was clear, we’d been Yankees far too long. A few cheap beers will give anyone liquid courage for a spin (or ten) on the historic floors of “The Spoke.” And, the chicken fried steak ain’t so bad, either.

Hotel San Jose 
Getting a room at the Hotel San Jose is a treat in its own right – but if you can’t swing that, the cocktails in the lounge will do just fine. I recommend a Michelada – their version is made with Modelo and served with the perfect combination of various ingredients like lime juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire, in a salt-rimmed glass. It’s great for sipping by the pool while listening to the DJ jam out. The cool kids in Austin? You’ll find ‘em here.

Ginny’s Little Longhorn
Ginny’s Little Longhorn may look like a church, but what happens inside is more sin than sanctuary. Any night of the week is a grand time, but Sunday is when you can play Chicken S#*t Bingo in this tiny shack. What’s that? Arrive early and you’ll be treated to killer live music and the infamous bingo game. Ginny, (a 60-plus woman with a heart of gold), brings out her star chicken for the day’s entertainment. If chickie does her business where you put your money, feel free to buy a round of Lone Stars for the bar. Hungry? There are gratis hot dogs floating in a slow cooker. Now, that’s what I call southern hospitality!

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