Places like 6th Street can be windows to your soul. Thankfully, though, not everyone's soul is a one-dollar you-call-it. Despite its reputation as a chugging zone for the underaged and overly promiscuous, the flagpole banners read "Historic 6th" for a reason. Between the high-volume bars whose names are an adjective + an animal, there lies a wealth of secretly classy establishments, which by the end of this crawl, you'll feel way out of place in
Stop #1: Easy Tiger 709 E 6th St; 512.614.4972 Stake out parking under the highway or aim for a sleeper spot on Sabine St, then prowl over to Easy Tiger for a high-ABV half-pint of South Austin Golden Ale paired with beer cheese and a warm pretzel.
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Stop #2: Daruma Ramen
612B E 6th St; 512.369.3897
Look both ways (for lurking bicycle cops!) then sneak across the street to smoke a bowl... of Daruma's ramen noodles topped with shio tori chashu pork and a marinated soft-boiled egg.
Stop #3: Chez Nous
510 Neches St; 512.473.2413
Move at a snail's pace a block West and step into Austin's most old-school Francophile destination for what's possibly the best escargot in the city.
Stop #4: The Jackalope
404 E 6th St; 512.469.5801
Dirty diversion alert! Velvet nude paintings on the walls! Grungy bartenders! Punk rock patrons! Waffle fry nachos! Super-cheap taps! All of these make the The Jack worthy of a spot on the crawl of dirtiest 6th spots, but the bar's inherent charm earns it an honorable mention.
Stop #5: Chicago House
607 Trinity St; 512.358.6202
Envisioned by the architect of one of 6th's dirtiest places to have good clean fun (Bikinis!), Chicago House's original 1887 exposed-brick interior keeps it classy, and their beer selection is the best on the block.
Stop #6: Midnight Cowboy
313 E 6th St; 512.843.2715
Formerly operated as a brothel, Midnight Cowboy's been reinvented as the hippest cocktail destination in town with no tolerance for smoking, cell phones, or public displays of affection. The two-drink minimum might make this your last stop on the crawl...
Stop #7: parkside
301 E 6th St; 512.474.9898
... but fear not, satiation awaits! Pull up a seat at the bar at parkside, where, despite their disregard for the capitalization of proper nouns, they sling some of the tastiest oysters around.
Stop #8: The Driskill Hotel Bar
604 Brazos St; 512.439.1234
The ultimate in classic Austin, The Driskill was built in 1886 and has been helping dorky dudes impress girls ever since. It was originally built by a cattle baron to show just how awesome he was, and he succeeded! From the gigantic marble columns in the lobby, to the terrifyingly large busts of longhorns, to the luxe carpeting and ornate tin ceiling, the ambiance is unparalleled. And, most importantly after such a long and arduous night: you've earned a seat on one of their oversized leather couches.
1. Easy Tiger709 E 6th St, Austin
2. Daruma Ramen612B E 6th St, Austin
3. Chez Nous510 Neches St, Austin
4. The Jackalope404 E 6th St, Austin
5. The Chicago House607 Trinity St, Austin
6. Midnight Cowboy313 E 6th St, Austin
7. Parkside301 E 6th St, Austin
8. The Driskill Hotel Bar604 Brazos St, Austin
A bakery by day and beer (garden) by night, (also open during the day), Easy Tiger's bake shop features artisanal breads, pretzels, and housemade meats. A combination not often explored, the downstairs barroom allows you retire from your morning coffee and croissant to a night of exploring over 30 local craft brews under a canopy of lights in the outdoor beer garden.
Obviously named after the doll of a legless Buddist monk, Daruma's a tiny 28-seat Kome offshoot slinging a short-but-sweet menu that eschews their signature pork tonkatsu broth in favor of whole chicken broth. Their delicious menu includes the Shio (roasted chicken, boiled egg, bok choy, sesame seeds, goji berry), hybrid chicken/seafood stock Shoyu, a Miso holdover from their first location (ground chicken, soy sauce-flavored boiled egg, shredded red pepper), and even a Vegan option.
Chez Nous, an authentic French bistro, has been delighting Austin's downtown community for well over 30yrs. Whether, brunch, lunch, or dinner, this restaurant, whose name means "our home" en français, serves up an atmosphere as rich in texture as its regional cuisine.
Many dive bars have burgers, but few have burgers this epic: flame grilled and piled high on a toasted bun with premium toppings like smoked bacon, brie cheese, and carmelized onions, they're plenty sizable and a good bang for your buck ($10). Cheap signature shots, tunes from the house DJ, and a giant jackalope that you can mount merely sweeten the deal.
A former boarding house for settlers, The Chicago House has 20 rotating craft beers on tap and two cask ales in house. Neighboring pub and restaurant The Parish Underground provides some delicious bar bites to pair with The Chicago House's wide selection of American brews.
Once part of Austin's red light district, The Midnight Cowboy pays tribute to its former brothel glory as a reservations-only, buzz-in cocktail lair, where clients are encouraged to flirt with staff as long as they abide by house rules. Reservations are for two hours and there’s a two-drink minimum per guest. With so many expertly crafted cocktails to choose from, you can’t really go wrong -- some of them are even prepared table-side.
Right on Sixth Street, Parkside is a relatively upscale gastropub known for its raw bar and wine selection. Though the oysters are sourced from all over the country and the wine menu is more than two pages long, don't think it's just a wine and oyster bar. The menu features protein entrees, a knockout cheeseburger, and Texan craft beers.
So smack dab in the middle of Southby action that its street'll be closed to traffic, this historic hotel bar's a great place to chill out on a leather sofa, order up some housemade beef jerky or wild boar corn dog minis, then get into an argument with the giant mounted bull's head hanging above the fireplace because he was looking at you funny for ordering both a vodka Brazos Brasiliensis Batini and a seasonal draft from local operation Live Oak.