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In town for Summer NAMM-Non-Touristy/Frat Divebars

Will be in town this wknd.
Looking for lounge/divebars or small late-night hole-in-the-wall cafes/restaurants for this wknd.
Within walking distance of the convention center.
Staying at the Hilton on 4th St.
Thanks!

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  1. 50 feet from the Hilton - Chez Nous. Affordable & good dining (see separate thread).
    50 feet further on from Chez Nous - Lovejoys. Tattoos, pool tables, homebrew, absolutely no frat boys. Open until 2.00 am.

    6 Replies
    1. re: TAF

      Yeah. One of my favorite relaxing evenings is to hit Lovejoy's after work, then dinner at Chez Nous. Then maybe back to Lovejoy's.... (I was actually reluctant to recommend these, because I don't want too many tourists showing up. Selfish, I know....)

      1. re: Bat Guano

        So, Lovejoy's did not close after SXSW as rumored?

        1. re: slowrider

          No, a buyer materialized. It's alive 'n kicking.

          1. re: TAF

            The new owners at Lovejoys have live music most nights of the week. This is both a plus and a minus. If you're up for the tunes, it can be fun. But, because it is such a small place the music drowns out everything else and makes conversation impossible.

            For a non-music experience, you might try Sidebar (on 7th just east of Lovejoys and the big homeless shelter).

        2. re: Bat Guano

          I'll have to be careful in case I bump into you, then!

          1. re: Bat Guano

            At Lovejoy's, you can have Chimay White by the pitcher for I think $24. Not sure of the exact figure, but I did the math once and it ends up only about 10% more expensive than to buy the bottles at retail.

            Also try Casino El Camino. The back patio there quite perfectly captures the Austin vibe.

        3. You're close enough to Angie's to walk there for lunch -- just across I-35 on 7th. Grab their carnitas taco plate. Skip breakfast or else it'll force you to skip dinner. If you really want to ratchet it up, try their absurdly sweet lemonade as well.

          Further off to the east is Tony's Southern Comfort. This is my favorite place in Austin for chicken fried steak and fried chicken. If you're craving either of those dishes, you're set. This is hike-able from where you are, but it'll eat up more than a lunch hour.

          You're also very close to Chez Nous, a personal favorite already mentioned, and Moonshine, which isn't my cup of tea but I guess some folks really like it: contemporary comfort cuisine, I guess? Their fish dishes are actually fairly capable, but if you're craving soul food I'd make the trek to Tony's (mentioned above) which is much more of a jam.

          If you're craving BBQ in walking distance, you've got Stubb's and Ironworks. In my opinion Ironworks is superior; neither will blow your mind. Lambert's upscale BBQ is walkable from where you are, and is probably better than either of these places (although much fancier and more expensive).

          One of the best burgers in Austin can be found really close to you (6th street) at Casino el Camino. This also meets your dive bar requirement. Last several times I've been, the burger hasn't been actually that great; still, if you haven't been, you kinda have to go. Jackalope (nearby) also has a pretty decent hamburger.

          You're staying upstairs from Finn & Porter, which is an upscale joint that is suffering from schizophrenia. Their fish specials have been (in my experience) downright bad and their sushi is poorly done. Their steak is more than passable (given that we're in Austin, which for some reason fails on the delicious steak front). Very expensive.

          As for drinks and rock shows: up and down Red River there are several places that are divey: Side Bar, Club DeVille, Beerland*, Mohawk*, Emo's*; turn toward downtown on 6th and you've got the aforementioned Casino el Camino (with a really excellent, must-try burger) and Lovejoy's. (Places marked with an asterisk are more rock venues than dive bars, but reasonably qualify for dual status.) Another divey option is the Cloakroom, just west of the capitol building. This basement bar may be a little far from where you are, but in case you find yourself over there, you're fore-armed.

          Have a great time in Austin!

          3 Replies
          1. re: tom in austin

            More downtown non-frat bars: Creekside Lounge, Casino El Camino, Mugshots

            1. re: tom in austin

              Given your partial to hole-in-the-walls and dives, definitely skip Lambert's, Finn & Porter, Moonshine and The Cloakroom. They are all on the opposite end of the dive <> fancy scale.
              I wouldn't even go to Stubb's or Tony's Southern Comfort, because while neither is as fancy as those listed above, they are still not at all what I would be looking for if I wanted a hole-in-the-wall.
              If you are up for a long walk, great options are
              1) go to Congress Ave, cross the bridge and walk into the big parking garage behind the gas station - Ego's is one of Austin's best lounge bars, right up there with The Carousel Lounge (which is way outside your walking range).
              2) Going the other direction under the freeway and 5 blocks into the eastside will take you Red's Scoot Inn, another fun spot.
              Chaindrive is a fun gay leather bar close to where you are staying, just a block and a half south of Ironworks Bar-B-Q.
              If you want to take a bus, the # 22 will take you to 2 great hole-in-the walls:
              1) is a place where the walls literally have holes (and flocks of pigeons nesting inside) - Nubian Queen Lola's on 12th and Chicon,
              2) the other is a bar (with pub grub that's not going to knock your socks off) on the corner of 26th street (Dean Keeton Dr) and Guadalupe, appropriately called "The Hole in the Wall".
              Whatever you choose, have fun, and let us know how your trip turned out.

              1. re: Alan Sudo

                Am I confused about the Cloakroom? A bus-sized basement bar that has the same atmosphere as Deep Eddy or Ego's (only smaller)? If not, what place am I talking about?

                Also, I'd move that Red's Scoot isn't a dive any more. It was bought by the Longbranch Inn guy. While it is a nice place to go, it is definitely now a hipster joint.

            2. Ego's, Casino, Lovejoy's and Mugshots are all great suggestions. I would also recommend the Jackalope. It is a Betty Page sort of place. Also, they serve decent food.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kirelerya

                Another vote for Casino el Camino for a burger or chicken sandwich...and inexpensive drinks. Club deVille on Red River & 8th Street is probably one of my favorite bars -- great patio surrounded by limestone, and a cool dark inside bar.

              2. Thanks so much for all the recs.!
                Will report back next week.
                Cheers!