When I got the message from my friend of over 20 years that she & her husband would be spending their 10th Wedding Anniversary in Austin, I was thrilled. I hadn’t seen them in about 3 years (the last time I was in Chicago) and I hadn’t been in great contact with her. But thankfully, she’s the type of friend that no matter how much time goes by, we always pick up just where we left off. And that’s just what we did. Without enough notice to request time off, I knew I’d be working the whole time they were in, so I decided the day I would like to devote to them would be Saturday night. They got in on Thursday and started touring the different areas of Austin that she had heard about: 6th Street, South Congress, etc. I asked her to save the East Side for me because I knew they would like that area as much as I do. She had also told me that she was dying to hear some Rockabilly so I scouted out what looked like a pretty decent, female-fronted band, Devil’s Daughters. According to their Facebook page, their show started at 8pm at Club 606. So the three of us (Violet, Greg, & I) met up at their hotel and then moseyed over for some food at Old School on 6th street.
I had a damn good burger, while Violet & Greg munched on a chicken fried steak & wings, respectively. It felt great hanging out and catching up with them over dinner. I miss that type of friendship connection. I just don’t have that with anyone here in Austin. We got done with dinner a little late and by around 8:45 we were in front of Club 606. The weird thing was that it was closed. WTF?? I swore the set time was 8!! Well, we were obviously not getting in there, so we walked across the street to possibly check out whoever was playing at Red 7. They both liked the sound of that band. Unfortunately, they weren’t open yet either, it was just the band sound checking. So then, we just decided to trek over to the East Side and begin our Bar Crawl. The first bar we encountered was Shangri La.
I had never been in there because it doesn’t have live music. But I liked it immediately. It has a very retro feel, down to the jewel-red vinyl booth in the corner. The bar staff was friendly and the jukebox was jammin’. This was definitely our kind of place. We all loved it.
Violet and I each had a drink with whipped cream vodka. YUMMY!! It tasted like a chocolate martini, but on ice…nice! After one drink and more catching up, we decided to keep on walking. I had always intended to take them into Hotel Vegas because I knew there would be some live music. I really wanted to slip in to Volstead Lounge (Hotel Vegas’ next door neighbor) but it was closed till midnight due to a private party. BOO!!! So off we went into Hotel Vegas. Greg got excited by the video games. So while Violet and I sat at the bar and chatted, he was off to the races. He came back after the band had started playing. This band called Jones was a little strange. It was a four-piece and the lead singer, who had a baseball hat on with a clothes pin on it, was a trip!! He was just all over the place. At one point some guy in the audience asked for his vocals to be turned up, & the lead singer was like, “What?? Who cares??” OMG!! Then his hat came off and he had the clothes pin in his hair like a barrette. What a weirdo. Violet & I both agreed that we could not classify this band’s music. It was kinda fun, but nothing I would have chosen to see on my own. There’s Austin for ya…hit or miss. Anyway, once Violet realized that she would never be able to finish her nasty drink, the bar’s special of the night, we decided to head out to the next spot. I had never walked further than Hotel Vegas, but one of Greg’s buddies had recommended The Grackle, which was just a couple of blocks away. From the outside, it looks like nothing more than a beer garden, but once inside you have a full-on bar space. It totally reminded me of the 70s for some reason. I don’t know if it was the decor or just the way the space was built out, but it definitely took me back a few decades. It was cool & Greg just loved it. We stayed there for a little while, talking and letting Greg enjoy another local brew. Then Violet asked if we could go back to Red 7 and maybe check out the band we had heard sound checking earlier. I said, oh yeah! So we headed back. Before we got back, we stopped next to Cheer Up Charlie’s where there are a load of food trucks so my friends could check out the local cuisine. You can’t come to Austin and NOT eat from a food truck. I forgot to mention that we had also picked up some dude on the way back that we had met at Shangri La. He was a lot more wasted by now though. Ay ay ay! Just when I thought we would be saddled with him, Violet gracefully found our exit strategy. And after she & Greg were done eating we made our way back to Red 7. Unfortunately, there was no band playing yet and the cover was a little high for us to just spend 30 minutes in there, so we decided to call it a night. As much as I wanted to spend the rest of the night out with them, I also had to work early the next morning. So we walked back to my car and I drove them back to their hotel. It was sad to say goodbye, but I look forward to seeing them again, hopefully when they come back for another visit to Austin.