Few cities have seen the kind of relentless growth that Austin has experienced over the past decade or two, the influx of new residents rapidly shifting the landscape of eating, drinking and living in the city. Underneath that growth is the “real” Austin if it can be called that, a network of city originals that very much includes the city’s dive bars.
The Little Longhorn Saloon
is one such dive, a location that has operated as a bar of some description since World War II and home to a Sunday ritual involving a chicken, a sequence of numbers and wagering on the location of a particular bodily function. Huge crowds are drawn but there’s more to the Austin dive bar than livestock wagering, including a potent live music scene in a building that may as well be the dive bar chapel of the city.
North of the city, Lala’s Little Nugget
follows in the grand tradition of Christmas-themed dive bars, complete with Santa sleigh on the bar’s roof and a few miles worth of tinsel. In the same part of the city, Buddy’s Place
hits the opposite end of the spectrum, a no-nonsense interior with a profound devotion to John Wayne.
These types of gems can be found throughout Austin, an important counterpoint to some of the redevelopment that can be seen throughout the city.