Whether you love it or loath it, Sixth Street is one of the most iconic streets in Austin. It’s the epicenter of what made Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
There are three sections of Sixth Street in Austin: West, East and what locals refer to as Dirty. West Sixth is the section of Sixth Street that runs west from Congress Avenue. For the most part, the nightlife scene ends at North Lamar Boulevard. Bars on 6th street in Austin Texas are quite famous .
Technically, and according to street signs, East Sixth starts at Congress Avenue and runs east, but that’s not what you’ll hear from locals. We refer to the section of Sixth Street that stretches from Congress Avenue to I-35 as Dirty Sixth. Then East Sixth is anything east of I-35. Don’t get confused by the street signs; you’ll be talking like a local in no time.
There are actually quite a few wonderful businesses on Dirty Sixth that aren’t as “dirty” as you might imagine. Yes, there are bars that offer dollar shots, and plenty of people who don’t know how to handle their alcohol. But there is also a charm that often goes overlooked. So here are the diamonds in the rough; the best of the best on Dirty Sixth Street.
There is nothing classier than the historical and haunted Driskill Hotel. Located at Sixth and Brazos, its cowboy decor is far from a hipster’s ironic attempt at being Texan. Rather, it holds a traditional and tasteful representation of the true spirit of Texas.
This is great place to start or end the night, where you’ll find live music almost every night of the week. I recommend the bacon-wrapped dates and Sage Advice cocktail.
Buffalo Billiards is catty-corner to The Driskill Hotel. This Wild West-themed bar is a playground for our inner child. Considering there’s 22,000 square feet of entertainment, if you’re bored, then you’re not trying. They have pool tables, shuffleboard tables, darts and, if all else fails, they have oodles of TVs to keep you entertained. This is the place to get “active” after your refined experience at The Driskill. And with a typical drink and food menu, you could set up shop for the entire night.
As you head east on Dirty Sixth, you’ll run into The Parish. This is one of the best music venues in town. Alongside supporting up-and-coming local artists, they host well-known musicians without the high price tag. Be sure to stop by to see who’s playing–if the show isn’t already sold out. You may stumble upon your new favorite band.
Parkside, which in my opinion has the best happy hour in town, sits on the corner of Sixth and San Jacinto. During happy hour, you can enjoy half-off cocktails, beer and bar food such as calamari and shishitos. And if you venture just a tad off Sixth, right behind Parkside, you’ll find The Backspace, one of my five best pizza joints in town.
You may miss Midnight Cowboy as you continue down Dirty Sixth because it’s a modern day speakeasy, trying to remain unnoticed. Only a red light leads the way to this reservation-only cocktail bar, which gets its name from the once secret brothel in the same location: Midnight Cowboy Modeling Oriental Massage. This unique space and the outstanding cocktails are a must when hitting Dirty, so be sure to plan ahead and make a reservation.