Is This The Next Bar On Rainey Street?

86 Rainey Street

The Rainey Street Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and new businesses must get approval from the Historic Landmark Commission before commencing with any building rehab.   I have to give credit to businesses coming into Rainey Street.  They are doing a great job at rehabbing the old bungalows and creating an enjoyable atmosphere.

But, with 1,000+ door fronts in the district, let’s shoot for more mixed uses.  Are we approaching market capacity for new bars in downtown Austin’s Rainey Street District?  It’s a fair question to ask.

Rainey Street is zoned CBD, and this is a good thing!  However, the density entitlements of CBD sit idle (potentially for years) and the district is dominated by residential uses.  The Downtown Austin Plan expresses five Urban Design Priorities for Rainey Street District.  One of those states: “Limit the number of cocktail uses allowed.”

When are we going to see some day time retailers and restaurants, eh? Truth is the district is lacking sidewalks and offers little parking to support many uses except for bars, which are listed below.

1) Lustre Pearl (97 Rainey Street) is has applied for Rainey Street’s first Outdoor Music Venue permit, to the chagrin of many neighbors fearing a trend.
2) Clive Bar (609 Davis Street) is a great bar that we love to go to.
3) “96” Rainey Street under construction, and will soon be a sports bar.
4) Icenhauer’s (83 Rainey Street) is under construction, and should be open on September 20th.  It will be a bar.
5) 86 Rainey Street (pictured above and below) has started down the path towards becoming… something.

Back in April, I found myself hanging out in front of 86 Rainey Street, drinking cold beers with John Arley – an affable guy who sang a few songs for me.

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. Yes, how can we get a coffee house on this street? That would be awesome. Let’s cool it on all these new bars for a minute, although they are pretty fun.

  2. avatar Paula Marie says:

    I lived in this house at 86 Rainey Street from the mid 90’s until 2005. Sitting at the computer bored, I thought I would google it and this came up. I miss that old house and I miss Rainey Street. Even though change was due, it saddens me to see some of these old historical houses becoming bars and restaurants.

  3. avatar More unfriendly neighbors says:

    SERIOUSLY. Enough with the bars. What Rainey really needs (after the obviously lacking infrastructure of lights and sidewalks) is a coffee shop, a decent sit down restaurant and a convenient store. “Town” in the Legacy is most definitely not.

    But of course, COA is turning all of downtown Austin into a UT fraternity.

    I cannot wait to watch this town self-implode because of it’s horrific “urban planning.”

  4. avatar Lance Hunter says:

    You forgot Chain Drive. Definitely the most interesting bar in the district.

Add New Comment or Leave Reply