The Rainey Street Rundown: A MEGA Post of (Almost) Everything That’s Happening in the Rainey District

The Rainey Street Rundown: A MEGA Post of (Almost) Everything That’s Happening in the Rainey District

The Rainey Street District in downtown Austin has been a hotbed of activity lately, from new apartment high rises, to an influx of new bars – things are really happening in Rainey.  So, we thought it helpful to put together a property-by-property guide about all that’s going on.  Everything we know about Rainey Street to date [mostly] in one place – this post!

This picture of the Rainey Street has each lot numbered with its numerical address. Look below to the corresponding number to see the skinny on the lot.

51 Rainey Street, Austin (address not shown on map, across from the Milago Condos), Austin Skyhouse apartments

The ABJ reported on the imminent ground-breaking of the Austin Skyhouse Apartments last month.  Being built by Novare-Andrews Urban, the same group behind the successful 360 condos, the 20,000 feet of ground floor retail is rumored to include a Royal Blue Grocery.

60 Rainey Street, Austin, Lot

City of Austin owned, currently being used as offices for the Waller Creek Tunnel Project (see video).  Earlier this year the City opened up a request for bids for someone to buy the land.  The neighbor to the north (74 Rainey) owned by Riverside Resources submitted a proposal.  The MACC’s claim on it was enough to politically sway council to kibosh the sale of the land. Community Impact reported on the decision last week.

61 Rainey Street, Austin, Craft Pride

This is the future site of a new venue called Craft Pride.  This will be a bar  that will have over 50 taps, all TX beers. Their Facebook page says that they are hoping to be open November 2012. The dirt is owned by Jesse Lunsford – who also owns the dirt under Lustre Pearl and Javelina Bar.

69 Rainey Street, Austin, Javelina Bar

For some history on the site, read about our other posts on the 69 Rainey Street site and also check out our review on Javelina Bar.  Property is owned by Jesse Lunsford, who also owns the land at Lustre Pearl (97 Rainey) and Craft Pride (61 Rainey).  Why do the addresses jump from 61 to 69 Rainey?  We don’t know, either.

71 Rainey Street, Austin, Single Family Home

This house is infamous for its extreme lean!

73 Rainey Street, Austin, Future Site of G’Raj Mahal II – Expansion

G’Raj Mahal recently announced that they would be “expanding” to 73 Rainey.  Read the details about G’raj Mahal’s expansion on Rainey.  This lot is owned by former City Council member Brigid Shea.

74 Rainey Street, Austin, Lot

Owned by Riverside Resources – the same group who is building The Whitley apartments on 3rd and Brazos.

75 Rainey Street, Austin, Backyard Eatery – Art of Tacos + Tapas Bravas

Formerly called Budare’s, the Backyard Eatery is actually one of two shifting (with some overlap) taco trucks hidden behind the house at 75 Rainey.

Art of Tacos Hours
Tuesday – Thursday: 7am-3pm
Friday – Saturday: 6pm – 3am
Sundays: 12noon-8pm

Tapas Bravas Hours
Wednesday – Saturday: 6pm – 12midnight
Sundays: 6pm – 9pm

75 1/2 Rainey Street, AustinFuture site of a bar, name TBD

This deal has gone nowhere quickly.  An entity descriptively and yet still vaguely named 75 1/2 Rainey Street LLC has filed for a TABC permit for this address.  According to the comptrollers site, the registered address for this entity is a subway station in Los Angeles.  This property has also recently been under review by the Historic Landmark Commission.

76 Rainey Street, Austin, Single Family Home

One of the last family-owned /occupied residences on Rainey Street.

77 Rainey Street, Austin, TBD

78 Rainey Street, Austin, event venue owned by JMI

One of several Rainey Street District properties owned by JMI, developer of the Hotel Van Zandt, to be built just north of the Shore Condos.  Used for events and during festivals.

79 Rainey Street, Austin, Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden

Kudos to Bangers.  These folks invested lots of money and the place turned out great.  And, they serve sausage on pretzel buns. AND, they’re open for lunch. So, they win.

We recently did a comprehensive review on Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden – bottom line, we liked it.  Austin Eater also wrote a great review on the place. Owner of business also owns the dirt.

They have a parking lot just behind them (to the east) on East Avenue (they don’t appear to own the lot, but have some sort of agreement with the owner to use it, I guess), and you can just walk across the alley to the restaurant from the lot.  If you are driving in to Rainey, you can park there for free on weekdays (I’m told by the serving staff), at least for now.

80 Rainey Street, Austinevent venue owned by JMI

Another property owned by JMI.  Used for events.

81 Rainey Street, Austin, Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden, Building 2

The other half of Bangers.  It was rumored this would be a little cafe / grocer, but then it became the stage with the back of the property opening to the courtyard.

81 1/2 Rainey Street, Austin, Single Family Home

Another rare example of an occupied Rainey Street house.

82 Rainey Street, Austin, Lot

The newly fenced lot is owned by JMI.

83 Rainey Street, Austin, Icenhauer’s

One of the nicest property rehabs on Rainey Street, Icenhauer’s. Owner of the business also owns the dirt.

84 Rainey Street, Austin, Single Family Home, Owned by JMI

JMI owns this property, too.  Recently was painted and fenced.  We hope it does not become another night-time only use.

85 Rainey Street, Austin, El Naranjo

Sandwiched between the KRDB home and Icenhauer’s, El Naranjo is Rainey Street’s pride – an actual table service restaurant with killer food.  The owners and architect (Martin Barrera) did a fantastic rehab of this property.  We sort of miss the trailer and the front yard picnic tables, though.  Read our review of the original El Naranjo trailer.

86 Rainey Street, Austin, Blackheart Bar

Spotted by DAB in 2010, but still one of the most recent additions to Rainey Street, the Blackheart Bar replaced the old home at 86 Rainey where Mr. John Arley would serenade passers-by.  We wonder what happened to you, John – but we wish you well wherever you ended up.  More noise complaints have been filed against this bar than any other on Rainey Street.  So many, in fact, that the City had to get involved and tell them to play nice or lose their OMV permit.  To Blackheart’s credit they built a band shell in the back so the sound doesn’t travel so much.  Does it work?  Meh. The City and residents continue to raise concerns.

Note:  I live / work at The Shore Condos, the neighboring high-rise.

87 Rainey Street, Austin, Nova Kitchen & Bar?

UPDATE 8/31/2013: No Va is OPEN for Business!  Check out updated pics of the property and my review HERE.

Most people simply refer to this as the “KRDB home on Rainey Street”.  There’s been a TABC application on the door since May from Nova Kitchen & Bar.  There was a lot of buzz about Nova last year around this time, and CultureMap reported that they were slated to open in April of 2012. However, I haven’t heard any recent news about the concept.

88 Rainey Street, Austin, Single Family Home

TCAD has owner as Arthur Osborn, who is also owner of 91 Red River and part owner of 91 1/2 Red River along with Perry Lorenz’s company.

88 1/2 Rainey Street, Austin, Single Family Home

Home/office of a local architect, and de-facto Rainey Street historian, Craig Nasso.

89 Rainey Street, Austin, The Sutton Company Office

The Sutton Company is currently in negotiations with the owners of 89 1/2 Rainey, 91 Rainey, 93 Rainey, 95 Rainey, and 97 Rainey (Lustre Pearl site), and several East Avenue lot owners.  Their plan is to build a multi-tower, mixed use development in the Rainey Street district currently being called the “Rainey Gateway Center”.

89 1/2 Rainey Street, Austin, Residence (two apartments)

One of the properties Sutton Company is looking to build on.

90 Rainey Street, Austin, Future Site of Container Bar

In planning since 2011, the site should be the future home of a concept called Container Bar.  Previous home to Cazamance, which is now at 1102 E Cesar Chavez.  We just received a Notice of Filing of Application for Administrative Approval of a Site Plan Extension for this site, as well – meaning, that, even though its been delayed, plans for the site are still in play.

91 Rainey Street, AustinTBD

Travis County has the “Velasquez Brothers” listed as the owner of the property.  Mailing address is 90 East Avenue, the location of the East Avenue Lounge. One of the lots Sutton Company is looking to build on.

92 Rainey Street, Austin, Bungalow

Architecture firm Bercy Chen Studio makes Bungalow fit in nicely with the aesthetic of other Rainey Street bars and homes.  Plans for a “tex-med” food truck (Texas – Mediteranean fusion) are in place, and one of the partners tells me that their beer selection is 2nd only to Banger’s.  They negotiated a 15-year lease, so they’ll be here awhile.

93 Rainey Street, Austin, Single Family Home

One of the lots Sutton Company is looking to build on.

94 Rainey Street, Austin, Single Family Home

95 Rainey Street, Austin, The White House Event Venue and the “United Nations of Food” Trailer Park

The plan is for this space to be an event venue, rather than just an out-and-out bar.  The business owners are also placing several food trucks on the lot, and they tell me that these trucks are OPEN FOR LUNCH! This is also one of the lots Sutton Company is looking to build on, and, depending on how negotiations go – the venue could be gone by next year.

Lot is owned by an entity that is related and has the same address as the owning entity of 91 Rainey.

96 Rainey Street, Austin, Bar 96

Bar 96 was built as a sports bar concept, but really still feels like just another neighborhood bar.  Backstage Grill provides food from a….you guessed it….food trailer in the back.  Originally, East Side King was there, but they’ve since moved to East 6th.

97 Rainey Street, Austin, Lustre Pearl

We’ve been writing about Lustre Pearl since 2009, y’all!  Lustre Pearl was the first bar in Rainey (well, not counting Chain Drive, which came on the Rainey Street scene in 1986!) and was the catalyst for the influx of bars into a sleepy residential part of downtown.  Through the good and the bad (see It’s About to Get Loud on Rainey Street), we’ve been there through every twist and turn with this venue, and the domino effect it’s had on the district is net positive for bar operators and residents.

609 Davis Street, Austin, Clive Bar + Bar Illegal

First spotted in rehab phase in 2009, the property is owned by former Austin City Council member Bigid Shea and was rehabbed and turned into a bar by Bridget Dunlap.  Clive Bar is one of our favorite venues in the Rainey District.

91 Red River, Austin, G’Raj Mahal I

DAB has historically been big fans of G’raj Mahal, Rainey Street’s heart and soul, BYOB Indian food purveyor.  Food continues to be great.  Service seems to be overwhelmed recently.  We’re excited about their expansion to 73 Rainey (though we speculate this will end up being a total move, and something else will be done at the 91 Red River lot).

Downtown Austin condos in the Rainey Street District include The Milago, The Shore Condos, The Towers of Town Lake, and The Villas on Town Lake.  Windsor on the Lake (previously named Legacy on the Lake) apartments are currently the only apartments in the Rainey Street District until the completion of Austin Skyhouse.

Not enough Rainey Street Real Estate info for ya?  Well, we’ve got lots more!  You can read everything Rainey by clicking here.

About amber gugino

Amber Gugino loves living downtown and has been an active board member of the The Shore Condo Owners Association, Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association and member of the Junior League of Austin. She adores her dog, Blog, and she learns something new about downtown Austin every day.


  1. Jude, do you know anything about the new place Lucille’s that is going in on Rainey?

  2. Speaking Rainey – adjacent, any word on why the house was demolished at 97 red river, or ground breaking for the fairmont on the other side of Cesar Chavez?

    • amber gugino says

      We have inquired about the lot at 97 Red River and haven’t gotten a response. In the short-term, it would be great to have something like a La Boite there!

      Fairmont was last reported to be slated for a 2015 opening, so ground breaking *should* be happening soon…..maybe early 2013.

    • just heard a rumor from one of the site workers that a taco truck is going there….at least for the short term….

  3. What is the status of the Hotel Van Zandt?

    • amber gugino says

      We keep hearing that its still a go…but no further details on timeline, etc., have been released to my knowledge.

  4. Brad Sorenson says

    Hello. I wanted to give an update on 87 Rainey St.
    NO VA Kitchen & Bar, projected to open December 2012, is located at 87 Rainey St in a modern two story house. The 75 seat interior, with additional patio and balcony space, features a distinctive look by local design master Joel Mozersky. Open Tuesday – Saturday 4:00PM – 2:00AM, NO VA will also serve brunch on Sunday’s from 11:00AM – 3:00PM.

    From scratch cooking will be the focus of chef Brad Sorenson’s menu. Bar food will be available from Happy Hour to Late Night with a seasonal eclectic dinner menu from 6-11PM. The “from scratch” approach continues at the bar with custom cocktails featuring house made mixers. JC Rodriguez will oversee cocktails and NO VA’s mission of bringing excellent customer service to the area.

  5. Nice rundown lot by lot. The pics helped a lot, too! Look forward to seeing more as the changes progress.

  6. Awesome, in-depth post about Rainey Street.

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