It’s a warm and breezy Saturday night in Austin on Texas Relays Weekend. We did up a special store window at Wild About Music in Bob Marley + hip hop theme to welcome our 40,000-ish athletes, families and guests to town like every year. Daytime business was great, both Friday and today. But by 6pm things died off to nothingness and never revived by the time we normally close at 9pm. Totally deadsville. Absolutely not the norm for a weekend evening in Spring. So we hit the street to see wazzup. [Read more…] about “Welcome” to the Police State of 6ixth
Once again, KUT and the Downtown Austin Alliance will bring you the annual “Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll.” It’s now become an annual tradition. Last year an estimated 8,000 people attended. This year, with the beautiful weather expected Saturday evening, maybe 10,000 or more?
It’s all happening Saturday, Dec. 4th. KUT’s John Aielli will be on the south steps of the Capitol building leading Christmas carols beginning at 6PM. That is immediately followed by the lighting of the Capitol Tree on 11th Street, at the head of lower Congress Ave.
Then everyone takes a leisurely stroll down “The Main Street of Texas”, Congress Avenue where many businesses will be open late and have decked their halls and display windows in holiday style. One sidewalk-adjacent travel lane on each side of Congress will be closed to vehicle traffic from 11th to 6th streets to accommodate the crowds.
Along the Avenue you’ll discover loads of wonderful live entertainment in office building courtyards and on street corners. Refreshments, children’s activities, shopping, a Bicycle Zoo parade and more are also part of the merriment that will go on for a couple of hours.
There will even be a Santa’s Workshop. And the jolly big fella himself will be found holding court in the lobby of One American Center at 6th and Congress.
As long as you’re in the area, also make a point of taking in a few blocks of Historic East 6th Street too (before the Saturday night revelers show up after 9pm). East 6th looks lovely this time of year with holiday street decorations its entire length, the majestic Driskill Hotel all dressed out (don’t miss a peek inside), and many local businesses are showing their spirit.
What a fine night for a carriage ride around Downtown, too! The horses usually line up in front of the Driskill. (That’s a great photo-op, by the way.)
It is also requested that you share the spirit of the holidays by dropping off a jar of peanut butter at the downtown Christmas tree for Caritas to distribute to those in need.
This event is made possible by generous sponsorships from Whole Earth Provision Company, Goodwill Industries, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum , Ballet Austin, InStep, Louis Shanks Home Furnishings.
(Compiled from information from the Downtown Austin Alliance and KUT. Capitol and caroler photos courtesy of the Austin American-Statesman. Driskill lobby photo in HDR courtesy of Trey Ratcliff, www.stuckincustoms.com)
Thanks to pal and Downtown commercial Realtor, Carl Daywood, I had opportunity to discover a terrific new little eatery in the Sixth Street Historic-Entertainment District. It’s called Carrob’s Cafe on Sabine, between 6th and 7th, essentially behind The Boiling Pot, where the former Texas Picnic Company was housed.
The name Carrob is derived from a combination of the owner’s first names, Carol Mitchell and Robert Barnes, a delightful couple who welcome guests with relaxed down-home friendliness, Austin style. It’s a bright and cheerful space with large windows looking out to both Sabine and Waller Creek.
The menu is basically all-breakfast all-the-time! And since that’s my favorite meal I couldn’t wait to dive in for a sampling. I had a couple of excellent breakfast tacos that were served in toasted tortillas and packed with my choice of 3 ingredients from among 21 selections offered — for only $1.99 each no less! Other options include egg platters, omelets, pancakes, biscuits & gravy and some killer-sounding breakfast burgers and club combinations.
In the drinks department, my iced mocha latte was also delicious and nicely made. The menu has all sorts of yummy coffees, teas, lemonade and sodas.
The full menu can be viewed here with an extra click-through: Carrob’s Menu.
For now, they are only open daytimes, 6 days a week: 7-5 Mon-Fri and 9-5 Sat; closed Sundays. Hopefully Carrob’s will quickly build enough traffic to warrant opening on Sundays too. And they would probably do well from midnight to 4am on Saturday and Sunday mornings if they actively promoted their existence up and down Sixth to the bar crowd to sober up before heading to their cars.
Stop by and check ’em out with a warm welcome to the neighborhood. I’ll add a photo or two as soon as I make it back by (which will be soon!) and remember to bring along my phone/camera.
In case you missed the news this past week, there is a significant new music venue slated to open New Year’s Eve on East 6th Street. Here’s a link to the Austin360 story by Michael Corcoran.
It’s called “The Stage” and is operated by a family out of Nashville with solid experience in producing quality live music venues there where they have four: The Stage on Broadway, Legends Corner, The Second Fiddle and Nashville Crossroads.
The Sanderson’s have been in Austin quite a bit over the past year checking out the scene and trying to find a fresh angle to success in our highly competitive market. They finally settled on 508 E. 6th, the largest single-space building for something like this on the street and former home to Bourbon Rocks and Fat Tuesday. (Maggie Mae’s is larger in overall square footage but it is chopped up into essentially four separate spaces on two levels.)
Longtime building owner Terry Boothe, who owns several properties on East 6th, had loads of offers from the typical fare of 25-cent-jello-shot bar operators. But he held tight for over two years without a tenant in order to bring a quality live music operator back to 6ixth and thus help the District’s quest to upgrade the quality of visitor experiences to be found there. The Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and 6ixth Street Austin property/business owners association assisted in landing this deal.
Live music is supposed to be presented on pretty much the same schedule as the Nashville clubs: starting as early as 2:00 in the afternoon on Mondays-Thursdays and at 11:00am on Friday-Sunday. That should provide a welcome flow of new work for Austin’s large and talented musician community. The Stage will reportedly also serve food too.
My only caveat is that I hope The Stage will program live music with distinctly Austin and Texas-centric flavor, not a heavy Nashville bent. If you take a look at the websites for the Nashville clubs, the offerings seem a tad “formulaic” — pretty much the same stuff done under four different names, not unlike the tight-jeans-and-cowboy-hat processed “country” music that Nashville itself often cranks out. I hope the Sanderson’s and manager, Brandon Reineke, challenge themselves further in what they do in Austin.
While country is certainly one of our basic music food groups down here, the great country-flavored sounds coming out of Texas span so much greater breadth…quickly flowing into country rock, roots rock, folk, bluegrass, swing and so much more. Even Willie regularly crosses into jazz and blues in his sets regardless of what type of club or festival he is playing.
Would you label Robert Earl Keen, Joe Ely, Jimmy Lafave, Ray Benson, Carolyn Wonderland, Marcia Ball as “country”? Hardly. Yet these are the sorts of all-star Austin acts that I hope will be regularly presented as headliners on the stage at The Stage — for a decent ticket price and full-priced drinks — to provide visitors to The Live Music Capital with a truly memorable show to savor when they head home.
However it shakes out, The Stage is clearly a welcome addition to the music offerings Downtown and on East 6th. As a business owner just a few blocks west of the new venue I can attest that the area is streaming with people all day long these days, 7 days a week, looking for things to do and seeking that globally heralded Austin vibe and live music reputation. Between the Convention Center, all the great Downtown hotels, and our many new urban residents, business has never been better.
Now…if only we can lure Antone’s back to East 6th where that legendary venue began, then we’d really have some live music anchor tenants to brag about again! Gotta work on that some more. 🙂
For something very fresh and different this weekend to drown our mundane laborous lives, check out these cool events on tap ’round the hood:
The 1St Annual Austin Street Magic Festival TONIGHT, 6th & Red River next to Esther’s Follies (home of our own fantabulous, Ray Anderson), 6pm-2am and FREE!
And that’s just the warm up.
Here’s a news story from News 8.
And also more info to be found on the pages of Austin corporate lawyer (but always a magician at heart — and skill), Hull Youngblood. You can check him out — and be his friend — via the TAOM Facebook link above!
Much fun for all so make like a bunny and vanish your abode already!