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 Travel Article Travel Article Archive  
May 2009 Email this to a friend


By Michael LaBelle

Oilcan Harry's, Austin

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Austin article click DailyXtraTravel

A self-assured bastion of liberal thinking, Austin has a laid-back atmosphere. Things aren't dull, though, as the edgy alternative arts scene and famous live-music venues keep things lively. It's all here in the middle of the beautiful Texas hill and lake country, a hot and dreamy place where your inner clock may slow a little, and your sleep deepen a bit. The city motto 'Keep Austin Weird' is instructive, so leave the wristwatch at home.
Festivities at the biannual Splash Days Weekend frolic in water and sunshine, take place the first Sunday in May and again during the Labor Day holidays, at the rocky shores of Hippie Hollow Park on Lake Travis. Most bars host gala events during weekends preceding Splash, with celebrated DJs on hand to get people into the mood.
Broad acceptance in the general community means there's no distinctively gay district, so establishments here are spread about more than in most cities.

110 Carriage House Inn (1110 W 22-1/2 St; 512-472-2333) downtown convenience, restored wooden colonial, full breakfast.
Austin Motel (1220 S Congress; 512- 441- 1157) neon phallic logo beckons: 'so close yet so far out.'
San Jose Hotel (1316 South Congress; 512-693-9317) chic, renovated, central, hip vibe, patio bar and cafe.

Bars and clubs
'Bout Time (9601 Interstate 35 N) party bar with live music, campy drag, pool games, dancers.
Charlie's Austin (1301 Lavaca) longtime gay party center, sexy dancers, outdoor patio, diverse and eclectic.
Chain Drive (504 Willow) Levi/leather hangout, live punk and alternative music, huge patio.
Club CP (113 San Jacinto Bl) aka 'the Cockpit,' mostly young women, energetic crowd, friendly to men.
Oilcan Harry's (211 W 4th St) uninhibited collegiate men's dance bar, blacklight underwear parties, open after-hours.
Rain (217 B W 4th St) energetic and diverse crowd, Thursday 18+ male amateur strip, Sunday T-dance.
Rainbow Cattle Company (305 W 5th St) country-western dance bar, karaoke, rock night, Sunday bear busts.
Rusty Spurs (403 E 7th St) newest country-western neighborhood dance bar, Sunday BBQ.

El Sol y la Luna (600 E. 6th) all-day breakfast, Mexican cafe.
Jo's (1300 S Congress; 242 West 2nd St) two locations for coffee, sandwiches, casual hangout with wi- fi.

Forbidden Fruit (512 Neches St; 108 E North Loop Blvd) 'keeping Austin kinky' with products for a body's needs.
Tape Lenders Video (1114 W 5th St) gay videos, gifts, cards, magazines, swimwear, underwear.

Saunas and gyms
Midtowne Spa (5815 Airport Blvd) complete workout and bathhouse facilities.
Gold's Gym (101 W 6th St) gay-popular gym, close by many gay establishments.

Getting here
From Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the 'Airport Flyer,' also known as Bus 100 departs every 10 minutes or so from the lower level and heads to
downtown and beyond. For more, see

Getting around
Face facts: you're going to need a car to get around.

Pride is June
Austin Gay Pride 2009 (Austinpride.org) will be held Saturday, June 6. The following week, the Pride of Texas Festival will take place Saturday, June 14.
Look for top-notch performers like Meshell Ndegeocello and the Pansy Division, as well as food vendors and craft sellers.

The Austin Chronicle newspaper has the best general and gay listings, in print and online.
L Style and G Style are the twin gay lifestyle magazines for the area.

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