Longbranch Inn
6th St has a lot to offer, but the weekend mixed crowd of tourists, bros, packs of single ladies, and underage drinkers looking to slip by with their fake IDs can be daunting. For those who like the feeling of a local bar, more chill and welcoming to conversations that do not require shouting over the thump of electronic music or the strumming of a local band, most will venture to East 6th.

Even there the talk devolves to screams and there is the struggle to find parking. Once found the odds are pretty high that your car window will be smashed and you meager belongings tossed away after nothing of value was found. Only to be discovered the next day by someone working the Farmers Market, who called to give you back your junk. (Speaking from experience.)

Each street of Austin is a parallel universe of subtle differences that end up with a unique ending. But where to go when you want to feel at home and still be able to find easy parking?

Longbranch Inn.

The decor is dark and moody, with taxidermy animals, comfy seating, beautiful wall pieces and murals. The jukebox is a gem with little to no pop. You can find punk stored away, eighties shoegazing stars, and indie bands. It is a dive bar; the bathroom is one admittance at a time and for the squeamish, best not drink so that you can avoid it all together. The bar is long and the only one in the establishment.

The size is one the smaller scale for intimacy. There is outdoor seating, fenced that overlooks the road, and if earlier enough to snag a spot, overlooking your car. The drinks, being away from the bustling tourist bars of 6th Street, are not overpriced or watered down. Drinking on a budget, wanting to talk with friends, or wind down for work? Look to this neighborhood bar.

It is not without its controversies, complaints of coldness from the bar staff and patrons, can be found on reviews. Though I have never experienced it myself, this is not a bar if expecting to get hugs from everyone once entering their door. Bring your own friends and kin and frequent it enough and you may pass onto the side of regular patron.

The biggest controversy was just last year during the world cup when on Twitter, a racial slur was used. “Wetbacks” is never acceptable, being of mixed race, I take offense to that. However, there may be a reason why they have little presence online, as the Twitter account was the only presence beside reviews. With a half apology and acknowledgement that “Texas is Mexico”, it came out that it was run by the bartenders with little supervision.

Since then, the account has been deactivated and is now the handle for another person. It is reminder that people are policing the internet, a rude joke can be blow up in your face, and that bartenders are better serving drinks than making unwanted commentary. Apology, public shaming, and dismissing of the account is enough for me. I still enjoy the bar and until any epithet is thrown at me, I still plan to show up whenever in the mood for peace and quiet on East 11th.

A.J. Whitaker

A.J. Whitaker is from San Antonio who decided to make it big in Austin. Every day she curses the traffic and all the other people who had the same idea to move. When she is not passing judgment on businesses she is submitting fiction to literary journals. Follow her success and lack of it, on her personal blog www.smashlin.com.