plush

Plush is a DJs bar; a grittier version of Cheers. Like the misunderstood pit-bull, the strong show of strength can be intimidating but Plush will only attack if provoked. Show respect to the bartenders and the patrons and you will find Plush to be a loyal guard dog. It is one of the friendlier bars I have experienced in Austin because everyone in Plush is one big dysfunctional family tied together by their love of the turntable, graffiti, and alcohol. The drinks are not overpriced, nor would the bartenders ever disrespect you with a light pour. If you are uncomfortable with strangers coming up to you and trying to integrate you into their conversation, then this is not the place for you. The familial attitude and the hardcore drinkers do not let you get away. It seems like everyone there has been going to Plush for years. The clientele tends to be older, more tattooed, and more pierced when compared to the chain bars on Sixth Street. When a patron approaches you, yes it may be in an attempt to get laid, but more than likely they are looking for a companion to join their pack. They are trying to get to know you and transform you into a regular much like themselves.

 

The interior is not for the faint of heart. Once leaving the premises you will be covered with Plush dust, a mixture of sweat from every patron that has ever danced their heart out and the crumbling of the mortar from the bricks in the back bar. The venue is small, but it gives it an intimacy necessary to be a truly successful DJ haven. You walk in onto the dance floor and directly to your right is the main bar. A few feet ahead is the massive speakers and whatever DJ working the crowd. To the left of the DJs booth are the men and women’s bathrooms. Sorry ladies, this is a one stall place, but with recent renovations they have added a vanity. Though the bathroom accommodations are small, there is only the smallest of lines as most people want to be out back on the dancefloor. There is a short stair case to the back bar, an even smaller room, which is packed with groups resting from the beat. Every inch of the bar is covered with the usual stickiness from spilled drinks as the night goes on. A habit in futility that the workers engage in as the clean it up each day just to have it descend on them again the next night. Be kind and not sloppy. Give the bar staff a break. The real beauty is the graffiti and all the stickers. The inside of Plush is the epitome of street art. Interested in the Baylor Street Art Wall, but want to get the experience without the tourists and kids? Go to Plush.

Plush residencies focus on electronic sets that appeal to a wide variety of genres but not to those who think that all electronic music falls into either house or dubstep. Plush covers all subspecialties throughout the month. There is the standard House and Hip Hop nights but they also have broken beat, juke and footwork, soul, dubstep, drum and bass, balearic (and on and on and on). I am always critical of the lack of transitions that I feel DJs exhibit now and there is still the occasional complaint, but these are people who work at the Dub Academy or have been playing for years if not decades. They are great at what they do.

Every Monday night is RAAAW and keeping with the theme of the WWE has a “No genre disqualifications of any kind” and consist of DJ TradeMark, 8*B1T, and evo1ve. Tuesdays covers your Drum and Bass needs and Vibrate Fridays is all about the dance party. There rest of the week is broken up into different monthly residencies all for their local DJs: 4Jackz, Terminal, Abstrakt, Midwest Sessions for House Music; KB and Sharkweek; TMC; Dusty Groove Radio and the Feedback Alliance; Time Warp; and Vagabond . Check out the website for constant updates and guest residencies.

 

The sound quality could be improved on as well as some of the aesthetics. But the appeal is the music and the art and the ability to have a hang out with a friend. When I want to go dancing and do not want to deal with the massive weekend crowds, I find that Plush is the best haven to be around strangers without be suffocated by them. There was a recent Kickstarter campaign to improve upon on the bar, but with an emphasis from the managers and patrons that it would be home improvement style and not a complete reworking. Plush has been around for fifteen years now and they are aware about what makes it work. Here is to hoping that they keep that spirit alive so that you can go dance in front of the speakers, head down and bowed before the prowess of the priest in front of you spinning the good word.

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.