We’re not sure what happened to the last year, but somehow it’s SXSW again. It’s two weeks that locals either love or hate. Some of us make buttloads of money, though we’re so dog-tired by the end of it that we can’t remember how to count. Some hide from the hoards (rightfully, it takes an hour to drive a mile). Some venture into the fray earnestly, we have people to meet and products to launch. Some trudge through normal life, not-so-silently wishing the intruders would return from whence they came. All of us start out fresh-faced and end bleary-eyed, in need of a nap. But, if you look West of the Fest, you’ll find local businesses with air conditioning, sustenance and cold beverages operating business as usual. West 6th can be a haven for locals during SXSW. We’re out of the downtown SXSW vortex of Hell, and though foot traffic is heavier, roads maintain their usual Austin setbacks versus SXSW ones.
Eating | Your favorite downtown eateries swarm with SXer’s. Lucky you – we have Austin staples in our midst, AND we’re open for lunch, snacks and dinner. Treat yourself to a steak from Austin’s oldest family-owned restaurant, The Original Hoffbrau Steakhouse. Head to the iconic Hut’s Hamburgers for Texas-raised longhorn burgers, drowning your SX sorrows in a double chocolate milkshake (we promise it cures everything except lactose intolerance). Frank & Angie’s Pizzeria offers lunch for under $7 (slice with two toppings and salad = $6.95 … BOOM) and filling mains at affordable prices. Pro tip: Frank & Angie’s ALSO delivers within the central region on orders of $20 or more.
CARNAL —the slow cooking meat gods from Brooklyn — is in residence at Parlor & Yard and serves up insanely good meat dishes alongside some pretty spectacular vegetarian options. J. BLACK’S Feel Good Kitchen & Lounge opens at 11 and is a great place to grab lunch, snacks or a beer. Dogwood and Rustic Tap Beer Garden both offer food (southern and Texan comfort varietals) upon opening in the afternoon.
Live Music | Wait, you think we don’t do live music? We aren’t on music row, but we don’t skimp on the SX musical stylings. Catch live music ranging from local bands and Texas country to up-and-comers to full blown pop Gods to Grammy Nominees. Anyone remember Børns at Key Bar? Ed Sheeran at Key Bar and Dogwood? Wu-Tang or the insanely lit Ludacris pop-up at Kung Fu? Sturgill Simpson playing for 20 people at Ray’s Backstage (Rattle Inn’s concert venue)? Louis the Child and MSTRKRFT at Brew Exchange? All that greatness AND we don’t have the insane crowds. Here is a taste of what goes on West of the Fest. Did we mention these are free, unofficial events? Bring yo’self.
- A Beautiful Buzz Get Buzzed, Wednesday, March 15
- A Beautiful Buzz Get Buzzed, Thursday, March 16
- A Beautiful Buzz Get Buzzed, Friday, March 17
- A Beautiful Buzz Get Buzzed, Saturday, March 18
- Festivus for the WEST of Us, Monday, March 13
- Festivus for the WEST of Us, Wednesday, March 15, 3 p.m. to Midnight
- Festivus for the WEST of Us, Thursday, March 16, 3 p.m. to Midnight
- Festivus for the WEST of Us, Friday, March 17, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Festivus for the WEST of Us, Saturday, March 18, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- MISCHIEF presents: The Pop Up, Thursday, March 14, Noon to 8 p.m. (free drinks, music, exclusive merchandise)
- Party In My Pants, Friday, March 17 (After party to follow with Dj Gatsby)
- Party In My Pants, Saturday, March 18 (After party follows with Dj Richard Gear)
- Texas Country Showcase – Tuesday, March 14, 9 p.m. to Midnight
- Indie Showcase, Thursday, March 16, 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
- Touring Artist Showcase, Friday, March 17
- Local Artist Showcase, Saturday, March 18, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- Flashfit Video Shoot & Launch Party, Saturday, March 18, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Dogwood West 6th
- Annual Blackfinger Showcase, Wednesday, March 15, Noon to 10 p.m.
- Annual Blackfinger Showcase, Thursday, March 16, Noon to Midnight
- Annual Blackfinger Showcase, Friday, March 17, Noon to Midnight
- Annual Blackfinger Showcase, Saturday, March 18, Noon to Midnight
Parlor & Yard
- Red Gorilla Music Showcase, Wednesday, March 15
- Red Gorilla Music Showcase, Thursday, March 16
- Red Gorilla Music Showcase, Friday, March 17
- Red Gorilla Music Showcase, Saturday, March 18
- Pull String Events + Lucy the Poodle Showcase, Thursday, March 16
- Pull String Events + Lucy the Poodle Showcase, Friday, March 17
- Pull String Events + Lucy the Poodle Showcase, Saturday, March 18
Rustic Tap Beer Garden
- Country Music Showcase, Saturday, March 18
- Country Music Showcase, Sunday, March 19
Drink Up | You might not know this, but West 6th has loads of bars AND you can drink at all of them (provided you are 21+, obviously). We’re stocked with enough Topo to get you through SXSW semi-alert and enough booze to drown your respective SX woes. We’ve got local brews & spirits, a dedicated Whiskey Lounge (Rattle Inn), craft cocktails, Instagram-worthy shots from Green Light Social, and service with a smile. Cheers guys, welcome home.
Sit the F*&^ Down + Chill | Parlor & Yard has comfy bucket chairs perfect for relaxing your swollen feet. Rustic has ample camp-style seating around fire pits and picnic tables. In fact, all the bars offer sufficient chairs and air-conditioning to take on your weary load. Bored already? Kung Fu Saloon, Rooftop at Rattle Inn, Rustic Tap and Parlor & Yard all offer stimulation via games ranging from Skeeball to human beer pong to hoops and ping-pong to arcade and board games. Want to sit on a patio? Head to Star Bar. Pro tip: if you’re really nice, they might even charge your phones.
So ditch the SX hoards altogether, join us for lunch, a drink or a show. Any which way you cut it, everything is better West of The Fest.