The Town's Deserted and It's Time to Play
It’s that wonderful time of the year – when the college kids are on break and everyone has gone over the river and through the woods, and those of us who remain have Austin all to ourselves. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a great time to visit the places that are normally mobbed the rest of the year. Here are some of our suggestions:
Finally get around to trying Franklin BBQ. If you’re like me, despite all the amazing things you’ve heard about this destination BBQ joint in East Austin, you despise standing in lines and have yet to try their mouth-watering meats. I know it’s supposed to be the best, but I just can’t stomach the idea of standing in line for an hour or more to mow down. This week, with the downtown lunch crowd away, might be our best chance to get a taste without the wait. Franklin will be open Dec. 28, 29, and 30 from 11 a.m. until they sell out of food.
Go to Wheatsville on a weekend. Normally, I’d rather dunk my head in the toilet at Barfly’s than battle all the hybrids in Austin for one of the three parking spots in the Wheatsville lot midday on a Saturday. Perhaps this week will be different though. The kids are out of town and most people will be eating leftovers, so this might just be our chance to see what the University-area co-op grocer is like in weekend daylight hours. Wheatsville is closed Jan. 1 and is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 26, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 27-30 and 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 31.
Try your hand at Ginny’s Chicken Shit Bingo. Normally, Ginny’s Little Longhorn is packed to the gills on Sundays for Chicken Shit Bingo, a game where customers purchase a number that corresponds to a square on a large board set atop a pool table. If one of Ginny’s cluckers does No. 2 on your spot, you win the pot. It’s more exciting than it sounds, as evidenced by the out-the-doors crowd that normally ends up tailgating in the parking lot (also home of the chicken coop) every Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. On Dec. 30 though, bingo and chicken enthusiasts alike will hopefully be able to press their way in to try their luck.
Grab a burger and a beer at Crown & Anchor Pub. This University-area bar has been a favorite of students going back to its founding in 1987. In fact, it’s been so much of a favorite that when school is in session, it’s hard to fight your way in to order a pint and one of their delicious sandwiches (some would say they have the best regular ol' burgerstand burger in town). But when school’s away, the rest of us can play. Head in and maybe tip a little extra; it’s a hard time for bartenders whose bread and butter are in students’ pockets. The Crown & Anchor is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every night.Eat at the original East Side King trailer, without having to wait forever. The trailer that started it all for now famed East Side King is in back of The Liberty on East Sixth and has, in my opinion, the best menu of all of the ESK locations. I might not be the only one to think this, judging by the fact that most nights you visit, it takes 45 minutes or more to get your food. I get it, the place is just that popular, but maybe this week, we won’t have to sneak in appetizers. The East Side King trailer is open 5 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. every night.
What’d we miss? Let us know in the comments section your plans for this sleepy Austin week.