Austin

How to Celebrate Pride Month in Austin

From boozy brunches to gay rodeo and drag queens, here are the best annual Pride events in the Texas State Capitol.

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt

Oh, dear. We were all revved up for Pride 2021 and then Delta happened. Finally, it seems, the third time is the lucky charm for the big 3-0 celebration (originally slated for 2020), and we’ve totally got everything extra-crossed for the ultimate cele-gay-tion. For anyone new to Bat City’s LGBTQIA+ scene let’s break it down. Austin Pride takes place in August. Yes, we’re the only major city that hosts Pride that month, and what that means is no competition. Queers and their allies know that come August, the only place to be rainbowed up and fabulous is Austin. Yes, the heat is blistering, but that’s what skimpy shorts, cocktails, and pools are for, right? (okay, AC too, spoilsport).

Austin Pride’s 2022 is slated for August 11 – 13, with the parade at 8 pm on August 13. Though that’s a little way off, the city traditionally joins in fun times early like the rest of the nation-the stuff in June and July are just not officially Pride here-but who’s doing labels? We’ve rounded up the best ways to celebrate Pride in Austin with all the information available right now. More to be announced as we edge closer to the big parade.

Agliff
Agliff
Agliff

Join aGLIFF’s Pride mini film-a-thon

aGLIFF (All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival) Austin will be putting on a special Pride Mini Film-A-Thon between June 3 – 5 at the Galaxy Theatres. The event will include four feature films, one shorts program, a live comedy show with Transgender comedian and America’s Got Talent finalist Julia Scotti (followed by a screening of her documentary Julia Scotti: Funny That Way), live Q&A’s with film directors, and some parties in between it all. Full Weekend Badges are $65, tickets to individual screenings are $12. The Julia Scotti Comedy Show, film screening, and party tickets are $40.

Register for the main August parade

Two years on the trot, the parade’s been cancelled, so you can only imagine all the pent-up frustration. It’s put on by the Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation, our modest local non-profit, and there’s a fee that goes towards the production and management of the extravaganza. Y’all need to get in early to ensure a place in the coveted Pride Parade-registration is now open here, and if marching isn’t quite for you, then show support by dropping a donation or volunteering.

Dave Wilson | Dripping Springs
Dave Wilson | Dripping Springs
Dave Wilson | Dripping Springs

Get tickets for the gay rodeo at Dripping Springs

The Texas Gay Rodeo Association and Pride of Dripping Springs are back with a queer twist on the Texan classic-a gay rodeo. Last year’s inaugural event drew 1,850 attendees, and this year they promise an even bigger spectacular on June 25, 2022. From 12pm – 7pm, things are family-friendly, with a bunch of daytime activities for all ages, vendor booths, food and drink, and, of course, rodeo events. Then from 7 pm till 11 pm, it’s adults-only when DJs take to the decks and drag to the stage (we hear Nadine Hughes will be there), alongside even more food and booze. You’ll for sure need to stay overnight. Purchase tickets on Eventbrite, or head here to donate, volunteer, or be a vendor or sponsor.

Enjoy live performances at Pride In Local Music

SXSW isn’t the only showcase for awesome live music-not with Pride hot on its heels. The Austin LGBT Chamber’s Pride in Local Music event takes place at the Long Center for the third time this year. On June 25, you’ll be able to cheer on a slew of talented local LGBTQIA+ artists. The current roster includes Tje Austin, Bleached Roses, Julie Nolen, and BabiBoi, with more names to be added. Expect great sounds, community vendors, food trucks, pop-up bars, and more. Tickets start at $35.

Fairmont Austin
Fairmont Austin
Fairmont Austin

Hit the hotel drag circuit

Pride + visitors to Austin = hotel shenanigans. The best places to book a stay for on-site drag events are Fairmont Austin, W Austin, and Hotel Van Zandt. The Fairmont, one of the official Pride partners, will be hosting a big drag brunch bingo on June 26 by the Rules & Regs rooftop pool, then in August they’ll have a Pride pool party on August 13 and drag bingo Pride ‚Äėrecovery’ brunch on August 14. In addition to drag brunches with Vylette Ward, the W will be moving their Living Room Sound Check series up to their WET deck with musicians in the LGBTQIA+ community. This will also partner with a nonprofit in celebration of Pride (more details to be announced). Finally, Van Zandt will be hosting two Pride-themed pool parties, one on June 26 for national Pride month, and the other on August 14 for Austin Pride. Drinks will be sponsored by Bacardi, Bombay, Grey Goose, and Patron, with entertainment details to be announced.

Fuel up at the gay bars

Austin’s gay bars keep the Pride flag flying year-round, so expect things to be extra celebratory around the official dates. The best bars include Rain On 4th for the mainstream crowd (look out for their Pride Pagent on May 25); The Iron Bear, a bear-owned and -operated bar that’s welcoming to all with excellent drag shows; and Cheer Up Charlie’s, a colorful queer bar with vegan food truck, large outdoor music venue, and organic juice blend cocktails. Join the Pride Crawl if you’re here in June, where you’ll hop through a bunch of them, make new friends, and support The Trevor Project while doing so.

Round Rock Pride
Round Rock Pride
Round Rock Pride

Support Round Rock Pride

Another newbie to Austin’s expanding Pride celebrations, Round Rock will be hosting its own pride festival and parade on June 4. It was founded in 2021 by Round Rock, TX Arts Ambassador and resident, Richard Parson, to celebrate the diversity of the Round Rock community. So take the short drive north and show them some love, or donate here to support their LGBTQIA community.

Go raving at Xtravagayza

The Xtravagayza is a brand new three-day event put on by Austin-based creative team JATC, running from June 17 Р19. Day one features a poolside happy hour. Day two is the main event, consisting of a Garden Party Brunch and nighttime fête at The American Legion. It all concludes with a Daddy Day Dance on day three. Expect fabulous DJs, drag, and sickening fashion every day.

Add Austin Black Pride to the schedule

A lower-key Pride but great fun and as significant nonetheless, Austin Black Pride will be held this year from June 10 – 12. Details are to be announced but expect parties, wellness events, and more. Show support and make a donation to Austin Black Pride via Venmo (@AtxBlackPride) or Paypal.

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James Wong is a Libra who spends his time pretending to be a vegan, watching wildlife clips, and booking plane tickets. Born in London, lived in Tokyo, and now residing in Austin, his greatest achievement is giving Posh Spice a hug in 2016.

Austin

Get Lucky at These Irish Bars in Austin

Drink a green pint on St Patrick's Day at these Irish bars in Austin.

Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

In the midst of all the SXSW chaos, it helps to remember that there’s a rainbow at the festival’s end-that is, the hangover-blessing we’ve been granted of having St. Patrick’s Day 2023 fall on a Friday. Whether you attribute this small win to the Gregorian calendar or the luck of the Irish, it’s sure to amp up the already liver-damaging activities associated with this cultural celebration. However, √Čire is more than just leprechauns and Colin Farrell-it’s a breathtaking land full of warm, welcoming, and good-hearted people. Fortunately, there’s a way you can get a taste of the Republic’s spirit, and a dark stout, at the same time by hitting up one of Austin’s various Irish pubs. From cozy, intimate spaces decked out like small taverns in Cobh, to modern dives with all the party energy of Temple Bar, our list has the best spots in the city to “erin go bragh” all out on March 17.

Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys

B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub at Mueller

Mueller
With a giant model of a beer tap literally decorating their front door, you can’t miss B.D Riley’s, nor doubt that this East Austin hang is a spot to down some serious brewskis. And its name, and perfect pours of Guinness, aren’t the only aspects they draw from the Emerald Isle-the entire pub itself was actually designed and built in Dundalk, Ireland, and shipped over for assembly in Bat City. Such authentic decor calls for equally authentic sounds, therefore, on St. Patrick’s Day, B.D. Riley’s will feature an all-day, four-artist bill of live, trad-inspired music. So, while you may not start the day knowing all the words to “The Galway Girl,” you are bound to sing along by last call.

Kelly’s Irish Pub

Bouldin Creek
Having only opened this past December, Kelly’s is the new kid with a brogue on the block. Occupying the space which formerly housed tapas restaurant Winebelly, this pub had big shoes to fill for South Austin barflies, but quickly won them over with an impressive whiskey selection and friendly atmosphere. A big reason behind the real deal √Čire vibes can, most likely, be chalked up to the fact that one of Kelly’s owners was actually born and bred in Ireland-and the dedication to delivering a true-to-life experience is evident in everything from the shepherd’s pie to the witty bartenders. For St. Patrick’s Day, they are getting the party started early with live music and an opening time of 8 am.

Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger's
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s

Jack & Ginger’s

The Domain
While The Domain may boast more bars than you can shake a shamrock at, there’s only one spot in the North Austin entertainment behemoth that can be properly called an Irish pub: Jack & Ginger’s. Start off the night with selecting a tasting flight from their over 82 beers on tap, then, move onto shots poured straight from their Irish Whiskey Tours-after loosening up with a round or two, you might just find yourself with the gift of gab. And, before snapping a selfie over Jack & Ginger’s see-through glass floor, balance out that buzz with food offerings like a giant soft pretzel or a round of fried pickles.

Photo courtesy of Foxy's Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub

Foxy’s Proper Pub

Downtown
Here’s a spot that visibly radiates with Irish pride-at Foxy’s, the glow of green beams out from the bar’s lighted panels, and across their chandelier made of Jameson bottles. When it comes to cups and chow, their commitment to the theme continues-the use of the word,”proper,” in the pub’s name alone indicates you’re in for a heavy pour of the standards. Consequently, the taps are abundant with essential Irish sips, including Guinness, Magners, and Smithwick’s. With Lone Star on draft, there’s also a nod to Texas tradition as well. But don’t fear if you’re bored of beer-Foxy’s variety of whiskey-based cocktails will let you switch it up (and still keep it Celtic). March 17 will find them celebrating with live music, whiskey tastings, and swag giveaways.

Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

Cork & Barrel Craft Kitchen + Microbrewery

Round Rock
Compared to a flight to Dublin, the 30-minute drive to Round Rock’s Cork & Barrel is much more convenient-not to mention, won’t require waiting in a TSA line. A mix between a modern Austin beer garden and a historical Irish pub, this spot’s spacious interior and expansive outdoor patio guarantees there will be enough room for the whole crew to cheer “sl√°inte.” And, their microbrewery’s signature beers are the ideal drinks to do such a toast with. The menu of specially crafted drafts includes a blueberry wheat, an Irish red ale, and a vanilla stout. This St. Patrick’s Day also marks Cork & Barrel’s two-year anniversary, and they are throwing down for the double-celebration with live music, yard games, Irish food specials, and plentiful amounts of green beer and Irish Car Bombs.

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Molly Moltzen is a Thrillist contributor.

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