Austin

Why Dating in Austin Is Different Than Anywhere Else

ATX has new rules, y'all.

Visit Austin, Texas
Visit Austin, Texas
Visit Austin, Texas

Every city has its quirks when it comes to finding love. In LA, you’ll probably take a long-ass drive on the freeway to meet that headshot-owning suitor on your first date, and in NYC, your potential love interest is going to ask where you went to college before you down the first cocktail. So, needless to say that in Austin, the dating scene can be equally, if not more, riveting.

Now, we’re not bashing it, and we’re not saying it’s amazing either. We’re just saying that meeting strangers and dating them in Austin can get weird-good, bad, and sometimes darn right ugly. Whether you’re a Texas native who recently split with a long-term lover or one of the zillions of out-of-towners who’ve relocated to Boomtown in search of spicy moments with a cutie in a Stetson, here’s what to expect when you swipe right, get a match, and get going in ATX.

Flickr/Andreas Brændhaugen
Flickr/Andreas Brændhaugen
Flickr/Andreas Brændhaugen

Dates often happen half-naked

Date destinations like Barton Springs and the Greenbelt mean hairy backs, tramp stamps, weird moles, and any number of other odd physical attributes make their debut early on. In other words, being shallow has never been so easy. Or at least efficient.

You have to hear a lot of mediocre music

Because everyone you date knows someone in a mediocre band, expect to be dragged to a gig to watch your new ‚Äėpals’ support an unknown act every Tuesday night. A city that self-proclaimed itself as the ‚Äėlive music capital of the world’ in 1991, interestingly has no Austin-born artist the world can name. Goodbye Beyonce nights and hot shot emerging artists at Rough Trade. Hello forever unsigned ATX band, the soundtrack to all your dates.

And you have to pretend to be interested in a lot of mediocre app ideas

Because it’s 2022 and we’re now ‚ÄėSilicon Hills’, you’re going to meet a lot of tech kids looking for love‚Ķand looking for someone to fund their Kickstarter. “Yay, another Beta for me to download” and “You’re buying your own SXSW ticket? Good for you.” are the lines you’ll say through your teeth.

Visit Austin, Texas
Visit Austin, Texas
Visit Austin, Texas

Festival relationships are a thing

ACL affairs, Fun Fun Fun flings, SXSW whirlwind romances‚Ķ every fest offers the chance to find the (temporary) love of your life. After all, nothing sets the mood like Diplo, copious amounts of Shiner Beer, and a free night’s stay in someone’s Eastside hostel.

Dates sometimes don’t start before 9pm… or sometimes 10pm

On second thought, just pencil that meal in for midnight. You don’t want to risk ruining that makeup while the blistering sun is out, and Trader Joe’s sunscreen is really sticky.

It’s less about who you like and more about who your dog likes

Lola is allowed at basically every patio. She also happens to have considerably less crappy taste than you do. Trust Lola, always.

Shutterstock
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Everyone is on multiple dating apps

Tinder. Grindr. Bumble. Hinge. Happn. That thing with the coffee and the bagels… You’ve matched with Zac the lawyer, like 12 times, so did your ‚Äėsexually-liberated’ pal, Kelsey. And you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

You can do the classic “dinner and a movie” all in one place

Thank youuuu, Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.

You have a go-to neighborhood date spot

Every Internet date starts or ends at a sweet hangout like Manana below the Gables buildings, a coffee shop slash bar super close to home, open every day, and convenient for both bailing and banging. The bartender knows your name. He doesn’t bother learning your dates’.

Flickr/Sandor Weisz
Flickr/Sandor Weisz
Flickr/Sandor Weisz

Kickball will get you laid

Social sports leagues are incestuous, and you could make an incredibly complex diagram mapping out how the pitcher from I’d Kick That has hooked up with Ballsagna’s entire infield. Maybe it’s the adrenaline‚Ķ but it’s probably just the post-game flip cup.

Whole Foods is a legitimate place to hit on people

Yes, you will pay $20 for a salad, because it comes with a side of dates. Tip: the one on Lamar has an in-store wine bar, if the initial convo goes really well.

Everyone is 4/20 friendly, some a little too much

And your dealer actually moonlights as a matchmaker. Win-win. However, for the rest of you, get ready to hold your breath each time Scott from Oregon picks you up in his weed wagon. Gross.

Flickr/Jim Nix
Flickr/Jim Nix
Flickr/Jim Nix

Romantic getaways consist of the San Antonio River Walk

If you don’t know our San An neighbors well then get ready for that to change when you date an Austinite. Easy weekend getaways will nearly always consist of the River Walk. You’ll notch up a record number of margaritas and Embassy Suites overnighters. And you’re gonna remember the Alamo so hard.

You’ll only date carnivores

Dates will drive you to ‚Äėa great barbecue joint’ without consideration for anyone’s vegan preferences. You’ll lose count of the number of times you pray the drive takes you to Leroy and Lewis, who make some decent cauliflower burnt ends, and not Terry Black’s, where your only option is a side.

Or raging alcoholics

Because singletons in Austin can’t possibly have a great time without being absolutely wasted. Maybe it’s all that mediocre music.

Flickr/Jae Yeol Choe
Flickr/Jae Yeol Choe
Flickr/Jae Yeol Choe

At some point in the relationship, your date will suggest Uchi

This was exciting back in 2010 when your date made their bucket list, but now it’s all about Garrison, Sushi Bar ATX, and the trendy places on our restaurant list.

You don’t just date someone-you date their hobbies

Good luck fitting that date in around homeboy’s woodworking, hockey, and bee-keeping schedule. If you can’t beat ‚Äėem, join ‚Äėem.

This is Never-Never Land. And no one grows up

So many people just don’t want to settle down. Aged 46, single, and working at a Sixth Street bar = In their prime and living the dream.

Visit Austin, Texas
Visit Austin, Texas
Visit Austin, Texas

You regularly hear flakey plans

“We should TOTALLY try that restaurant‚Ķ” “We HAVE to go see that band‚Ķ” “WHEN you meet my friends‚Ķ”
… Ya know, um‚Ķ at some point.

When you think you connect with someone, it happens way too fast

They’ll announce the relationship on social media within weeks of making it official. Then things speed out of control before you’ve even decided you really like them, aka ring shopping, dining with a realtor, and the absolute worst if you’re a woman in Texas-a bun in the oven. Now you’re screwed for life, and alone.

But things are great when you find ‚Äėthe one’

Big family barbecues with fireworks (you’re no longer a vegan-adapt in Texas, darling), weekends at ranches surrounded by cute animals, and a money bucks house on Lake Travis (when his app finally takes off!), dating in Austin ain’t all bad. That’s what you’ll smugly tell your single friends anyway.

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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