The lighter side of real estate

30 Things You’ll Never See In Austin Again

From the skyline to the people, Austin is changing. Here’s a look at 30 things you’ll never see in the capital city again.

Natalie Grigson

Staff Writer

155 articles, 0 comments

1. The Old Spaghetti Warehouse

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Dan McKay

Goodbye Spaghetti Warehouse, Hello Capital Grille: an upscale chain restaurant that will probably taste like old cardboard and have the all of the originality of an Olive Garden.

2. Leslie Cochran

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Megan Ann

Leslie was a conundrum. He wore heels and a leopard thong, but I don’t think anyone would have called him feminine; he was homeless, but he wasn’t; and he was a loner, and yet everyone I know has at least one photo with his leg wrapped around them. Whatever he was or was not, he was a true fixture in Austin, and he will be missed.

3. The O.G. Backyard

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Scott Moore

I grew up going to shows at the Backyard. I saw my first String Cheese show there. I saw Widespread Panic. G Love and the Special Sauce. Despite what this list might suggest, no, this venue didn’t shut its doors due to rampant drug use. It moved because, apparently, Austin needed more shopping.

4. Shirtless Matthew McConaughey Playing The Bongos

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Matthew McConaughey Facebook page

Austin has lost a lot over the past decade or two, but nothing, nothing will replace the occasional shirtless Matthew McConaughey siting—especially during that bongo phase.

5. Flipnotics

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user K B

Too soon?

6. B$#**, Pease! This Ain’t No Disc Golf Course

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Todd Dwyer

The shutting down of the Pease Park Disc Golf Course was a sad day for many a stoner—I mean disc golfer. Potato, potahto, really. These days there is a “replacement” course at Roy G. Guerrero, but locals know it’s not the same.

7. Pink Flamingos All Year Long

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Joey Parsons

Austin locals know that Austin was one of the only cities in the U.S. with a wild flock of pink flamingos, just off of Bee Caves and 360. They lived there year-round, braving the cold months and the heat, making us all smile as we drove by. Of course they were made out of plastic, but hey, I like to believe they loved us just as much as we loved them.

8. Any Band Up Close At ACL

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Earl McGehee

Back in Austin City Limits’ heyday, you could actually see the band you wanted to see, without having to watch them in a giant jumbotron-like screen from the back of the crowd. Actually, back of the crowd? There is no back of the crowd these days. It just keeps going.

9. Les Amis Restaurant On The Drag

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Viva Les Amis Cafe the Documentary Facebook page

This favorite Austin hangout was there during the riots, during the beginnings of the disco days, the punk scene; and it played a role throughout. When it closed its doors 27 years after opening, people were pissed. Really, there’s even a documentary about it.

10. Wanfu Too!

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user keepmusicevil

I remember going to Wanfu Too many a late night! They had the best sweet and sour chicken and sake bombs! By best, I mean the chicken was mostly digestible and they didn’t card minors for booze! Oh how I miss Wanfu Too! Exclamation point!

11. Before There Was Reggae Fest That Cost You $25

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Austin Reggae Fest Facebook page

There was Marley Fest, which cost you a few canned goods.

12. Pandamonium!!! AHHH!!!

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Kris Gabbard

When a friend of mine reminded me of Pandamonium—the magical, gigantic human-sized hamster-like playpen for kids/ball-pit heaven—this was my reaction, just as it was every time my parents said I could go there for a birthday party.

13. The Long Lost Las Manitas

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Do You Remember When? Austin Texas Addition Facebook page

Las Manitas was a staple of Congress Ave. for 26 years. It wasn’t the best food in the world, but it was a classic local diner; an institution where construction workers, local celebs, and regulars got together under one roof—or if you walked through the kitchen, out on the patio.

14. La Zona Rosa: Spanish For Quintessential Austin

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Daniel Morrison

Okay, that’s a lie. La Zona Rosa is obviously Spanish for The Pink Zone, and Quintessential Austin is quintaesencia Austin. Te echamos de menos, La Zona Rosa.

15. Bring Back The Alamo South Lamar!

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Sharlenechiu

Yeah, we know they’re remodeling the whole shopping center, and actually will bring back the S. Lamar location, but have you seen the pictures of the new one? It looks like a theater from “The Jetsons”. How are people expected to look for parking for 20 minutes on a Saturday night and eventually just give up and park in the neighborhood, if they make a new parking lot? That was half the adventure.

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16. Without the Alamo, There is of Course, No Highball

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: The Highball Austin Facebook page

I miss the days of Quoting Along to “The Big Lebowski” and then, well, continuing to quote along while bowling at the High Ball. Now it’s gone. The Dude does not abide.

17. 101X Fest, Dude!

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Thefixer

Awww snap. I remember being a kid and going to 101X Fest with my board and just trying to look cool in front of my brother’s friends. I was about nine. It didn’t work.

18. Aqua Fest: Speedboats On Town Lake. Wait What?

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Do You Remember When? Austin Texas Addition Facebook page

This one is an oldie but a goodie. Aqua Fest was a weird little festival held back in the day when, for some reason, they allowed speedboats onto Town Lake to race, pull skiers, and parade around, polluting the water. There were bands, food, carnival rides, all at Auditrium Shores on Town Lake. What do you mean, “what is Town Lake?!”

19. Town Lake: Yeah, We Don’t Call It That Anymore

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Tim Patterson

I once wrote about Austin referring to Lady Bird Lake as Town Lake and got a backlash of responses: “It’s called LADY BIRD LAKE!” Yeah, I know it is, but before you moved here from L.A., it was called Town Lake.

20. Tower Records On The Drag

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Daveiam

Tower Records may not have necessarily been local, but it certainly had local flair, and it was sad day in 2004 when it closed its doors off of 24th and Guadalupe.

21. Highland Mall Was Once More Than A Giant Cesspit

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Highland Mall Facebook page

If you’re relatively new to Austin, it might be hard to imagine that Highland Mall was ever anything more than the somewhat dilapidated, outdated, and mostly closed down hall of despair that it has become, and that there was ever a time before Barton Springs Mall. It’s true.

22. What Happened To Holiday House, Anyway?

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Johan Crafoord

If you grew up in Tarrytown, you undoubtedly grew up eating burgers at Holiday House. I know I did. Sadly, the business closed in recent years, along with every other business in the center that had anything to do with animal products, because when Ms. Vegan McVegan inherited the center, she made sure to remove anything that may harm animals—which pretty much has to include burgers. Sad to see you go, Holiday House.

23. Back In My Day, Antone’s And Emo’s Were Downtown

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Michael Cote

I remember seeing some of my first concerts at both Antone’s and Emo’s when they were downtown—blues, jazz, rock, country, rap, and everything in between. These days they live over off East Riverside, where they can be bigger, louder, and yet, more vacant than ever.

24. Katz’s Never Kloses!

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Gino

Well, in 2011, it did. It was a very sad day when these doors shut and that locally famous yellow Caddy drove away for the last time.

25. Dinosaurs Alive At The Austin Nature Center

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user

Dinosaurs Alive at the Austin Nature Center was my life when I was a kid. I still have dreams about it. Does anyone else remember those little red light-up velociraptor gun toys? Anyone?

26. Carlos N’ Charlies: Like A Trip to Cancun Without All The Crime

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Daveiam

Carlos N’ Charlies on Lake Travis was the perfect place to geta way when you wanted to feel like you were on Spring Break, without actually going very far. There was volleyball, wet T-shirt contests, music, tequila, the food was decent, plus you didn’t have to worry about not drinking the water!

27. School Tours At The Butterkrust Bakery Were Delicious

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Flickr user Ross Elliott

I remember touring the Butterkrust Bakery on field trips, which, let’s be honest, were not the most exciting of field trips, but there was always free, warm, gooey bread (this was back before carbs were considered evil).

28. Armadillo World Headquarters: The Legend Continues

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

The ‘Dillo was the music venue and place to hang out in Austin from 1970 to 1980. It was the reason KLRU created Austin City Limits; it’s why there is now an Armadillo Christmas Bazaar; and it’s where greats like Frank Zappa, Willie Nelson, and those other cosmic cowboys strummed their guitars. It’s been closed for decades now, but its legacy lives on.

29. Liberty Lunch: Kind Of Like the ‘Dillo, Just A Whole Lot Grosser

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: I Still Miss Liberty Lunch Facebook Group

Liberty Lunch was the diviest of dives. There were urinals in the women’s restroom, so much wall graffiti that you couldn’t see the paint anymore, and when I asked my mom about the place, she said she thought that the floors might have been dirt floors; on second thought, perhaps they were just that dirty. Still, this place played host to thousands of local and national bands, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Neville Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett, and even Run DMC, just to name a few.

30. So You Can’t Climb On The Army Tanks And Missiles Anymore?

Things You'll Never See In Austin Again

Source: Wikipedia user David E. Hollingsworth

These days, the thing that may be more surprising about Camp Mabry is the fact that at one point you actually could enter its gates (no matter who you were) and take a jog while your little ones casually climbed all over the gigantic army tanks and huge weapons like they were monkey bars. Not so much post 9/11.

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posted on: April 24, 2014
[views], 114 comments


  1. Nathan

    But wasn’t Spaghetti Warehouse a chain?

    • Spaghetti Whorehouse in response to Nathan

      Yes, spaghetti warehouse was a chain… and not a particularly good one.

  2. Ricci

    Many amazing memories at the Highball. It was my favorite place for Tittie Bingo, Motown Monday’s, bowling, karaoke, parties and amazing food. I met so many wonderful people during my visits there!

    • Joe in response to Ricci

      The Back Room on East Riverside!!! Oh, and duh, how about the OG Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado? Epic fun times!

  3. Anne

    Dear Author,
    Nice job pretty much insulting all of the places on this list. “Let’s be honest, it was kind of gross but it’s gone now” was a recurring theme. I can’t tell if you’re being sincere in saying some of these places will be missed, or if you’re just saying these are things you’ll never see again and good riddance.

  4. Jj

    Capitol Oyster Bar and before it was Magic Time Machine it was Christy’s and Steak Island

  5. Tommy

    Yeah! I agree they all sucked!…That is what you’re saying right? Great missed point article.

  6. Austin

    Camp Mabry–Just a heads up for those that do want to go jog at Camp Mabry and climb on the tanks, the entrance is off West 35th. Just let them know you’re going to jog or visit the Texas Military Forces Museum. It’s really cool. Closed Mondays.

  7. Rosemary

    Playing Sand Volley Ball and dancing at The Pier on Lake Austin

    Going to Flapjack Canyon after the ‘Dillo show.

    Manske Rolls.

    Lunch at Sid’s on Lamar.

    the Marimount Cafeteria.

    Chicken Fried Steak at The Stallion.

    Buying No.1 Vanilla at The Adams Extract on South IH 35.

    Mother Earth Night Club.

    Inner Sanctum Records.

    The Lake View Cafe Happy Hours!

    Soap Creek Saloon.

  8. Cheryl

    Let list all of the clubs that are gone from 6th street that use to be the greatest one with good drink, and good music and food. from 1988 to 1999 were great years on 6th st.

  9. John Lyons

    Great historical tour. Thanks for posting.

  10. Ben

    Quack’s beans and rice lunch on the drag.

    • t in response to Ben

      Yes! Such a sustaining meal! And their peanut butter banana shakes – I’ve yet to replicate even a bit of how delicious they were!

      • W Sanders in response to t

        Yeah, big omission. I was in Quacks once when “London Homesick Blues” came on the juke box and everyone stood up and sang along like the Marseillaise scene in “Casablanca”. Like that’s going ever happen again.

        And Liberty Lunch had a concrete floor, and it was not a dump. Sheesh, just because you couldn’t get a $18 martini there ….

  11. Nate

    What about playing football inside memorial stadium on turf….

  12. Courtney Tex

    Im going to need you to add Toyjoy to this list.

    • DM in response to Courtney Tex

      Toy Joy moved to 2nd St., couldn’t afford the rent and has since conglomerated with Wild About Music.

  13. Brad

    DOBIE THEATER ? Where Slacker played for 2 years straight? WTF?

  14. Nicole

    Don’t forget the Holiday House on N.Lamar with an enormous tropical fish tank wall and the one on Barton Springs Rd with a live alligator out front. These locations were really keeping Austin weird!

    • Jj in response to Nicole

      The one on the drag with the sign that you threw rocks at to hear it ping

  15. Greg Heilers

    Two *very* significant and extremely missed things, were not included:

    1) Aerofest

    2) Bergstrom AFB, and the majestic thrill of seeing and hearing RF-4C Phantoms flying over 24/7/365.

    How these were not included…but Leslie Cochran *was* – is a crime.

  16. Zach

    Wow. You must be somewhere in the vicinity of 33. Cause you just describes the greater portion of my life. I’ve since moved. To 14 other cities. And now reside in NYC. But my family is still all there and there’s nothing like Home.

  17. SebastianDangerfield

    Oh, FFS. If you’re going to lament something that closed on 24th & Gaudalupe, don’t lament the shitty chain record store; lament the Varsity Theater — the legendary arthouse that closed down to make way for Tower. Sheesh.

  18. Eric

    Club Foot, Mother Earth, Oasis before the fire, Northcross Mall the first time the ice rink was there, Coupland Inn with all you could eat BBQ.

    • jfred in response to Eric

      How about Shoal Creek before they made it a concrete drainage ditch? At least Top Notch is still makin’ burgers!

  19. Vin

    Oh, man. I lived in Austin back in the 90’s, and loved many of these places. I still visit from time to time, but only for a few days at a time, so I was quite surprised by some of these. Emo’s is no longer downtown? (BTW, I used to go to Antone’s when it was by UT!) Zona Rosa closed? And Town Lake…well, I always found it funny that Austin referred to portions of the Colorado River as lakes.

    I suppose it’s par for the course. The passage of time and all that. Unfortunately, the last few times I was in Austin I noticed it’s become yet another in a long line of cities transformed to cater to affluent yuppies. Nothing against these folks, but many of our cooler cities are being homogenized. Austin, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Portland, Seattle (I’d include Manhattan, but that’s a whole other story). Each city a mixture of high-end trendy establishments and a faux grittier hipster section for the kids. Lots of character being lost.

    • Les Stewart in response to Vin

      Sad that the Austin I knew in the period 60’s thru the 80’s is gone forever. I thought I was leaving it in capable hands, but apparently not…

  20. kela

    This was a blast from the past. What made me fall in love with Austin. Now its a city full of pretentious hipsters and not the city it was when I moved here 16 years ago.

  21. Mike

    I am a disc golfer and always will be. It is, so to speak a way of life. I chose where I live, based on the amout of courses near by, and the time it will take to get to those courses. I lived in Austin from 1999 to 2006 and made some amazing friends there. I helped out a close friend, and operated a disc golf pro shop at Pease park. I was there everyday, and if the pro shop wasn’t there, well, the park just seemed empty.

    Disc golf had a huge impact at Pease park, from driving out the undesirables, to erosion concerns along Shoal Creek, which is why the course ended up eventually getting pulled permanently.

    I would like to address one thing, something I read somewhere, “a sad day for many a stoner—I mean disc golfer”. I personally have never touched the stuff, and never will. There are thousands of us that are working hard on a daily basis, to remove the label our FORE fathers have bestowed upon us. Labeling like this does not help when we try to seek sponsorship for locally run PDGA sanctioned events, or any events for that matter. This label, is one of the reasons that we are stuck at the level we are, and are unable to obtain the large corporate sponsorships needed to take our sport to the next level.

    Just some feedback from a NON stoner disc golf professional….but hey, what about Bongo’s. You didn’t mention Bongo’s from up on 24th near campus. Great burgers and a great place to meet after the round of golf at Pease park.

    Pease out!

    • j. Coleman in response to Mike

      Was that Dave Moody’s pro shop at pease?

    • Morris in response to Mike

      Mike, I think the erosion @ Shoal Creek was accelerated by the fact this cockbag from college I knew took a Jeep Wrangler, drove into the actual Pease Park, and started doing donuts.

      also, as a 2002 resident, i barely recognize anythign on that list?

  22. So what

    The Stallion!

  23. Amy

    Some of you could go a little easier on the girl. It’s really easy to say mean things on the internet to people. Encourage people so they can feel better about themselves, do better, and learn more. I don’t know about her, but if I were reading these comments about what I wrote, I’d be very upset and discouraged. Plus, if she included everything that makes Austin awesome that’s now gone, it would be a never ending article. Encourage each other.

  24. Vicki

    Les Amis was nice but I still mourn Mad Dog and Beans next door to it.

  25. Jj

    Bicycle Annie, The Bucket Disco

  26. IMLCA

    Run Tex. This place got most of us off of our fat a**÷*, and train the right way in some great running shoes!

  27. J

    The Highball is going to reopen…

  28. MA

    Mad Dog and Beans
    Inner Sanctum

  29. Jon

    Soon to be added to the list: Centennial Park, across from the Erwin Center, to be bulldozed to make way for the new UT medical school hospital.

  30. Amertang

    What about GM Steakhouse on the Drag? Loved the
    Cheese, fries and gravy after a night of drinking.

  31. Mike Toner

    I didn’t think it would but this actually made me very sad. I wish Austin was the Austin that I grew up in. It was so much better. All you Johnny Dallas duchebags and highrise living newbies need to go back to where you came from and stop ruining the city that I love.

  32. craig

    Mojos on Guadalupe.

  33. Emo

    I miss neighborly neighbors and peaceful drives to Lake Travis, people who removed their hats in restaurants and intimate music venues that didn’t have sweaty lines of drugged out morons looking for fights. I miss feeling safe and not on constant alert that I’ll be attacked by thugs targeting happy go lucky 6th Strret patrons. I miss seeing the Capitol building from the highway, from S. Cobgress and from west Aistin. I miss Austin.

  34. Mark

    The Country Dinner Playhouse northwest of town on 1325…
    And for the boot-scootin’ afficionados–
    The Lumberyard (when it was on N Lamar)
    The Silver Dollar
    South Forty
    — all gone before the author was even born but lots of good memories from those places.

  35. AL

    Remember when driving out to Bee Caves/Lake Travis was only something you did on the weekends??? Need to add the steak restaurant on 2222 that had the incredible peach cobbler. Can’t remember the name!

  36. AL

    Texas Tumbleweed!!!

  37. Sam Lander

    I miss Austin back when it was the least expensive city of its size in the US, in the 1970s. I had a three bedroom house in a blue collar neighborhood for $130/month. You could get a huge Hobo Platter of vegetarian food for $1, I forget the name of the place, but it was good! And most important no one knew about Austin; it was really a secret for people outside of Texas, and it was not crowded at all.

    • Randy in response to Sam Lander

      The Garden on 23rd Street, where the street vendors were? Eat a healthy meal for $1.00. I rented a house in the UT area for $80 per month!1970s!

  38. frank


  39. Leonard Estrada

    Chief Drive In (play ground up front).
    Tamale House on the corner of Congress and East 1st (Caesar Chavez ).

  40. Paul

    The Black Cat Lounge and The 311 Club on Sixth Street. Great times listening to Soul Hat at the end of the 80s.

  41. Paul

    Forgot to mention the old 786 steam engine on 5th Street and Halls with the Wednesday night well drinks for 25 cents. Throw in the Ark on Pearl Street.

  42. Mack


  43. Harry vine

    La Tapatia, Night Hawks, Vulcan Gas Co., Cabaret at the Driskill, Downtown Scarboroughs, Yaring’s, Jake’s on 5th St., Chief Drive In.

  44. Bill Miller

    Is Dirtty Martins still there?

  45. Oscar Valdes

    Oh yeah! The days where we had to look for parking at the Drafthouse in S. Lamar… those were the days, waiting an hour or more in line for a premier with a bunch of fans, walking to the car at the end of night feeling safe no matter then time or what street you parked. Hoping to go back and enjoy it again but considering the look, it won’t be the same. How about a list of 30 things you can still enjoy in Austin that’s very local and classical to back this up?

  46. Jessica

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it but Martin Bros on the drag. God I loved that place! Also Good Flow juices!

  47. mgg

    Black Cat
    Love Joy’s!

    • Laurie in response to mgg

      Antone’s was N. Guadalupe before it was downtown, too. Black Cat was the best…Liberty Lunch, too.

  48. Ryan

    Jessica, Martin Brother’s was in the OLD Whole Foods. It’s gone. Bill Miller, Dirty Martins is still alive.

  49. Sondra

    As an Original Austinite [born and raised; 45yrs. young], I must say it’s nice to know some of you remember the good things about our fair city. My hubby [John] and I will miss: less traffic, Highland Mall, the Luby’s in Highland Mall & at North Loop at Burnet Rd.; Olga’s in Barton Creek Mall [great gyro’s], the Safeway at 12th St. and IH-35, Pantera’s Pizza on N. Lamar at Rutland, Tower Records, low cost cable tv, and the ultimate is losing all the Bookstop stores. Reading for free was and is still great; and we would also buy books & mags. Even though we need jobs and growth can be good, we must say in all seriousness, “We don’t need anymore people to move here!” I often say in my car when I read your license plates, “Go back where you came from!” I’ll try to never say it to your face.
    Oh, I’d like to add just a couple of tidbits: “I very much dislike the squiggly and annoying bike lanes!” These engineers and councilmen, really have no idea of the traffic they have made worse, nor the stress that can come & often goes with it. What happened to my turn lanes?; and if you hear someone say, “That’s Town Lake,” it’ll probably be me; Ms. Johnson has the Wildflower Center.
    May God have mercy on Austin and continue to bless Us. God has been so good to Austin and it’s surrounding cities. Praise ye the LORD!!!

  50. Paul

    Warren Schwartz (Red Ryder)

  51. Brian

    Calling “Lady Bird Lake”, “Town Lake” is like calling the “Willis Tower” the “Sears Tower”. People should get with the times.

  52. jfred

    How about getting fitted for a football helmet by Rooster Andrews himself at Rooster Andrews Sporting Goods. I’m a Gullett Elementary and Lucy Read Middle School (ahem, 6th grade center) alum.

  53. Nathan

    All this and you still didn’t get the biggest thing that Austin used to have and is now missing. The ability to find halfway decent, affordable or non-metered after hours parking downtown and actually go do things.

  54. Lynda

    What about the Stallion and the chicken fried steak?

  55. KWest

    Doesn’t anyone remember that Raul’s put Austin on the punk rock map? The Lazy Daisy? Their food wasn’t that great but the coffee cups were bottomless. What about Club Foot where I saw the B-52s, Iggy Pop and OMD? Everything changes but even more so nowadays in the “it” city.

  56. Rick Huxoll

    Who cares about the Spaghetti Warehouse. What I really miss is The Stallion and Hector’s Taco Flats!

  57. Richard

    Wasn’t it called El Mat, the place with the neon chomping jaws on I-35 in the late 70’s? An austin Classic and great Mexican food also!

  58. Blue

    Club De Ville

  59. Todd

    Jorge’s on the drag with some blue margaritas!

  60. Laura Silverman

    Ahhhh, man, I had forgotten why I moved out of Austin in 2008. Now it is all coming back to me.

  61. Jennifer W

    By the way, the author has it all wrong about Tower Records…no one will miss them. They drove us (Hastings Music & Video on The Drag, across from the West Mall/Student Union) out of business in 1990! Hastings and Record Exchange (renamed CD Exchange?) were on The Drag forever and were THE places to go to buy local & import music, along with Waterloo Records, & at Hastings we had Happy Hour every Friday with free beer & pizza while a local or up & coming band played in store! Tower was just another silly chain…

  62. Ted

    Nice list. BTW…. Anyone can still go to camp Mabry, although it is a little intimidating — they check for bombs in your trunk at the checkpoint — but the tanks are still climbable and you’re free to roam just about everywhere once you’re inside.

  63. Aztec

    I miss driving from Elgin to Austin in 20 minutes on a 2 lane highway with no lights or traffic until you got to I35.

  64. Jeff

    While the passing of old landmarks is sad, most of the things on this list were awful. Spaghetti Warehouse? Mediocre chain restaurant. Katz’s? I’m truly glad it closed. New York style deli my ass. Likewise for Antone’s. Clifford Antone wasn’t one of Austin’s patron saints. He was a criminal and he used to make the female employees at my former place of employment feel incredibly uncomfortable with his advances. ACL? The quintessential music festival for people who don’t care about music but want bragging rights. Thanks C3. So many noteworthy things were left off this list it gives me a headache. The only thing I think I really miss from this particular list is Leslie. I don’t think I’ve ever met a kinder or gentler soul in my life. I split my Casino burger with him a long time ago and had an amazing conversation that he asked me never to share with anyone. So I won’t.

  65. Rick

    Nice reminder of what Austin was before the invasion. I’ll try to remember it that way, but I’ll never regret leaving it and Texas. I took my music degrees with me.

  66. JJ

    Bongo’s seconded – I found this article because I was missing their smoked brisket burritos. So. f’in. good.

    And yes, the Black Cat. Dobie Theatre. SXSW before it was crazy.

  67. Kathie

    Lived in Plano in the late 70’s for a minute, and have been to Dallas a couple of times…never made it to Austin, though I always wanted to go…well…until now. It sounds like the Austin I wanted to visit is gone, and what’s growing in its place doesn’t sound like anywhere I want to spend time, much less money. What a bummer.

  68. eric querbach

    I feel like Redline Hookah off South First next was a worthy mention for this list… we didnt have a 20yr run or anything, but there was no other place like it in austin. Certainly a unique spot that had its dedicated clientele and fans.. until the area became over yuppified and polvos started charging 8.99 for an exotic taco..


  69. Valerie

    Hi Natalie!
    Yes indeed, Memories…
    And for me, there was also Pinch-a-Pollo on Burnet Road. I used to stop in there for melt-in-your-mouth chicken and tortillas, a couple of tasty sauces and fresh watermelon or cantaloup juice to go. It was amazing!

  70. Frances Morey

    Tony’s Hidaway, do any of you go back that far? It was a great saloon to camp out in after football games while the crowd dispersed. It was catty corner from the BEB on campus, the closest bar to campus.

  71. James

    Came from the roosterteeth podcast

  72. pots & plants

    Those infamous plastic pink flamingos(#7) just sited (6/25/14 8:00pm) in front of Thom’s Market on Barton Springs Road

  73. Sandra

    Remember 15 cent hamburgers at 2J’s on Lamar & the 1st McDonald’s at Capital Plaza. Also miss the Stallion Drive Inn, Sid’s, Chicken Shack & 1/2 price hamburgers on Tuesdays at Fandango’s at the corner of Anderson Lane & Burnet Road. YUM!!! Don’t remember the name of the place, but they had all you could eat steak & shrimp for under $10. I think it was on 290.

  74. Grasshopper

    Does anyone remember London Fabrics? If you loved doing arts and crafts and sewing then that was the place to be. I remember doing a radio commercial for them when I w as 9yrs old.good times. And skateworld on jollyville rd. We had so much fun as kids there

  75. What's a Bongo?

    Austin isn’t that Austin any more. We’re not weird. We are not unique. We are snapchatters who want to take a photo in front of SRV or tell folks that they SUPPED on Town Lake (Only the “locals” know it used to be called Town Lake). Everyone has arm sleeves, knows someone with a band, has a friend who’s a movie director, or is in tight with the latest million dollar Startup looking for its Angel investors. To put it short – we are trite. Heck, even our activists are trite. Most of them anyway. We tried to be counterculture but now counterculture has become culture and we are dazed and confused. The saddest thing on this list to me is that a neighborhood restaurant closed down because some intolerant person can’t stand that people disagree with her sensibilities and beliefs. We’ve had that kind all through history. Oppressing people who don’t share your beliefs is kind of a human thing, after all.

    We can’t get it back. Its gone. PC has removed our ability to be weird unless weird means that you have to be shocking. And even shocking isn’t shocking any more, its really all just repetitive. At best, it might help you land a gig at Thundercloud.

  76. Redheadartiste

    To “What’s a Bongo”:


  77. JR

    How about when Zilker park was actual soccer fields. Back when you were actually allowed to be on the grass year round…

  78. Angela

    Rainbow Inn

  79. Txspiderman

    The Pier on Lake Austin.

  80. Ellen

    Villa Camille! Charlie’s Playhouse and The original Threadgills! These are from way back in the 60’s!

  81. Patrick

    Barton Creek Mall, not Barton Springs Mall. Good list, though!

  82. Cap'n John

    Aqua Festival was neither “little” nor “weird”. It was enjoyed by tens of thousands of people every year, featured many world class artists, musicians and brought millions of dollars into the local economy. The power boats in the races and ski tournaments didn’t “pollute” the water any more than the dozens of power boats used by the rowing coaches today. Get a clue Natalie, you are really showing your ignorance and were probably in diapers when the last Aqua Festival was held.

  83. Caroline

    Shanghai Charlie’s on the drag…Chili Rice, Most Nice!

  84. motorblade

    You won’t see Fritz the poster dude delivering posters on skates….he is 55 now….

  85. Star

    The Collesium
    The Austin Opera House
    Martin Brothers Cafe

  86. Star

    Oops! Typo: Technophilia

  87. Stella Blue

    STEAMBOAT on 6th!!!!!!! The Black Cat Lounge, Antone’s was orig on 6th, but moved to Guadalupe(late 70’s)-That’s where Stevie Ray Vaughan played. Soap Creek Saloon. Threadgill’s on N Lamar (original). REALLY?-Spag Warehouse??? Nighthawk, Basil’s, Mezzaluna, Victoria Station, ChezFred, Ben’s Longbranch Barbeque(11th). Harpoon Henry’s. The City Coliseum. The Skyline (Elvis and Hank Williams Sr). Hub Cap Annie’s. Peter Pan Putt Putt. Malibu Grand Prix. Inner Sanctum Records.

  88. Stella Blue

    Willie’s Oprey House, Club Foot

  89. Jo Ann Johnson Pevoto

    The Indian Princess bicycling on the Drag….El Matamoris

  90. Lisa

    I totally relate to the ACL Festival. I remember when you could actually walk around, not be constantly walking into people and IT WAS FUN! Those were the days.

  91. Barbara

    Jalapeno Charlie’s on Barton Springs when the Coliseum still existed and high rises had not landed south of the river! George Clinton at Liberty Lunch and Willie Nelson at The Broken Spoke…wish we never had to grow up!

  92. Regina

    What about “the drag” itself. Before it was a home for commercial chains. The open area where people sold their crafts, jewelry, etc. Where the students, locals and homeless all intermixed and were cool to each other.

  93. Kimberly H.

    I miss Kyoto Japanese Restaurant on Congress between 3rd and 4th street…. The 45 minute Happy Hour was my favorite. Such happy memories waiting in that long line with my friends an hour or so early in order to be first in line an optimize our time there and being sad when we were late. The iconic and delicious Longhorn Roll was our favorite… tears… I am still mourning their closure.

  94. Sam

    To “What’s a bongo?” Well said! Absolutely spot-on accurate. Thank you!

  95. Rebecca Melrose (Besa)

    What about Chicano Park? The place in East Austin that all the Latinos would go on Sunday’s to hangout and drink. I don’t know if it was really even a ‘park’. I just remember as being two parking lots really close to Town Lake.
    I no longer live in Austin but I did for 29 years and I miss it like crazy. Someone said to me if I went back now, I would still be missing Austin because it’s changed so much. To me that’s sad because Austin was a city I thought would never change. Not in a million years.

  96. joseph

    Nothing Strikes Back!

  97. Susan

    Don’t forget the old Taco Flats on N. Lamar! The floor in the back was not level, but made for an interesting game of pool. They served bean burritos with just beans and a whole jalapeno on a flour tortilla. And always cold beer. Those were THE DAYS!!!

    That’s what made this town weird and fun, now all of that charm has been replaced by a bunch of money-grubbing phonies from God knows where.
    Bye bye A-Town, sure was fun while it lasted.

  98. Jeannie

    How about the catfish at the fire department in Manchacha…or jalapeño Charlie. ?

  99. Brian Hosford

    The Bitter End

  100. CerealSpiller

    Specifically, the Triple Chicken Fried Steak at the Stallion. What better way to celebrate that softball victory, and ensure you will never break up a double-play again.

  101. Wendy

    ya’ll had better go visit the hole in the wall while you can, heard it may be gone by the end if the year unless it can get it’s lease renewed.

  102. edgeoftheuniverse

    god this list is killing me with nostalgia.

    the GIANT plastic dinosaur in mangia pizza on Lake Austin Blvd where they could press a button and it would make a noise.

    slices & ices.

    the mysterious & beautiful full-wall painted mural in ken’s donuts — which has since been, depressingly, painted over with… *sigh*… burnt orange. at least ken’s is still standing.


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