On a recent sunny afternoon I went for a walk down beautiful and historic Rainey Street just south of downtown Austin.
I’ve been following the media dust up over this neighborhood for well over a decade and am well versed in the controversial conversion of this area from residential to straight hard-party zone.
I had a friend who lived down this way back in the 90s and used to love to sit on her front porch late at night and marvel over how serene it was in spite of its proximity to downtown Austin.
Those days are certainly gone. While the battle over the destiny of the neighborhood initially began around 1992 when the Austin convention center was built, the real brawling didn’t start til Bridget Dunlap, the tigress of Rainey Street, began building a booze empire with the opening of Lustre Pearl.
Since then we’ve seen the rise of Rainey Street as a bona-fide nightlife zone. This rise has been authored by Ms. Dunlap who claims to be finishing her mini-empire building phase with the opening of her most ambitious space yet; Container Bar, slated for an early 2012 debut.
She’s about to have a whole slew of competitors. I haven’t been able to dig up much information on these new businesses but I wanted to put up some photos for the time being and flesh out the biographies of these new establishments as events warrant.
Walking along on the east side of Rainey near the entrance to the Mexican American Cultural Center parking lot the first TABC permit I spy belongs to Javelina. There’s a big crew at work here and these men are also rehabbing a back building. This looks to be a major undertaking.
Blackheart presents itself next. There is no TABC permit posted but a workman confirms that this is to be the location. I ask a contractor and he tells me that this business will concern itself with alcohol only and no food will be served. Love the name Blackheart. It will be interesting to see the tenor of this bar.
El Naranjo is to be chef Iliana de la Vega’s brick and mortar version of her food cart; El Naranjo Mobile. I’ve enjoyed her food from time to time and hope that by having a more spacious kitchen she will be able to produce home made tortillas as that was the major downside of her food cart. Plastic bag tortillas don’t cut it when you come into Austin Texas with the kind of pedigree this lady had earned down in Mexico.
Maybe some big John Cougar fans are opening up a sort of tribute to the man with our next bar; Jack and Diane’s. I haven’t been able to find any sort of information about this prospective business. The house it shall dwell in is so pleasantly shabby I really hope they don’t buff and polish it too much. Very little work has been done so far so it appears as though it will be sometime before this establishment opens.
The woefully titled “Rainey Street Bar” is the next project I spy. Maybe they can have Austin band “Whole Wheat Bread” play their opening? I wish both names were a joke but unfortunately they’re not. At least if anyone ever tries to find any information on this establishment they’ll have right at 700,000 options on google search.
Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden is the next potential business I spy. Their establishment is quiet. The construction crews have not begun in earnest just yet. They do have a presence on Twitter as well as a website so perhaps news will break out of their camp sooner rather than later. UPDATE more on Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/2012/7/3/Austin-Daily-Photo-Bangers-Sausage-House-And-Beer-Garden-on-Rainey-Street?
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