Saturday, February 9, 2008

Opal Divine's Freehouse at Sixth and Rio Grande in Austin Texas

This is the original location of Opal Divine's in Austin. Prior to their occupancy of this fine old home it was several different bars that couldn't make a go of it even with its central location in downtown Austin. Those days are long gone and this place is hopping on most afternoons and every weekend evening. It is located right across the street from an Austin institution called Katz Deli whose motto is: "Katz's Never Closes" which means you can get a bite to eat long after the kitchen at Opal's is closed. However, that doesn't mean that Opal's doesn't serve up some good grub, it just means the kitchen closes at 11 p.m. because the cook like to sleep at night too. The parking in this part of town is kind of difficult, depending on the hour, but it's worth the effort if you ask me. There are at least a half dozen other food and beerjoints in the immediate vicinity so it makes for a fine stop on a barhopping night. During SXSW the place gets packed and they have live music with some regularity year round. There are outdoor decks on two floors and all kinds of little knooks and crannies in the many rooms inside. Unlike some big open bars in Austin this place retains the original flair and coziness just as the architect envisioned it, when it was built a couple of hundred years ago. In fact, I doubt an architect was even consulted, this is an old stone structure that hasn't had many modifications other than what it took to bring it up to code. The decks are added on, of course, but it still drips with Old Austin charm. I'm proud to admit that it is one of my favorite beerjoints in the entire city and I believe it will be one of your's too after your first visit.

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