September 04, 2009
Our weekly tailgating guide returns with a big one to kick the year off in style: Austin, Texas, where the beer and dead animals grow on trees and everyone you meet will be head-scratchingly attractive and friendly for the Longhorns' opener with sacrificial lamb (or war hawk, if you know where to find it) Louisiana-Monroe.
This is a great year to be visiting Austin and Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The latter underwent extensive structural improvements over the summer and the former is just a flat-out killer party town any time of the year.
DKR gets a reputation, somewhat fairly earned, as being a bit of a library on game days. A visiting friend describes one low-energy game as having "kind of a wine and cheese atmosphere ... like a basketball game at UNC." Fear not, however: What Texas lacks in stadium acoustics, it makes up in hospitality, tailgating acumen and elaborate charred meats in the parking lots. Like any major program with a fanbase worth people-watching, these are trained professionals:
And like most major programs in the warmer American climes, that hospitality comes in the form of sizzling pork. Anyone with the wherewithal to haul an entire dead pig to a hot asphalt lot at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning in the name of sport is a friend of ours, and a friend to America.
What to Wear. Let's see. With temperatures expected to approach the 90s (positively balmy by Austin standards, according to the Doc) and at least a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms on Saturday, you'll want to dress in thin layers underneath with a breathable waterproof shell on top to account for all possible, uh ... all possible ...
Or, you know, chaps. That's one way of keeping air circulating about your person. Yes, chaps will do juuuust fine.
Pregame Stops. It's hard to go wrong when looking for good pre- and postgame libations/snacks in Austin, but if you're lost, just head to Guadalupe street west of campus or 6th Street to the south and follow your nose. Our correspondents report their favorites:
• Crown & Anchor, 2911 San Jacinto Boulevard. Always packed, a total mob scene on game weekends. Lots of locals and good food specials.
• Casino el Camino, 517 E 6th Street. Spooky interior makes this seem like an odd choice for an early dinner, but our vegetarian Longhorn recommends this place for those odd meat-free few among you. And for the rest of you, it's famous for burgers you can't quite fit in your mouth.
• Gingerman, 301 Lavaca Street. More of a true beer-lovers' pub feel, consistent raves from students. Doc-approved.
Postgame Stops. Again, quoth our embedded Texans, 6th Street will be your best option thanks to both volume of bars and ease of only having to remember only one street number. High marks awarded to:
• Sapphire, 435 6th Street. Straight-up nightclub stuffed to the gills with coeds; bring your dancin' boots.
• Blind Pig, 317 E 6th Street. Dive par with a welcoming patio.
• The Jackalope, 404 E 6 Street. One of Austin's many hot spots for non-dancers and the heavily tatooed. You may not want to bring your parents here, but everything's cheap and there's plenty of it.
What to Drink
You're in a bounteous land, dear readers, and you can't fling a dart without hitting some exotic tequila or local beer you've never heard of that'll rock your face off. Sip, savor and sit back. Hook 'em!
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Thanks this week to trusty Longhorn alums Shea Miller and Stella Shires. Holly welcomes your adulation and scorn at nastinchka-at-yahoo, etc.