When Travel + Leisure names its 30 favorite outdoor bars in all of the United States and two of them can be found in the same city, perhaps that town is onto something. Sliding into a languorous summer afternoon full of adult beverages in Austin, Texas isn’t hard to do by any means; it’s a place known for its laid-back, bohemian lifestyle and appreciation for the simple pleasures in life.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that the Hotel San Jose’s patio bar and a converted old house-turned-bar called Lustre Pearl are household names among locals and visitors alike. We’ll cover the former in another post soon, but for now, we’re focusing our sepia-tinted gaze on the latter.
Founded in 2009 as part of Austin’s emerging Rainey Street scene, Lustre Pearl was the first of several early-20th century houses on the lakefront road to re-emerge as a watering hole in the now-bustling entertainment district.
But while the neighborhood is decidedly hopping, it moves at a leisurely pace; peppered with legitimately delicious food truck offerings ranging from Indian to African fare, the area’s bars are all a stone’s throw from one another, and that’s a good thing. With spirits ranging from the “white bread” (a Miller Lite with a shot of Jagermeister) and “black eye” (a Shiner Bock with a shot of Jack Daniels) to lemonade spiked with moonshine, patrons might be moving at a snail’s pace by the time they leave Lustre Pearl for the next destination.
For those who care to continue seeing straight by the time the evening’s through, a Lone Star beer is the typical drink of choice.
The establishment itself is comprised of several interior rooms centered around the bar in what was likely a living room at one time; outfitted with a jukebox and a bartender with a veto button, the bar welcomes anyone who isn’t feeling the music to simply saunter out back into an expansive yard filled with picnic tables, vintage hula hoops and the occasional goat.
While cowboy boots are optional, attitude is not; in a town built on music and Southern hospitality, customary niceties like “please” and “thank you” are still used even in the dustiest of bars, and that’s part of what makes the city — and its gems like Lustre Pearl — so special.
Scrawled on the backyard fence are the words “Welcome Home;” in such a warm and genuine place, it couldn’t be more appropriate.
Photo credits: Lustre Pearl