Historic Homes Tour Spotlight: Watering Holes

This is our final sneak peek from this year's 2016 Historic Homes Tour program! Tickets are on sale now, so don't wait. We're featuring eight gorgeous homes, tours of the Wall of Welcome, neighborhood histories and more!

Lala’s Little Nugget opened in the fall of 1972 on Justin Lane. Owner Frances Lala decorated for Christmas because, in her words, “the walls were really bare… Then when we took it down in January, we said, ‘Uh-uh,’ and we put it all right back up. It’s been that way ever since.” The decorations and renowned juke box have made it one of Austin’s best dives ever since. Lala’s briefly closed in 2015, sparking desperation throughout the city, but was reopened by FBR Management. The new owner plans to maintain Lala’s yuletide glory for years to come.

Poodle Dog Lounge, opened in 1967 on Burnet Road, is yet another iconic neighborhood watering hole. According to a 1995 article it was “known for its topless go-go girls and sassy cocktail waitresses” early on but became a working-class bar better characterized by shuffle board and pool tables. Randall and Donna Stockton purchased the bar in 2013 and reopened it as the Aristocrat Lounge the following year. Its atmosphere, along with a poodle dog mural on its main façade, blissfully remains.

Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon on Burnet Road blends honky tonk, burnt orange, and Austin-weird. The long, windowless building dates to 1948. Dick’s Little Longhorn Saloon opened in 1963 and hired Ginny Kalmbach as a waitress in 1981. Dick Setliff willed the bar to Ginny in 1993. She introduced regular live music and has hosted the likes of Roger Wallace, Justin Trevino, and Billy Joe Shaver. In addition to honky tonk and cold, cheap beer, Ginny’s is known for free chili dogs and Chicken Shit Bingo, which is exactly what it sounds like. Ginny gave musician Dale Watson, now the bar’s co-owner, his first gig in Austin in 1993 and he came up with the idea in 2000. Now in her 80s, Ginny the “chicken whisperer" is retired, but still hosts bingo on Sundays.