We had so much fun last time we had a “themed” month (aka BBQ Galore this past July) that we decided to fall right into September and visit various Dive Bars in our area to seek out which one is the raddest, chillest, little hang out spot. Plus, don’t forget, these dive bars usually have cheap drinks!
There’s no better way to end a tough work week than by hitting the town on Friday night with one of your favorite gal pals. Determined to relieve some stress without breaking the bank, we took a Lyft and headed out to downtown McAllen. Plus, this was also a good excuse to commence our Research & Development.
First stop was the newly reopened Austin Street Bar, located right across the street from the Chase Tower on Austin Avenue and just around the corner from House Wine & Bistro. The 80s and 90s “hot spot” reopened its doors just a little over a month ago, now under new ownership and management. There’s a definite friendly bar feel to the place as soon as you walk in. Welcoming staff and attentive bartenders make it easy to wind down from a long day of labor and help you feel right at home.
For those who appreciate the nostalgia of the 80s, there are movie posters and memorabilia decorating the walls, countertops and downstairs dance floor in the bar, and music videos (yes, actual music videos) playing on the TV screens. While scoping out the place, and right after we propped up on the bar stools, we were promptly asked what we’d like to drink.
Gaby: I’ll take a vodka tonic, please.
Trisha: Let me start with a glass of water before I hit you up for a vodka soda with lime.
We were hungry and didn’t want to continue drinking without some kind of substance in our bellies. Fortunately, we felt so comfortable that we decided to order some pizza and have it delivered. Yes, of course we asked permission first. Since there is currently no food served at Austin Street bar, we were encouraged to place an order for takeout. Apparently, this was one occasion where our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we were able to share our pizza pie slices with a few of the staff members and even the musician who was performing his live music set at the bar that night.
Gaby: Well, don’t forget the bag of freshly made popcorn we scarfed down after our pizza. Austin Street Bar has its very own popcorn machine, perfect to go with your Taaka!
Trisha: Taaka vodka and free popcorn, now THERE’S a veggie combo.
Right at about “half time” for us, we decided to walk over a few blocks to McAllen’s Entertainment District on 17th Street, more specifically,The Flying Walrus Bar. We’d been meaning to swing by this place, in the heart of the downtown nightlife, on a couple of different occasions. We finally made it to the “well-lit bar” that serves up handcrafted pizza and decided to explore a bit.
As we walked in, after being properly ID’ed at the door, we couldn’t help but notice the considerably large bar to the right with its wall shelves filled by a various assortment of liquors ranging from “well” to “top shelf” selections. To our left was another room with a performance stage and a second bar full of thirst-quenching options. There was a live band playing that didn’t seem to keep our attention for too long because after getting our pair of vodka, soda drinks, we ventured over to the outside area in the back and saw an open table waiting just for us, or so we chose to believe (lol). The live music from Single Barrel, the band playing out back, was just what we’d been wanting to hear! We immediately started shouting out song requests when the lead singer solicited them from the crowd.
Gaby: I yelled, “Do you think I am sexy by Rod Stewart!” Apparently, I found their cryptonite because they couldn’t (or maybe would not) perform that song . Hmmm, did someone have stage fright? So how about “Britney Spear’s Toxic”?!
Trisha: You were really making it impossible for the poor guys. The “put on the spot” band members seemed visibly relieved to hear my request for some Aerosmith.
Gaby: Well, when someone gives me a challenge like “Name us any song and we’ll play it” you know for sure I am going to pull out from the vault. Plus, he had his nifty, handy iPad with lyrics and music sheets. They were good sports. At least I got to eventually jam out and dance to one of my all time favorite’s “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit.
Trisha: We both worked off some “early night” vodka on that dance floor. Seriously doll, if you were the jelly then I was definitely your peanut butter that night! (haha)
As the night progressed, The Flying Walrus began to get filled with people. It could have been the holiday weekend or the fact that it was Friday night and it is located in the middle of downtown.
SIDE NOTE: Both bars were hosting Hurricane Harvey Relief events and accepting donations for the Texas victims impacted by the recent hurricane.
Gaby: Even though the bartenders did not join in our conversations (probably because they were slammed with thirsty folks), the atmosphere and vibe shared in the Walrus’ backyard was definitely something that we could appreciate. I’d love to see it on a mellow night with a few good friends to hang out with.
Trisha: Definitely ideal on a cool night for some chill friends, drinks, live music and fun.
Now while we may not have tried The Flying Walrus’ pizza, we have heard (and maybe even shared a slice or two beforehand) that the pizza is quite tasty, especially at 1:30 a.m. before heading home for the night. *wink*
Austin Street Bar, located at 1110 Austin Ave., McAllen TX, is open Thursday- Monday with daily happy hours, live music entertainment every Friday night and “RETRO NIGHTS” every Saturday with DJ Robert Ceballos from 104.9 FM. Book your special occasion and VIP events by contacting them at 956.905.2369 and follow them on Facebook @AustinStreetBar.
The Flying Walrus, located at 204 S 17th St., McAllen, TX, opened its doors on July 7, 2011 and is regularly open Tuesday-Sunday from 8:00 PM- 3:00 AM with “Early Bird Specials” from Tuesday-Sunday before 11:00 PM ($5 “U Call Its”, $3 Imports and $2 Domestics). Contact them at (956) 627-0211 and follow them on Facebook @TheFlyingWalrusMcAllen or Twitter and Instagram @flyingwalrusbar.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.