Dry Creek Café and Boat Dock

Take a trip back in time and lose yourself in this classic dive in West Austin.

Near the bottom of the slopes of Mount Bonnell lies yet another hidden gem in this city of treasures.  With the only 45-rpm record player in town and the oldest beer license in the state of Texas, Dry Creek Café is a continuing story of mixed opinions from lovers and haters. 

While the easy-going and low-tempo seekers find this dive to hit the spot nine out of ten times, a nitpicky critic will have a hard time enjoying much of the simple atmosphere, if you can even call it an atmosphere.  But that seems to be the whole point of the bar anyways: sittin’ down and drinkin’ cheap beer.  That was the idea of the original bartender, and she definitely didn’t care if you came back either.  

The legend is that “Mean Sarah” Ransom ran the place since its inception in 1956.  The “meanest bartender in Austin” was known for kicking out any foolish newcomer who forgot to bring their bottles back to the bar.  One story goes that she chased off a man for not paying rent for the room upstairs.  He came back twenty years later, and she still wouldn’t let him in.  Apparently, the place lost that little bit of that charm when she passed away in 2009.  The present bartender called me “sugar,” so I disagree.

Most haters complain about parking, the disappointing view, and the cash only policy.  I rode my bike there, had a dollar in change for water, and never knew this place existed before a few days ago, so I was all smiles when I sat on the deck. 

It doesn’t really bother me that there’s still a place in this town where I can play a game of pool by myself, drink a $2 Pearl, and listen to a few classic stories from the old folks that drop in every day.

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