Letting the good times roll
If Party Town had an address, it might be Sixth Street, Austin, Texas.
This hedonistic entertainment district in downtown Austin is where young people and tourists come to consume liquor and live music with abandon.
Pulsating rhythms and tattoo parlours on Austin's Sixth Street
The party is always raging on Sixth Street, Austin’s hedonistic entertainment district in the heart of downtown.
“Partying on Sixth is always a riot,” said 22-year-old Abbey Alexander, who counts Sixth among her favourite haunts. “No matter what the circumstance, it's always a good time.”
Like the moment on a recent Saturday night when an impromptu dance party broke out on the street in front of a bar where a reggae band was playing inside.
Or the gorgeous women dancing in the window of another, accepting tips and reeling in patrons.
“You can find anything you want,” said Alan Custer, a bartender at the playful Buckshot bar on Sixth. “You want to go wild? You can go wild. If not, you can find a place to relax.”
In this vibrant and growing city of 860,000 filled with an ever-expanding community of bar districts, Sixth Street remains an icon - the granddaddy of night life in the Live Music Capital of the World.
A grown-up playground, this eclectic strip exists just steps away from the state Capitol – and one of the most conservative state governments in the nation.
But it’s all liberal rules and unruly liberation on Sixth, where college students, twenty-somethings, musicians and tourists eat, drink, shop and consume vast quantities of liquor and live music with abandon.
Spanning seven blocks, the Sixth Street district packs in 125 restaurants, shot bars, tattoo parlours, shops and eateries upstairs and down, in a stretch of historic buildings appealingly colourful and ramshackle by day - and lit up with neon signs and pulsating rhythms after dark.
Some 200 musical acts hit the stage on any given night, and big events - like the South by Southwest music, film and interactive conferences or University of Texas Longhorns home football games - can draw hundreds of thousands of visitors over one weekend.
“Those nights are off the hook,” said Austin police Commander Stephen Deaton. “And it’s getting to where darn near every weekend, there is some type of special event.”
It’s the most heavily patrolled area of the city. Police on bikes, horses, on foot and in squad cars can be found every few dozen feet.
No matter where visitors go on Sixth Street and whatever their intentions, it’s always easy to find a good time.
“People are here to party, so nobody’s in a bad mood," said Mandy Rowden, lead guitar player for Cover Girl, a popular cover bands. "What do you have to complain about? It’s Friday night and you’re in a bar on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas. Life is good.”