Overdosing on Austin: Our Non-Stop New Year’s Extravaganza

January 10th 2017

Story originally written and experienced: December 29th, 2016 to January 2nd, 2017 

 

Originally I said no.

It felt right.

“Now that I’ve moved Down South,” I told my friends,  “Perhaps it’s time to call it quits on this whole 5-year-tradition-of-hosting-New -Year’s thing, and we can just remember the good times.”

They didn’t react well.

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Damn.

That idea didn’t last for a millisecond, and before I knew it, I was planning my favorite holiday all over again.

But the plot twist was:

I was now hosting a holiday in an entirely new city…and I had no idea what I was going to do.

challenge-accepted

Indeed, I had agreed to host in a city I hadn’t even moved to yet.

don draper gif

NBD.

BUT.

I knew no matter what, we’d do it all.

I’d make sure of it.

Fast forward

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

II Play II

My alarm went off at 2:40 AM on December 29th, 2016. I was in the chilled Toledo, OH, prepping to catch a 5 AM flight back to Austin, Texas—the city I now officially lived in—to host for the next 5 days.

I snoozed the alarm.

My mom did everything she could to wake me up.

A job well done.

Olive, PLEASE.

 

Until finally I arose in tired tears and agreed to wake the fuck up.

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I had friends to beat down to Austin, which meant, I had a flight to catch—no excuses.

Weeee

Weeeee.

 

And beat them I did. (take that as you will)

Only hours after I arrived, Drew and Kelly arrived too.

unnamed

These fools.

 

Commencing the Austin-themed itinerary to activate immediately.

First stop:

A tiny taste of Texas…in the form of a coffee/horchata remix known as the:

tenor

The:

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applause-gif

from Cuvee Coffee, followed by:

A top-notch taco joint known as:

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Double time.

 

 

Once caffeinated and fed, it was time to take a trip down to Rainey Street.

Rainey Street.

An entire entertainment district  l-i-n-e-d with bungalows converted into bUmPiN bars and delectable dining establishments.

It’s one epic street that offers excellent drinks, live music, and like any hipstery, trendy area, sPrInKlEs of self-deprecating jokes:

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Told ya.

 

Even the taxidermy gives off a hipstery, skeptical eye to avoid being mistaken as mainstream.

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Hipstery bison don’t give a fuck.

Anyway.

After copious amounts of cocktails and trolling every bar from Lucille to Clive to Container Bar.

Our mood was high.

Party in Texas, ya'll!

Ole, ole!

 

But so was our exhaustion. Everything about a 2:40 AM wake-up call and hitting our 24-hour mark of consciousness warranted some serious Zs:

Night, ya'll.

Baiiii.

That said.

Day 1 was phenomenal.

But when we woke up on the second day, I knew it would be even better.

Primarily because, we had one more party member on the way.

HOLLA.

HOLLA.

 

But first, breakfast.

Cuz I want it all, or nothing at all!

Cuz I want it all, or nothing at all!

 

Snooze AM Eatery was our acclaimed restaurant of choice.

Cue the glory music.

Cue the glory music.

 

Let me just tell you…VERY FEW places compare to the brunch bliss that this establishment has to offer.

Imagine this:

A melt-in-your mouth breakfast sandwich loaded with savory sausage and glazed in a creamy, spicy-sweet, oozing sauce, all pressed perfectly together by a super soft pretzel bun.

Quite frankly, it delivered our hungover bodies from evil.

PRAISE BE.

PRAISE BE.

 

Not to mention, the staff gifted us with a complimentary CINNAMON ROLL PANCAKE smothered in crispy bacon bits for no reason at all:

Do you believe in life after love?

#BLESSED

 

Then we got high.

Sort of. We climbed all the way up to see the Pennybacker Bridge.

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Stair master.

 

We're all the way up!

So high right now.

 

And did a lot of “selfie” reflecting:

Proof.

That’s right, I said it.

 

After an intense game of Hide and Seek on our way down,

I see you, baby!

I see you, baby!

we met our final member—Annie—back at our place.

raw

And now that the full crew was in tact, we were prepared to up the ante in a big way.

By…

pub crawling.

Hard.

We graced 8 of our favorite Austin bars in 7 hours.

1. A classy-ass cocktail palace named

Ah Sing Den:

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Loaded with plushy seats and blitzed-out people:

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Guilty.

And of course:

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I wonder if anyone has ever taken a picture like this.

2. Rhino Room

A luxe lounge stacked with

live music

choice drinks

truth-speaking signage:

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True.

 

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True.

 

And best of all, a top-secret(ish) tree house we had all to ourselves.

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Oh I’ve got friends in high places.

 

Onward we went. Our next stop leading to:

3. Shangri La

Where big things were in store for us…

Really big things:

Unexpected bear hugs.

This guy.

 

After dranks and an largely unexpected bear hug, we headed to dinner at Salty Sow where I rented a room appropriately called…the Chicken Coop:

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Decor that can’t be ignored. #RegalRooster

 

Admittedly…we ordered the crispy fried chicken:

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Wrong to recommend?

 

And the show/party/pub crawl went on.

To secret place. A secret place called:

Small Victory.

A hidden speakeasy with a barely recognized stark-white staircase leading up to its entrance.

We climbed the stairs and entered into a dimly lit room drenched in soft conversations from current occupants. The counter was complete with concoctions housed in badass beakers.

ls

And a booth resided down the aisle way that was calling our damn names.

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“Olive, Drew, Jared, Kelly, Annie…get the fuck over here.” – Booth

But we hit a roadblock.

We saw a sign that read “Reserved“.

“Can we sit here?” I asked the bartender, ” The sign says reserved…but…is it really?”

He looked to the

<< left and to

                                        >> the right

“How many are in your group?”

“5.”

He sighed and said

“Well…technically no, it’s not reserved. But we only allow groups of 6 to sit down there…but I’ll tell ya what, unless a bigger group comes in to take it…it’s all yours.”

Success.

Success.

We sHuFfLeD into the booth one by one.

I knew what I wanted before the drink menu even came our way.

“The punch please.”

Ingredients:

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Thing is.

The last time I had inquired about this very punch, the bartender told me it was good for ‘2-12 people. 2 people would be nearly blacked out. 12 would be at a happy buzz.’

4 of us decided to partake.

And I’m sure you can imagine our mindsets from there.

Lucky girl.

Damn straight.

The bartender stirred and poured for 10 minutes before coming back with his masterpiece:

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Here we goooooo!

 

And rest assured, we finished every.last.drop:

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Pouring one out for Harambe.

 

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A not-so silent night.

 

Cut off and kicked out (kidding)

We were off to the next one, venturing down the infamous avenue known as…

Dirty Sixth

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An Austin local’s emotions behind this epicenter mirrors that of New Yorkers’ opinion of Times Square.

They hate it.

Well. Most of them anyway.

But we’re not most people.

Though loud, crazy, chaotic, and weird, it’s the birthplace of Austin’s live music scene.

raw

And.

A place where roads are blocked off after a certain hour so inebriated pedestrians can stumble from bar to bar with ease.

Roam free, my friends!

Us included.

The idea was to give our friends just a small dose of Dirty Sixth, opting for activities like…posing for pictures with the world-famous Jackalope:

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Party animals.

And throwing shade at Maggie Maes:

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Throne of games.

 

"No pictures, please! I just want to live a normal life!"

“No pictures, please! I just want to live a normal life!”

 

Then, we danced our asses off to “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse

drunk ron gif

before our final nightcap at:

violet-crowne-social-club

(No pictures were taken. But trust it was a good time.)

Day 3 got dangerous.

Tigers were involved.

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And inside the Easy Tiger’s den we played a riveting round of

 Exploding Kittens.

 

 

And Annie reigned supreme:

 

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What winning face looks like.

 

But here’s the thing. These animalistic activities were just time killers until the big moment.

1 PM to be exact.

Thing is.

A long-ass time ago we pre-ordered $300 worth of Franklin’s Barbecue.

Franklin’s Barbecue.

A renowned establishment hailed as the #1 in the nation, conjuring lines that people wait in for hours upon end.

But for us? We walked up. Said my name and were handed everything on this list:

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in one glorious box :

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Diet apparently starts never.

It was time to dine.

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And our spread could not have been more epic.

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Christmas is back, errbody.

And a local bystander named “Frosty” felt the same way too:

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Frosty in da houseee.

He even smiled for a picture to express his extreme approval:

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The seasoning was so real, so juicy, so worth the (non)wait. Our reactions were so genuine, we imagined them worthy of a TV show called:

meat-heat

Suggested TV show poster.

But I digress.

This BBQ brunch called for an after party.

Also known as: New Year’s Eve…

Jumping the gun there Cee-lo.

Thanks, Cee-lo

The plan was to house party back at our place. So after taking pictures with local celebrities:

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Hand check…

We broke out the apertifs and appetizers:

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Snack central.

As people trickled in to celebrate the New Year:

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Gangs (almost) all here!

 

The party was grand.

Hugs were whipped out:

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Mah girl.

 

Pants were ripped up:

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HEYO!

But right when midnight rolled around, we found ourselves in a colossal panic. We had completely forgotten about the countdown, and the only thing we could think to do was to briskly Google “countdown”and scream chat while looking at Scott’s phone:

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Then 2017 began. Which meant:

New year, more dancing.

Exhibit A.

Yep.

 

We pranced our way to Texas Two Step at the White Horse Tavern

Then back home circa 2 AM for fireworks galore:

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Gettin lit.

 

 

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A bright start to 2017.

 

unnamed

Total smoke show.

Then we played Mario Party.

Then we went to bed.

Then:

Day 4 was the finale.

And a finale in Texas means…more tacos.

taco gif

Precisely.

 

We floored it to our favorite taco place in all the land:

tacodeli

“Nothing compares TO YOU” – Sinead O’Connor

And placed an order to go in order to eat alongside the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

The January weather here was a frigid 76 degrees…so the decision felt right.

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I approve.

 

 

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My kind of picnic.

And after rocking out pretty hard,

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We lounged in Zilker Park until dusk:

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That time you try to discreetly take an artsy photo of your friends…but your bicep photobombs in the top left.

 

Ate dinner at a best-in-class local Indian joint:

 

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Graj Mahal, ya’ll!

 

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Cutting carbs is going well…

 

 

Saw a funk band called “Big Britches” dressed in sequins and a superhero suits at Blackheart:

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And then that was it.

My 6th year of hosting came to a close.

And after everything we did. And everywhere we went. I realized something huge:

Whether I spend my New Year’s in a familiar city, a foreign city or even a cardboard box, as long as I have loyal people by my side at the start and end of any year,

I’ll feel good wherever I go.