The power of the crowd has created a new normal. Did anyone imagine that, one day, we’d be fighting for the right to ride in a stranger’s car? Or that you’d hand over your apartment keys to someone you’ve only met online?
These days, those small personal interactions have not just become natural – we’ve grown to rely on them in our technology-filled lives. We’re connecting with people and sharing experiences in new ways.
Now, small businesses are also connecting with the crowd on a deeper level than just doing business. With a new twist on crowdfunding, businesses are inviting people to participate in their financial growth, making real investments and not just donations.
When Austin’s SquareRut Kava Bar opened its first location in 2011, “relaxation drinks” were a foreign concept. The bar enjoyed early success the old-fashioned way, through a good product and stellar customer experience.
But when it came time to expand to a new location on Barton Springs Road last year, the owners decided to try something that not only got them the funds they needed, but also created advocates to help spread the word. SquareRut raised $100,000 for its next location through this new investment concept, which gave patrons an opportunity to invest in a business they could get excited about.
NextSeed is a new crowdfunding platform that makes it easy to invest funds in private businesses and start seeing financial returns quickly. Crowdfunding small businesses allows consumers to invest in the places they already love or in new concepts they want to see in their area. NextSeed’s Texas affiliate has facilitated over $1.2 million in small business investments within Texas over the past year (including SquareRut). And now, NextSeed has launched nationally under brand new federal laws, with plans to democratize investing across the country.
Several new Austin businesses are launching later this year, and they have an open invitation out to anyone who wants to be involved in their growth. A team of experienced bar and restaurant owners is creating a boutique, luxury hostel called The Native, the first of its kind in the region. Vigilante Gaming Bar is a full-service bar and restaurant that is creating a custom experience around board games. And a popular beer personality is rolling out a new craft beer and restaurant concept, The Brewer’s Table, in East Austin.
Each investment varies, but investors could start seeing monthly payments coming from their investments in as little as a few months. Investing in the community is now a real alternative to savings accounts and stocks. SquareRut has been making monthly payments to its 31 investors with an 18% annual interest rate. Investors also enjoy perks by using the bonus rewards they received as investors in SquareRut, and many have brought friends to try it out.
So who can invest? Anyone, now. Due to recent changes in the law, people of all income levels can come together and support business owners they believe in. NextSeed carefully reviews every deal before presenting an opportunity to investors on its website. Investors can get information about each deal and choose which business they want to connect with and help grow.
Austin business owner Jenna Choe launched a campaign on NextSeed’s Texas platform earlier this year for the popular Jenna’s Asian Kitchen in Cedar Park. She raised $75,000 from investors to install a bar in her established restaurant.
Her investors didn’t need deep pockets to contribute – investments started at $100. By offering smaller portions of the pie, she was able to make it easier for everyone to get a piece. And giving her investors VIP perks like gift cards and party invitations also allowed her to connect with the community that supported the restaurant over the past year.
For NextSeed co-founder and CTO Bob Dunton, the secret to Jenna’s success and satisfaction with crowdfunding is the community.
Dunton says. “Instead of just borrowing from an institution that only cares about getting a monthly payment, Jenna was able to invite people from the community to invest and feel a sense of bond and commitment to her business and her success.”
Although NextSeed is new, community financing harks back to a more down-to-earth approach to building a business that was much more common before big banks took over. Now, Austinites are empowered to invest a range of dollar amounts to boost local bars, restaurants, salons, and other places they are passionate about.
For more information on this new crowdfunding platform, and to see which of your favorite businesses have active campaigns, visit NextSeed.
Any views expressed in this article reflect the personal views of the author only for discussion purposes and should not be viewed as investment advice or recommendation, and does not constitute any legal or tax advice with respect to any securities.
Jeffrey’s, opened in 1975 and revamped in 2013, has been named one of the top 10 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit magazine. It’s some of the finest dining in town and a place many people think of only for special occasions.
But on Mondays they have all night happy hour featuring half price bar food and $2 off each cocktail, beer, and glass of wine. Take advantage of this deal and see why this restaurant has been an Austin institution for decades.
Time: 4:30 p.m. – Close
1204 West Lynn
Austin, Texas 78703
There’s something about dive bars that makes them quite magical. Or rather, it’s the lack of some things. Now, before we dive into this list of Austin’s best, it’s crucial we get a few of these things straight.
First, dive bars are not concept bars. They were not designed to project any predetermined vibes. The interiors aren’t “inspired by” and the drinks aren’t “infused with” anything. The mismatched tables and stools are not ironically so, and there is no such thing as mood lighting (moody maybe).
There is no irony.
Dive bars are just really old bars. Think “B.C.” —Before Cocktails.
In the most respectable sense, they’re cockroaches that have survived Austin’s cataclysmic expansion, often appearing as misfits mashed between neighborhood developments, shiny strip malls, and fancy restaurants. Nonetheless, their musty walls, cranky bartenders, and carpet-clad floors have withstood the test of time.
Dive bars are remarkably unremarkable and that’s what makes them so magical.
So far we’ve covered age and irony, but here are a few more mandatories:
Now with these qualifications in mind, the following are six of my personal favorites.
Simply put, Donn’s Depot is a bar built out of a train depot from McNeil, Texas. And that train made its last stop on 5th Street over 40 years ago. Anyone who’s been will tell you: This place is something special. It’s not just old; it’s old-timey. It’s carpeted and cozy and strung with Christmas lights. The regulars are rambunctious and some of them have been frequenting the establishment since ’72 (they’re called the “Royalty Table”). There’s a dance floor that floods with people after 9 p.m. and a self-serve popcorn machine. Donn owns the joint and performs weekly on the piano, while his son runs the bar.
This next bar straddles a fine line between appearing oddly unassuming and utterly unoccupied. G&S Lounge is square and brick… and for the record, not vacant. In fact, it’s been up and running for over 25 years. It quietly sits between Warehouse Liquor and that one jail release billboard on South First. If you feel like you’re trespassing onto private property, you’re in the right place. But don’t worry—wonders await you! Come here to drink from the extensive beer collection and play pool or Pac-Man or Pinball or Zoltar. If none of that appeals (and why not?), you can sit out back and chain smoke while you pet the bar dogs. Get on their good side because I’m pretty sure they run the place.
If you find yourself in South Austin, I highly suggest you stop into Giddy Ups. The red-painted wood marks its territory on Manchaca Road right before it dead-ends into Ranch Road 1626. Now the rules get blurry here, call it a saloon, call it a honky tonk, I call it a dive bar. The structure itself has been a bar since the ‘50s but it was reborn as Giddy Ups over 15 years ago. Let’s just say, you don’t come to a joint like this looking to hit the town… a townie maybe. But don’t let “Mom” catch you; it’s Nancy’s bar and she’ll throw you out. This ain’t a barn, after all. That said, this place is rural. Like, tie-your-horse-to-a-post rural. Come play shuffleboard and listen to live music. Or if you’re lucky, you might find yourself in a washer-pitching tournament.
Looking for something less blue collar, more bureaucratic? The Cloak Room has been hiding under Austin’s Capitol grounds since the ‘70s, appropriately buried like many of the rumored political dealings that took place here. This basement bar isn’t just old and “divey,” it’s historic and distinguished—the sort of speakeasy where debates break out over Dewar’s and Dean Martin. But don’t let those classy tunes fool you; this is very much a dive bar. Just look for the massive Polaroid collection that lines the bathroom hallway. Now let’s talk about Bev—magical, mystical Bev. She’s a local legend whose been manning the bar since the ‘90s. I could go on and on about her but people already do. I will say that she’s big on manners. I learned the hard way not to kick my feet up on her chairs. Bev doesn’t have to tell me twice.
Last but not least, Deep Eddy Cabaret is not only a dive bar but also an Austin tradition since it opened its doors in 1951. It lingers right off of Lake Austin Boulevard, sharing a block with Deep Eddy Pool. If you’ve got a hot summer day to kill, I suggest a Deep Eddy double dip. Follow up a day at the pool with a round of pool. This place smells like cigarettes and sunscreen and is perfectly plastered with hand-rendered instructions outlining where you can and can’t put your beer. Until about eight months ago, this was one of the last-standing cash-only bars in town. But even though they take plastic these days, Deep Eddy will always have a cash-only soul.
So next time you’re itching for a change of scenery, skip the bar scene for one of these beauties instead. Perhaps you’ll walk in, have a beer, and never leave again. That’s been known to happen. Because hanging out at a dive bar is like spending time with an estranged relative. Sure, they’re mostly tired and a bit dysfunctional, but you’ll always get a good story and a cheap buzz.
May the Fourth be with you! Happy Star Wars Day!
Star Bar is making sure you celebrate like a Jedi today. Star Wars films will be playing on both the inside and outside TVs, tap specials will include: Ballast Point Sculpin IPA’s, Avery, and Deschutes; and they’ll even have limited-edition T-shirts!
When: Today, May 4th
Time: 5 p.m.
600 West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
A few weeks ago, after I kept hearing great things about their rooftop patio, I went to Backbeat on South Lamar for the first time. I knew I’d be a fan of this place the second I saw the stunning downtown views, but then I tried the cocktails and food and became a devotee.
This is one of those rare places that has everything going for it. It’s not rowdy but it has a lively, fun atmosphere. Today they’re kicking off Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. and you know I’ll be there. There are three themed nights every week and each one sounds better than the last:
Tuesday: Sherry Social$3 Glasses of Sherry1/2 Priced Oysters (while they last!)$1 off Seasoned Olives & Nuts$6 Sherry Cobbler on Tap, Sherry Negroni, $6 Vermouth & Sodas and rotating select on-tap spritz cocktailWednesday: Boilermakers & BallermakersFour “Beer & Spirits” pairings that will change with product availability
2 “Boilermaker” pairings $6-10 each
2 “Ballermaker” pairings $12-15 each
$1 off all canned beers$2 off Paté Melt or Beet Salad$6 Whiskey Cocktail on Tap and rotating select tap spritz/soda drinksThursday: Wine’d Up for the Weekend$2 off wines by the glass and 20% of bottles$2 off Charcuterie/Cheese Boards$6 Pisco & Seasonal Spritz cocktail on tap
1300 South Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78704
Just west of downtown Austin lies Clarksville, one of the most unique neighborhoods in the entire state of Texas. The area’s rich history began in 1871, when Charles Clark settled here after being freed from slavery. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Now almost frozen in time, Clarksville harkens back to the days of an older Austin, filled with historic homes, quirky restaurants, and mom-and-pop shopping. If you’re looking for the quintessential Austin experience, spend a day exploring this truly walkable neighborhood.
Start your day at Sweetish Hill Bakery, an Austin institution since 1975. Grab a Texas Coffee Traders espresso to enjoy with a cinnamon roll or a schnecken, a traditional German sticky bun. Then take a fresh-baked baguette and a chocolate croissant (or two) to go.
One of Austin’s oldest gallery spaces Artworks, features original paintings, sculptures, glassworks, and more. Head over to the 5,000-square-foot space to take it all in.
Next, stop at Nau’s Enfield Drug, a no-frills soda pop shop that will transport you all the way back to the days when you could grab a flat-top cheeseburger and a chocolate malt in the back of a pharmacy. The prices are a bit higher than they were in 1951, when Nau’s opened, but not by that much.
Walk down to 6th and Lamar to Waterloo Records, open since 1982, when vinyl was still king. This megastore still carries new and special release vinyl records, used classic albums, and a large variety of films, books, shirts, and even toys and trinkets. Whoever said that the record store was dead surely hasn’t been here.
End your day at Jeffrey’s, opened in 1975 and revamped in 2013. It’s been named one of the top 10 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit magazine. Get there early and sit at the bar for some crispy fried oysters and a Hokkaido Highball, a Japanese twist on the classic cocktail. Stay for dinner, and try one of four cuts of Wagyu beef topped with one of eight different classic toppings, including the ultra-decadent foie gras butter—an amazing way to cap of the day.
Here is one of our favorite Real Estate listings in the neighborhood.
For more information on Austin real estate contact Greg Walling of Moreland Properties
The new standard for happy hour is Central Standard. Yesterday we flirted with a 90-degree temps and it made me want to enjoy Austin’s patios before the blazing summer heat rolls in. Central Standard has recently become my go-to happy hour spot for a few reasons. One, it’s seven days a week. Two, insider secret: South Congress Hotel offers free valet parking. So there’s no more worrying about where to park.
Here are the details on my new favorite happy hour, available at the bar and on the patio:
Time: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
1603 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78704
Deep Eddy began as a simple swimming hole in the Colorado River, but has evolved into one of the most important landmarks in Austin. The concrete pool we know today was built in 1915 when A.J. Eilers bought the land surrounding what is now known as Deep Eddy. It became a swim resort in the 1920s, and was bought by the city of Austin in 1935, becoming a public swimming pool the next year. Spend a day at the pool and in the surrounding neighborhood and you’ll see why this area is one of Austin’s oldest treasures.
Start your day across the street from the pool with breakfast at Magnolia on Lake Austin Boulevard. Get a big plate of the Love Migas—essentially your normal, everyday migas, except smothered in creamy queso. Since you’ll want to wait the requisite 30 minutes before your swim, order another cup of coffee before heading down to the pool.
Change in the historic bathhouses, built during the Great Depression and reconstructed after a mudslide in 1935. Here you’ll start to get a sense of the iconic Austin atmosphere of Deep Eddy, which is the oldest swimming pool in the state of Texas.
Walk on down to the pool. If you have kids in tow, you’ll want to park your blankets over on the right side, where the kiddie pool is easily accessible. If you want to take a dip in the deep end, head left. Here’s where you’ll find college kids sunbathing and old Austin hippies playing acoustic guitars. If aquatic exercise is your thing, the swim lanes at Deep Eddy are immensely popular. Show up early enough to get in a couple laps before the line forms.
Once you’re ready to head out, take a quick detour at the top of the steps for a snack at Jim-Jims. Grab a soft pretzel, or if it’s hot out (it’s always hot out) try a cherry water ice to cool down. You’ll be so glad you did.
Finally, no trip to Deep Eddy is complete without a stop at the adjacent watering hole named for the pool: Deep Eddy Cabaret. Until recently it was a cash-only, beer-only joint, but new ownership has brought the bar into the 21st century, adding payment by plastic and booze, while retaining its idiosyncratic classic Austin charm. Cap off your day with an ice cold Lone Star, or perhaps a Deep Eddy vodka cocktail, as you flip through the old jukebox still filled with country classics from Waylon, Willie, and Merle—God rest his soul.
Here is one of our favorite Real Estate listings in the neighborhood.
For more information on Downtown Austin real estate contact Greg Walling of Moreland Properties
The Infinite Monkey Theorem is an Urban Winery right here in Central Austin. And they have wine slushies! (They had me a “wine slushy” but I’ll continue …) There has never been so many options for random fun on a Tuesday night in one place. Yoga, trivia, and something called Tinder Tuesdays are all happening tonight! Here’s the rundown for each activity. Cheers to wine slushies and exciting Tuesday nights!
Yoga & Wine with Courtney (6:30 – 7:30 p.m.)
Trivia with Cat the Mad Catter (7:30 – 8:30 p.m.)
Tinder Tuesdays (ALL night)
The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery
121 Pickle Rd #110
Austin, TX 78704
Image via. https://www.instagram.com/camkisel/
Please consider using Lyft for a safe ride home. Good news: Lyft, the app that gets you rides in minutes, is the official ridesharing partner of 365 Things Austin. Even better news: You get $20 off your first ride.
Here’s how it works:
1. Download the Lyft app
2. Request a ride & go