I've been anxious to make it to East Side and visit some of the bars over there that I have heard so much about. Brent and I have been to several restaurants over there such as, Primizie, Blue Dahlia, Ms. B's, and East Side Pies to name a few. There is some great food to be had East of I-35 and I love all the places I have just listed and now it was time to check out some of the night life.
I never realized how close it all is! It's right there and it was busy. I was able to make it to both East Side Show Room and Shangri-La. I went to ESSR first but due to my bad experience it will be at the end of the blog and I'm going to go straight in to raving about Shangri-La!
According to Wikipedia, Shangri-La "has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia-a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world." I think that our little Austin Shangri-La bar has captured that definition and feeling. It has an awesome outdoor area with tables which are fenced off, nicely enclosing everyone in it's own little world. This place is super cool and it's the perfect time of year for the outdoor portion of their venue. There were lots of people but it didn't feel too crowded and it wasn't so loud we couldn't talk. It was really perfect. It definitely has the quintessential Austin Funky Cool scene going on and this is the place to be. It is unpretentious and hip.
East Side Show Room
And now for my disappointment at East Side Show Room. Or as Nicole wittily coined it the "East Side Slow Room" (sigh). I generally like to post on the positive, which is why, even though we went here first I'm putting it at the end of the blog. More times than not if I have an "eh" experience I just won't say anything about it in the blog. I realize that sometimes places just have an off night. This, however, was more than just a mildly bad experience. This was terrible and I feel it was bad enough to warn people about it. This was by far the slowest service I have ever had, ever and I've been to some slow bars in Austin. I was close to quizzing some of the other tables to see what they were experiencing but after reading some reviews online, this isn't a new problem.
I felt so bad for our waitress, who was sweet and as attentive as she could be, without having drinks in her hand. My friends and I sat down about 8:45 and the place was pretty busy but didn't look overwhelmed. We ordered our first round of drinks and waited, waited, waited. I wish I had timed it but who knew it was going to take so long. Finally she showed up with one drink. Mine.
I remained open minded about the price of my drink and made final judgment with my last sip to evaluate the total effect of the beverage. I think it was overpriced at $10. It isn't that I always mind paying that much, since Peche is one of my favorite bars with similar concoctions of creativity and prices to match, but at Peche 1 drink is like having 2, so it's worth it. I'll quote my friend Ted who said, "These are Manhattan prices in an East Austin bar."
One of the excuses that we got from the waitress as we were getting anxious for the completion of the first round of drinks was that the bartender was "really particular" and the martini glasses were dirty and all these drinks were supposed to go in martini glasses. I say, big freaking deal, give it to me in a Dixie cup... I just want a drink!
Then it was "he's a perfectionist and his drinks have to be just right, so it takes a while". Well, back to Peche, they make some seriously complicated drinks all from scratch and all by hand and yet they are able to crank them out and keep the booze flowing.
I do have to thank ESSR for one thing. Because it took nearly 2 hours for us to obtain two rounds of drinks, I feel certain they saved me money, prevented me from getting drunk, and possibly a DWI.
East Side "Slow Room"-
It was nice to meet you. I sincerely wish you all the best and hope that you can figure it out. You look great but I need a relationship based more on just your looks. When I go somewhere else, I can drink more and the looks don't matter as much after I imbibe.
I hate to break up with you so soon. (sniffle)
Pizza Taste off: The Onion and Hoek's