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Way South Austin could be the next big entertainment district

Way South Austin could be the next big entertainment district

Moontower Saloon Austin
Moontower Saloon in Way South Austin.  Courtesy of Moontower Saloon / Facebook

KVUE -- First there was downtown, and then there was Fourth Street, the east side and Rainey Street. Now Austin’s next entertainment district could be south, specifically the area just south of Slaughter Lane off Manchaca Road, between Manchaca and Old Manchaca Road.

The bar that started it all in this area of South Austin is called Moontower Saloon, and even though it’s been open less than two years, it is consistently one of the top 10 highest sellers of alcohol in Austin, according to numbers released by the Texas Comptroller’s Office and the TABC.

The owners of Moontower Saloon, Josh Bumb and Richard Veregge, initially purchased three acres of land for the bar and have recently purchased six more acres. They own a total of 10.5 acres off of Manchaca Road and plan on expanding their parking lot and building a dance hall on the newly acquired property. The Moontower Saloon features volleyball courts, games of washer and corn hole, fire pits, indoor and outdoor seating, dog-friendly patios as well as a stage for live music four times a week.

There’s a nickname for this part of the city. John Torres, who owns Rockadive Austin food truck in the Native South Food Park next to the Moontower said, “Everything south of Slaughter on Manchaca is known as Awesome, Texas.” It is also referred to by many as “Way South Austin.”

“I think this is going to be exactly like Rainey Street on steroids,” Torres said. Like Rainey Street, the bars are mostly converted older homes.

“There’s a lot of things you don’t have to do here. Pay for parking, walk long distances from sketchy areas, fight mobs,” said Moontower co-owner Josh Bumb. Bumb and his business partner Richard Veregge said they wanted to create a place they could enjoy.

“The whole idea is to come out and be relaxed. It’s not supposed to be pompous and uppity, it’s supposed to be just chill, and that’s kinda what it is,” said Bumb. Their crowd includes people of all ages, many of whom live in the area.

Several other bars are opening along Manchaca Road, including the live music venue Indian Roller in a converted house. There are also plans to convert an older home behind the Native South Food Park into a bar or restaurant, according to the property manager.

The area along Manchaca Road may be the next big entertainment district in Austin, but it is also surrounded by homes and residential areas, and the owners of Moontower Saloon told KVUE they are aware of that.

“When we opened out here, you could hear a pin drop. We struck a deal with the neighbors because we try to be good neighbors, and we try to keep [music] low and within a certain window each night and end it early,” said Bumb.


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