As Austin continues to expand, new neighborhoods are being defined — not necessarily by new names or borders, but by what they represent to the people who love them and live in them. As the “hip” (and affordable) parts of the east side move East-er, downtown living options keep popping up, and new restaurants and bars flood North Lamar, it’s hard to decide which part of town to spend an evening in — let alone where to live.
And while neighborhoods may be shifting, the spirit of them is long-lived.
Nothing says “long live the neighborhood” better than St. Patrick’s Day in Austin, when the city celebrates with long-standing, local traditions. On a holiday that is about a celebration of all backgrounds — everyone’s Irish for the day! — Austin perfectly illustrates the blending of new and old that makes for a truly authentic St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Because at the end of the day, whether you’re spending it downtown with the crowds or tucked away on your neighborhood patio, St. Patrick’s Day is really just about time spent with good friends and a shot of some good Irish whiskey — Jameson, if you’re lucky.
To toast to Austin and the upcoming holiday, we talked to one of Austin’s cultural connoisseurs about her favorite spots in town and her St. Patrick’s Day plans. Kelly Stocker knows a whole lot about Austin, local businesses and Austin neighborhoods. She’s also a ton of fun, oh, and she’s Irish.
What’s your favorite neighborhood in Austin?
Favorite anything is tricky but favorite neighborhood in our grand city is especially problematic. There are so many interesting things opening around East Cesar Chavez, South Lamar consistently grows and evolves, and Webberville is just ripe for the picking. In the end though, I gotta give the nod to my old pal Allandale and its close neighbors Brentwood/Crestview.
What defines it, or sets it apart?
In a city where everyone seems bound for the 78704, Allandale can hold its own with great food, cool shops, walkability, adorable (and most often affordable) larger homes, less traffic and, of course, all the mattress stores you can handle.
What kind of people live in Allandale and how would they define it?
I think the demographic used to be more families with kids (as the schools are really good) but as Austin grows, and grows north, I see more young couples and 25-year-olds with roomies.
You’ve been out of town for a while. Where do you go or what do you see in Austin that really makes you feel like you’re back at home?
Chicken Shit Bingo — hands down. You run into all walks of life there.
Okay, lets talk drinks. It is St. Patrick’s Day after all. Do you have a favorite whiskey drink?
I love a good Jameson Old Fashioned. It’s the only thing that got me through the past five Thanksgivings.
You’re raising up a round of shots with friends at the bar — what are you toasting to?
A toast to those who wish me well and all the rest can go to Hell.
Any St. Patrick’s Day plans?
It’s Austin. I’m Irish. I went to Notre Dame. Drinks practically jump into my mouth for about 24 hours.