built in a day

Lego-inspired pop-up to take over downtown Austin saloon, a million bricks at a time

Lego-inspired pop-up takes over Austin bar, a million bricks at a time

People play ping pong on a table made of over 20,000 Lego bricks
The Brick Bar pop-up will be constructed at San Jac Saloon this March for two days only. Photo courtesy of The Brick Bar
Brick Bar
Visitors can build the space of their dreams. Courtesy of The Brick Bar
Brick Bar
Enjoy an original San Jac cocktail and assemble a new set of friends at the pop-up.  Courtesy of The Brick Bar
People play ping pong on a table made of over 20,000 Lego bricks
Brick Bar
Brick Bar

Downtown Austin bar San Jac Saloon is an unexpected safe haven from the chaos of Sixth Street: crowded but not too rowdy downstairs, and spacious, quieter, and leather-lined upstairs. It’s as Texan as you’ll get among the throng of tourists, short of pressing forward and out of the daily festivities to the Driskill Hotel. Given the old charm of the saloon, it’s a surprising venue for a Lego-inspired takeover.

The Brick Bar pop-up will feature one million Lego-style blocks streaming into the Western-themed bar for a short two days — March 4 and 5 — with some assembled into furniture, but many not yet interlocked, waiting for Austinites to create something weird. DJs will be spinning all day, getting visitors into that all-important brick-construction flow state that keeps some enthusiasts building for well over a standard workday.

In this case, time slots are just 90 minutes, so things will stay moving and builds will probably be a little more chaotic. This Brick Bar is the first of its kind; it’s up to saloon-goers to set the tone. Of course, that will include tons of Instagram photos, with a little more potential for creative variance than the usual super-popular installations.

A 22,500-brick table will forge new ping-pong records among friends and create rivalries for the ages. There’s always the next game, but if the next game isn’t on a Lego-style brick table, can it really dethrone the champion? Stakes are high for these memorable games. If constructing a table feels like Lego Building 101, visitors can challenge themselves and each other in building competitions to score prizes. Cast a coin into the brick-made wishing well for a magical leg up, and get to work!

Thankfully for the less competitive, this engineering job doesn’t require a sharp and sober wit. Lego fanatics are forgiving of buildings not quite up to code. Drinks at the San Jac Saloon are standard country bar fare, with local craft beers and an emphasis on whiskey. The Clint Eastwood Bourbon Smash uses San Jac’s “own Jack Daniels Single Barrel Whiskey,” which is to say it comes from a personal barrel the saloon picked out at the distillery, with help from the Jack Daniels team to find the perfect flavor. That barrel belongs to the saloon and won’t be tasted outside its double-swinging doors.

The 90-minute time slots for The Brick Bar ($22) should be booked in advance, and may fill up fast. Visitors younger than 21 can stop by before 5 pm. Reserve a play time at explorehidden.com.