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Photo courtesy of Jameson

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.

Jameson Irish Whiskey/Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/jamesonwhiskey?ref=br_tf]

Top Austin bartenders on the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day

How to Do St. Patrick's Day

Every year in downtown Austin, the St. Patrick's Day celebrations start early in the morning at a favorite Irish pub and last through the day, spilling out onto the blocked off street. It’s the biggest, longest-standing St. Patrick’s Day event in Austin and it’s all about celebrating the holiday the real way — with quality and respect.

For the past 18 years, family and friends have made memories on St. Patrick’s Day with live music, authentic street fare — like shepherd's pie — and plenty of drinks. And for every one of those years, Eric Rossol has been behind the scenes (and behind the bar) helping make those memories happen.

“We are St. Paddy’s Day in Austin,” says Rossol, “What we do … we’re really good at it.” After 18 St. Patrick’s Day’s, Rossol says it’s hard to tell the holidays apart from each other — the years have all kind of blurred into each other. Part of that blurring might be because there’s the same familiar faces every year. Even in a crowd of 1,000 people, Rossol always notices the large amount of regulars who come out to celebrate together. And it’s not just bar patrons that are part of the tradition. It’s a community event, he stresses. “All the police guys come down and the chief comes to hang out for awhile, the mayor usually comes by. It’s the same cops every year,” he says.

Rossol sees it all. “The crowd gets younger as the night progresses,” he laughs. It's St. Patrick’s Day done right, with taste and quality in mind. There’s no green beer — “we’ll never do that ... we try to stick to as purely as Irish as possible. You know, the good stuff,” he says, like a shot of Jameson shared with friends.

Iconic Austin bartender Billy Hankey is imagining a much lower key — but just as authentic — St. Patrick’s. It may be new, but the bar keeps the musical, neighborhood dive bar spirit intact.

“It’s definitely kind of formed into very much a neighborhood bar, with a lot of the people coming in from the neighborhood on a daily basis, along with a lot of service industry people ... just coming in, relaxing and having a good time,” says Hankey, who lives in the neighborhood himself.

And as for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, that’s what he hopes the vibe will be on that day too. “Just a bar,” says Hankey, a place to “come in and have a drink and enjoy the people around you.”

He’s not one for green beer or plastic beads. Years ago before he started working the holiday, he would celebrate casually, at his usual watering holes. “I would have a few drinks, sit around and talk and hang out.”

This year, he’s glad to give his neighborhood a chance to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by doing just that: sitting around, drinking, and, “I dunno, maybe playing some Dubliners,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Jameson

This St. Patrick's Day, show friends your #ShotsEyeView with Jameson

St. Paddy's Day Social

Spring has finally sprung, and not a moment too soon, because St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Just around the corner is where you’ll be going too: There’s nothing more enjoyable than posting up at the neighborhood bar with your closest friends to celebrate.

It might not be the trendiest spot in town, and it probably never made a “best of” list. But your neighborhood bar has the memories that those other places can’t replicate. All the stories, the laughter, the late-night crushes and rounds — they’ve built upon one another to make this your bar.

Wherever you are in the bar, get the bartender to pour a shot of Jameson. Not only is it the essential drink, it’ll make a great subject for your next Instagram pic or tweet.

That sweet amber sitting in the shot glass acts as the perfect lens for your neighborhood (like those in the slideshow) and gives you that #ShotsEyeView that lets your friends know you’re about to run this pool table, whether they’re the stripes to your solids or hundreds of miles away in their own neighborhood bar.

But you’re here in the bar you’re always in, and you wouldn’t have it any other way, because when a bar fits you like a broken-in leather jacket, you’re not even thinking about going anywhere else, especially on St. Paddy’s Day.

As long as the shot lives, this is your spot, because it’s got what you want: good friends, good tunes and good vibes.

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Starting March 13, if you find yourself holding a shot of Jameson (and you should), whip out your phone and snap a picture with the shot in the foreground. It acts as the perfect magnifier for the background and shows off the places that mean the most to you.

Your high school photography teacher will be proud of you, and when your friends see your Facebook or Instagram post tagged with #ShotsEyeView and #LongLiveTheShot, they’ll know that you’re celebrating St. Paddy’s in style.

Share your #ShotsEyeView of Jameson this St. Patrick's Day weekend on Facebook and Instagram. #LongLiveTheShot

Photo courtesy of Jameson
Share your #ShotsEyeView of Jameson this St. Patrick's Day weekend on Facebook and Instagram. #LongLiveTheShot
Photo courtesy of The Tea Merchants

How Austin does St. Patrick's Day: It's all about the music — and keeping it local

St. Patrick's Day Stories

There’s something special about the Irish Austin community, a diverse group of music lovers and folks with a fierce commitment to keeping it local. On St. Patrick’s Day, at festivals and block parties across town, that spirit is very much alive.

It's no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day in Austin is defined by homegrown, music-filled traditions and celebrations. While some outsiders may try to set up shop and bank on "St. Patrick's Day fever," locally run, long-standing events held at old-school Austin/Irish bars and pubs are the most popular ways of celebrating — along with shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey.

One of those flagship events is the St. Patrick’s Day Austin Festival, a local favorite for nearly 15 years. The festival is committed to traditional fare and authenticity — you won't find leprechauns ... or green beer. "Austinites tend to know a thing or two about beer," says organizer ​Donnelle McKaskle. "So you will never be served something as unpalatable as a 'green' beer ... that’s a dead giveaway that you do not know much about the Irish culture — or Austin for that matter." Instead of green beer, expect plenty of Jameson on hand for specialty beverages like Irish coffee and boilermakers.

And, true to the Live Music Capital of the World, there plenty of Irish music on hand. Music, in fact, is the driving force behind the fest. The lineup (which includes a headlining act from Ireland and the Inishfree Irish Dance Company of Austin) is heavy on local Austin Irish musicians.

Award-winning Austin Irish musician Chris Buckley — who happens to be "one of the best Irish fiddle players you will find this side of the Mississippi" — plays the festival every year with his band, the Tea Merchants.

Much of his success is owed to the Austin Irish community — and its music-loving pub scene. In 2001, he spent his first night in Austin jamming at an Irish music session at one of downtown Austin's iconic Irish pubs. And on that first night down on Sixth Street, he hooked up with a few musicians and started his first Irish band in Austin.

Buckley still plays with one of the musicians he met that night. "We’ve been in three bands together," he says of Charlie Branch. "When you find that magical combination of people to work with, that makes it that much easier."

Luckily for Austin Irish musicians — and Austin Irish music fans! — those sessions are still happening down at that same pub on Sixth Street — so you can see the magic for yourself. You can also catch the magic at on March 17, the biggest day of the year for Austin musicians like Buckley (who will play six gigs throughout the day).

"In Austin, St. Patrick’s day is the greatest day of the year to be an Irish musician ... we’re totally rock stars on that day, and I totally soak it up," he says.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

The "world's rudest" diner is coming to Austin, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. A diner with the "world's rudest service" is coming to Austin...like, whenever. Karen’s Diner provides the worst service for the best experience, at least according to cheeky clientele who appreciate the campy comedy of a long-suffering server.

2. Award-winning New York pub brings Irish hospitality to Austin's Sixth Street. The Dead Rabbit pub is bringing Ireland to Texas, opening a new location in downtown Austin.

3. Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching Austin. The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1, and its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago.

4. 6 Austin restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations. Austin restaurants and bars earned both national and regional recognition, with three national nominations and three nominations for Best Chef: Texas.

5. 2 Austin suburbs cash in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Lakeway has been renamed the fifth richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study, while Bee Cave moved from No. 13 in 2022 to No. 9 this year.

Austin's flagship Kendra Scott store transforms into mini-Museum of Ice Cream for Valentine's Day

Sweet On You

Roses are red, violets are blue, and it's almost February, which means the season of love is upon us. Whether you're looking for the perfect Instagram backdrop or the perfect gift for your Galentine, Valentine — or just a treat for yourself — one particularly sweet collaboration has you covered.

Starting February 1, Austin's own Kendra Scott is partnering with the Museum of Ice Cream to "spread joy, inspire human connection, and reimagine the way we experience ice cream and jewelry just in time for Valentine’s Day," according to a release.

An extension of Scott's “Sweet on You” Valentine’s Day campaign, the partnership will feature an immersive, experiential retail component in the bustling Kendra Scott flagship location on South Congress, as well as a custom ice cream flavor, opportunities to give back, and more.

For an immersive retail experience, the event space at the flagship store will be transformed into a mini-Museum of Ice Cream appropriately dressed with bananas, baubles, and hearts galore. If you've never made it to the renowned museum housed at the Domain, this is your chance to get a literal taste of the experience, while shopping for trinkets and treasures at the same time.

Both companies prioritize giving back as key pillars of their brand, so it's only fitting that the duo will be surprising three schools in Austin, Chicago, and New York with February ice cream parties as part of their partnership. Children at participating schools will be able to enjoy the exclusive Kendra Scott x Museum of Ice Cream flavor while crafting their own Museum of Ice Cream cardboard truck. Each classroom will also receive an Amazon gift card to offset teaching supplies, and Kendra Scott will provide each student with a yellow rose to give alongside Valentine’s messages for their friends, family, teacher, or crush.

Taking place from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, a public event on Febuary 1 will formally celebrate the launch of the partnership. Guests will be able to check out the collaborative, immersive shopping experience while shopping Kendra Scott’s new Valentine's Day Collection, enjoying free ice cream and treats from the Museum of Ice Cream and the Sips & Sweets Café.

RSVP to the public event here, and start shopping the Valentine's Day collection here.

Texas-based Cinemark theater chain hosts Oscars-themed movie marathon

Awards News

The Cinemark movie chain is giving movie buffs an opportunity to brush up on the Oscars.

Plano-based Cinemark Holdings, Inc. will host its annual Oscar Movie Week festival, this year running from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12, in anticipation of the 95th Oscars ceremony, which airs on March 12 on ABC.

The theater chain will air all of this year’s Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees, at more than 120 participating Cinemark theaters nationwide.

According to a release, passes are now on sale now at Cinemark.com/movieweek.

A full Digital Festival Pass is $40 and includes showings for all Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees. There's a perk! If you purchase a festival pass, you get 50 percent off any size popcorn during Oscar Movie Week.

Individual showtime tickets will be available starting January 27 at standard pricing, with showtimes beginning March 6.

All Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees are bundled into one viewing for just $10 from March 10-12.

For other brushing up, take a look back at what CultureMap’s film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nominees (listed in alphabetical order) when they were originally released.

Cinemark has been hosting other similar marathon events such its collaboration with ESPN to bring college football games to the big screen.

The event takes place at these theaters across the U.S., including the following locations in Texas:

  • Austin: Cinemark Southpark Meadows
  • Denton: Cinemark 14
  • Fort Worth: Ridgmar Mall
  • Grapevine: Cinemark Tinseltown
  • Houston: Cinemark Memorial City
  • Plano: Cinemark Legacy
  • Plano: Cinemark West Plano
  • San Antonio: Cinemark San Antonio 16
  • The Woodlands: Cinemark 17