The Cat's Meow.
Having just moved to Austin, my husband and & I are on a mission to frequent every dive bar in town (although he may not know that yet). A group of us started out at Donn's Depot up the road (the midget stripper pole and monkey swing in the ladies' bathroom are good for a few laughs), and never made it past the Mean-Eyed Cat.
It was AWESOME. You walk into this crazy two room shack and everywhere you look, Johnny Cash is flipping you off. It was a Friday night, the place was packed and the only pool table was empty. Perfect! There was only one bartender, but he was really fast, efficient and super friendly.
The patio was great for a summer night hang-out. It's basically a concrete slab with a tin roof thrown on for good measure, the furniture all looks like it was saved just before it hit the local dump, the decorator was clearly tripping out when the decor went up. But, they do have fans going and they even leave out cans of bug spray to ward off any bastard mosquitos. Fabulous!
In a city where the motto encourages you to keep it weird, this place is doing it's best!
Not worth your time and/or money.
Don't waste your time. The location is really great! Unfortunately, the bartender has a seriously negative attitude and anger management problem. It's too bad for the owner, because the staff's attitude really does set the atmosphere. Personal issues/problems should be left at home. There are so many cool and hard-working bartenders looking for jobs in Austin right now... that would be less of a liability for the owner. Too many other great bars in Austin to hang out!
***Check out Donn's Depot across the street instead...you won't be disappointed!***
I've lived in Austin for years and have driven by the Mean Eyed Cat thousands of times. I stopped by a few weekends ago and had a pitcher of beer with some friends. Although this is considered a "dive" bar, it's pretty nice on the inside for a dive bar and has a great outdoor patio you can sit at. This is definitely an Austin spot and a great place to hang out with friends.
I hope the condos don't ruin it.
This is a fun bar to sit outside and feel like you're somewhere out in the Texas Hill Country. It has a relaxed icehouse feel, but it's full of rock 'n rollers instead of bikers. Convenient location across from El Arroyo makes it a good first stop while you're on your way into town for a night of fun.
This place is just OK. I know this is listed as a "dive bar" on this site, but I really don't think it's as much a dive as a trendy hotspot. It's too contrived and it seems to try too hard to be a dive bar. The people are a little too hip and probably go there because going to "dive" bars may be in now, but anyone who has been to the Poodle Dog or Lala's can tell the real thing.
Packed on friday and saturday nights for good reason.
I have spent many a night talking with friends over pitchers of Lonestar on the patio of Mean Eyed Cat. It's a great place, very chill. Everyone I've met there is very friendly. It's a great place to go with friends when you actually want to talk to them and don't want to be yelling over bad pop music. Beer is pretty cheap too. Go check it out.
Kickin' it at the Cat.
The Cat is my current favorite for a quick beer or two or six. It's easy to get to, always has close parking and the bar staff is great. Sure, there's the total Johnny Cash theme but the jukebox also includes the Pixies, Ozzie and much, much more. The beer specials are good and the patio, although small, is nice at night. Check it out!