Austin, Texas is, by many metrics, the fastest growing city in America. Every day people move here to, uh, well mostly just to live here. I’ve written about this before, but Austin isn’t like a lot of other cities. When people move here, they bring their stuff, but not dreams. Despite the many booming industries here, I’m pretty sure “chillin’ and selling tacos part time” is still number one.
The point is, Austin is growing rapidly, and as such, the city is in a constant state of upgrade. Except for the roads, but that’s another story that no one outside of Austin gives a crap about (EXPAND YOUR TRAVEL INFRASTRUCTURE YOU STUPID HIPPIES GAHHHHHHH). One of the parts of the city most recently slated for an upgrade also happens to be its most famous, that being the massive strip of bars on Sixth Street between Congress and I-35 called “Dirty Sixth.” If you’re unfamiliar with Austin, Dirty Sixth is the main drinking district in the city. It’s where all the UT kids go out Thursday through Saturday, and in general, it’s a glorious shit show.
Why is this portion of Sixth Street called “Dirty Sixth” you ask? I don’t really know. It’s just where people go to get shitfaced. The name has existed long before I moved here two years ago. That portion of Sixth Street is kind of dirty, I guess. It’s not Bourbon Street filthy, though, and its crowd isn’t nearly as dirty as the hipsters who congregate on the east side of 35. The name is more of a description of the night you will have in that area than it is of the area itself, really.
Some in Austin, specifically the people who run Dirty Sixth and will be spending their money to help upgrade the area, aren’t wild about the name, however. It’s a sentiment I’ve heard before from Dirty Sixth bar owners, and it has been reiterated in an Austin Business Journal story about the upgrades.
Jennifer Walker, director of marketing communications at the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau came right out and said it.
“Currently, it’s attracting the type of visitor that we don’t necessarily want to attract,” she said. “We’re already hearing and seeing unfortunately in the media Sixth Street being referred to as ‘Dirty Sixth.’ That’s not the type of reputation I think anyone in Austin wants.”
You don’t want Dirty Sixth to be called Dirty Sixth anymore? Well guess what? TOO BAD. It’s Dirty Sixth, and will be forever, even if these people find a wizard to go all Fantasia on the street and the place fucking sparkles afterwards. This reminds me of a time back when I was in school, when a brother who we all called “Butters” spoke up at chapter about not wanting to be called Butters anymore, even though the name suited him perfectly. One of the more vocal actives rebutted as such:
“We call you Butters, Butters, because Butters is your fucking name. Butters.”
I feel the same way about Dirty Sixth. That’s what it’s called, and that’s what it will forever be called. As long as college kids are showing up at 11:30pm hammered out of their minds, as long as tall boy Lone Stars are still dirt cheap at The Blind Pig, and as long as all the bouncers on that street care less about how young someone is than the Thai sex trade, then the portion of Sixth Street between Congress and I-35 will forever be Dirty Sixth.
Also, if I were a UT kid or a frequenter of Dirty Sixth (and I most certainly am the latter), I’d be a little offended about the whole “it’s attracting the type of visitor that we don’t necessarily want to attract” quote. Really, Dirty Sixth? You’re not wild about all those UT/St. Ed’s/Texas State kids showing up with money to freely blow? You don’t like the people who PACK your streets to pay for some of the worst college town drink specials in the country? Yeah, I said it. In terms of “college” drink specials, Dirty Sixth actually kind of sucks. The bars grossly overcharge college kids compared to the national average, and these college kids reward that overcharge by SHOVELING money into the pockets of these bar owners. Furthermore, despite Dirty Sixth attracting large crowds of REALLY drunk people, you rarely ever see a fight, or anyone being forcibly thrown out of a bar. It’s one of the most benevolent drinking scenes in the country, even with the unfortunate assault on the Ole Miss kid back in September. I think the peaceful crowd that spends tons of money is suiting you just fine, business owners of Dirty Sixth.
Keep Austin Weird? I say keep Dirty Sixth Dirty.
[via Austin Business Journal]