With Sixth Street and Congress right nearby, Fourth Street is a hidden gem that can be easily overlooked. You'll know you've made it when you spot the colorful crosswalks along Bettie Naylor Street.
Known in particular for its bustling drag and gay nightlife scene, Fourth Street is where you’re most likely to catch a drag queen in her natural habitat. However, the strip is also a hub for fine dining, rooftop views and themed bars off the beaten path.
Home to many gay clubs and bars, Fourth Street is dubbed Austin’s Gay District—but everyone is welcome to enjoy themselves on this strip. In October 2021, rainbow crosswalks were installed at LGBTQ+ advocate Naylor’s intersection, commemorating that everyone deserves to feel at home in Austin.
Here’s what you can find in this bustling district.
☕️ WHERE TO GET A COFFEE
Halcyon | 218 W. 4th St.
This java house by day, bar and lounge by night is meant to give you the feeling of ‘halcyon’: calm, peaceful and happy. Halcyon has a fully-stocked kitchen with breakfast, lunch, pastries, drinks, cigars and sweet treats, including tableside s'mores. People-watch from the outdoor patio, drop in for some live jazz on Monday nights, live music every Wednesday and Thursday and drag brunch on Saturdays.
Houndstooth Coffee | 401 Congress Ave.
Nestled inside the Frost Bank building, Houndstooth Coffee is a hipster hangout with locations here and in Dallas. Using roasts from Tweed Coffee in Dallas, Houndstooth prides itself on being locally-owned and operated. Though you won’t find much to eat at Houndstooth other than a PB&J sandwich or popcorn, Houndstooth offers a full range of gourmet cocktails to go.
Juan Pelota | 400 Nueces St.
Located in a shared building with Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, Juan Pelota’s sporty indoors is a welcoming environment for a morning espresso whether or not you’re cycling. Marking the furthest point on the west end of 4th Street, Juan Pelota has been dealing local coffee, pastries and brewskies since 2008. Though it is only open until 5 p.m., or 2 p.m. on Mondays, the cafe starts its daily happy hour at 3 p.m. for $2 off beers and $1 off wines.
🍽 WHERE TO EAT
Group Therapy | 400 Lavaca St.
On the seventh floor of Hotel ZaZa, Group Therapy isn’t what it sounds like but you will leave fuller than you did before. A plush, velvet-lined interior will draw you in for either a classy evening meal or weekend brunch. Catch live music on the weekends, grab a drink at the attached Cabana Bar or watch the sunset over some whipped feta.
RA Sushi Bar | 117 W. 4th St.
Lively music, intricate cocktails and Instagram-worthy sushi rolls await at RA Sushi Bar. Dine-in either the vibrant interior, at the sushi bar or on the rooftop patio with a furry friend. Catch the afternoon and evening happy hour Monday through Saturday!
Péché | 208 W. 4th St.
Named after the French word for “sin,” Péché is Austin’s first absinthe bar, meaning it showcases a cocktail menu full of pre-Prohibition-style drinks and European fare. Bar manager Derek Weiss and executive chef John Lichtenberger aim for visits to be an educational experience, so come with questions in mind. You’ll know you’re there when you see the serpent on its sign tempting you with “sinful cocktails and cuisine.”
🏳️🌈 WHERE TO FIND DRAG
A drag queen is someone, usually male but not always, who uses clothing and makeup to construct an exaggerated female identity for entertainment.
During a show, a queen will typically hold a dramatic performance by lip-synching, singing, dancing, interacting with the audience and doing comedy. Attendees are encouraged to tip the queen during the show.
Coconut Club and Neon Grotto | 310-318 Colorado St.
These two adjoining nightclubs have both joined in on celebrating queer artists and culture but maintain a classic nightclub atmosphere. Both relatively new to the strip, the tropically-themed Coconut Club opened in 2019 from the people behind Cheer Up Charlies, whereas Neon Grotto turned its rainbow lights on in 2021. Check out Coconut Club’s rooftop bar and Gatorade-based drinks, Neon Grotto’s live DJs and lively drag shows at both.
Oilcan Harry's | 211 W. 4th St.
Claiming to be the oldest LGBTQ+ bar in Austin, Oilcan Harry’s opened its doors in 1990 as a safe haven for people of all walks of life. The bar has a little something for everyone: OCH is famous for its drag shows but also has a sports bar, hosts live DJs, and an outdoor patio to lounge on. OCH holds a drag show or two every single night, frequently alongside karaoke or competitions, on top of special appearances and RuPaul’s Drag Race watch parties. The bar is open to those 18 and older on Thursdays, so everyone gets to partake in the fun.
Rain | 217 W. 4th St.
Right next door to OCH, Rain will give you your fill of drag shows while offering some sexier content compared to its neighbor. Catch go-go boy dancers from every Thursday through Saturday, Thursday night amateur strip contests, Sunday happy hour from 5-7 p.m. and plenty of no-cover local drag queen performances on the weekends.
🍹 WHERE TO GET A COCKTAIL
DuMont’s Down Low | 214 W. 4th St.
Self-proclaimed “most unique new venue” in Austin, DuMont’s Down Low is located in a cozy basement lined with whiskey barrels from local distillers. Exposed brick and large furniture gives the bar a warm and inviting feeling. Try the seasonal clarified punch or the flowery Lavender Bee cocktail.
Driftwood Downtown | 319 Colorado St.
From real estate developer Discovery Land Company, Driftwood Downtown is a private club with three floors for lounging, coworking, meeting and entertaining. The club includes a taproom with a golf simulator, a mezzanine perfect for enjoying a drink and private rooftop overlooking downtown ensure you’ll never be bored at the club. Driftwood Downtown is open daily for members but can accommodate reservations for private events.
Hen House Basement | 117 W. 4th St.
You may have to do some searching to find this hidden bar, which is also known as the Lost Lei, but you’ll find a tropical paradise when you do. Tucked in an underground basement, Hen House is full of tropical decorations and fruity, festive cocktails. This is a great place for photo opportunities as drinks come in tiki glasses.
🥱 WHERE TO STAY
Hotel ZaZa | 400 Lavaca St.
Overlooking Republic Square, Hotel ZaZa puts you right in the center of downtown and surrounds guests with luxury amenities. With 159 guestrooms, Concept Suites and Magnificent Seven Suites, ZaZa has a range of opulent options. Hotel guests have access to the ZaSpa, seventh floor Cabana Bar and pool, and two different restaurants: Group Therapy and its “relaxed little sister” Perfect Strangers, which offers breakfast and lunch on the Fourth Street patio.
Prices fluctuate based on time of year, room and length of stay, but expect to pay at least $250 per night at this upscale hotel.
Onyx Hotel | 301 E. 4th St.
Inside the Grand Austin Hotel suite. (Onyx Hotel)
Marking the Eastern end of 4th Street, Onyx Hotel offers the Austin experience through themed suites for parties of all sizes. Ranging from $149-$399 per night, many of the suites feature multiple bedrooms. Check out the spiral staircases inside the Rock Royalty suite, complete with decor inspired by the many musicians that have passed through Austin, or the desert-esque Marfa suite. All suites come with a kitchen and gated parking.
🚗 WHERE TO PARK
Like Most places downtown, parking is going to be a challenge. Your cheapest options are likely going to be street parking or off 4th Street.
LAZ Parking | 400 Congress Ave.
Open 24/7, this parking lot is very central but charges upwards of $25 per hour.
SPACES Parking | 301 Congress Garage
Right across from the Frost Bank Tower, this garage will run you at least $15 per hour.
405 Colorado Street
One of the cheaper options, you can park in this garage from about $12 for two hours.
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In the era of back-to-office battles, a labor shortage and increased unionization efforts across the country, employees and employers alike are labeling new terms to describe the state of the workforce.
"Quiet quitting" first emerged on Tiktok in July to describe workers who choose not to go above and beyond at work. Some say the term demonizes employees who simply strive for a good work-life balance, while others have slammed down on the "slackers," often Gen Zers, who promote the trend.
‘Quiet quitting’ discourse is funny because “simply doing the job you’re paid to do” is intuitively, morally correct but also like 80% of management training is based on preventing this—on using psychological tricks to get workers to do more than they’re nominally supposed to https://t.co/zkn9Q2LCJJ
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) September 8, 2022
Enter "quiet firing." At its surface, it seems to be employers' counterpart to the trend. Both are very old ideas with new names, but "quiet firing" can often have more dire consequences.
Per The Washington Post, "quiet firing" can look like being "nudged out by a manager who can’t fire you but is making your job increasingly unpleasant and unrewarding." It may mean years without a promotion or a raise, fewer hours, or a lack of praise even when you feel like your performance hasn't dipped.
For some employers, the "quiet quitting" recipe is simple: reward your most productive employees while gently nudging others in a different direction.
I do a form of “quiet firing”. I hire good people from different educational backgrounds and some are inclined to follow what they studied. Usually these employees are disengaged in the work so I choose not to invest in their growth. They eventually find a job in their field
— Micky Ruñoz (@HighMs66) September 9, 2022
For others, it's an unwelcome punishment for employees who don't make work their sole priority in life.
"quiet quitting" and "quiet firing" are made up capitalist terms coined to shame workers and maintain worker discipline and productivity
they also insinuate that workers are more bound to their employers like serfs than they are committed to their own lives. it's such BS
— Austin McCoy (@AustinMcCoy3) September 8, 2022
Unsurprisingly, these two trends seem to be intertwined. In the remote era, lines were increasingly blurred between work and home life. Employee burnout, "quiet quitting's" predecessor, earned the spotlight as many found that going above and beyond didn't result in increased job satisfaction or rewards.
To put it simply, many workers aren't happy. A Gallup poll showed that up to 50% of employees are engaging in a form of "quiet quitting," and job dissatisfaction has shown itself in Austin through the unionization and worker strikes of several local businesses.
While both terms are nothing new, they do seem to point to a larger toxicity within modern workplace culture.
A lot of people have unhealthy workplaces but are forced to stay due a society unwilling to provide basic services and support
— Scott Specht (@ScottASpecht) September 9, 2022
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Standing at 1,022 feet near the intersection of Waller Creek and Lady Bird Lake, a mixed-use high rise called Waterline is set to open in late 2026.
The 74-story building will be more than 300 feet taller than the Independent, Austin's tallest, and 20 feet taller than the state's current champ, the JPMorgan Chase Tower in downtown Houston.
- 3.3 acres at 98 Red River St.
- A 251 room hotel, Hotel Austin
- 352 luxury apartment homes
- 700,000 square feet of office space
The developers, Lincoln Property Company and Kairoi Residential, said Waterline will serve as a new gateway from the Central Business District to the Rainey Street district.
"Waterline marks a new milestone for downtown not only because of its height but also because of the positive impact this project will have on improving connectivity, enhancing public amenities, and attracting more people to this beautiful area of downtown," Seth Johnston of Lincoln said.
A Canadian pension fund manager is the project’s primary owner.