Ten months into the year means you're probably in need of some serious vacation time but you may not be able to book a trip to Hawaii just yet. Luckily, we've compiled a list of the best tiki bars in Austin to be your own mini-vacation away from work—so bring out the grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts!
Tiki Tatsu-Ya, 1300 South Lamar Blvd.
Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Wednesday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2-10 p.m. Sunday
Chef and owner Tatsu Aikawa, genius behind Ramen Tatsu-Ya, DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya and Kemuri Tatsu-Ya in Austin, recently launched this tiki bar in South Austin. Tiki Tatsu-Ya serves tropical-themed dishes such as poke and stuffed squid as well as cocktails like the classic Mai Tai and even specialty drinks like the Jungle Crane. They also offer shareable drink options such as the Rum Barrel or the Skeleton Cruise, which is served on a miniature ship.
Pool Burger, 2315 Lake Austin Blvd.
Hours: Noon-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday
Across from Deep Eddy Municipal Pool sits this hip walk-up tiki bar. After enjoying a long day at the pool, sip on drinks inside Pool Burger's beach house-themed indoor seating or vibe to the music outside on the mini turf lawn. Aside from burgers and rum cakes, they also serve classic tropical drinks like Mai Tais and Zombies as well as specialty drinks like Arm Floaties. Happy hour is 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering $5 frozen Hurricanes and rosé and $2 Red Stripes.
HenHouse Basement (The Lost Lei), 117 West 4th St.
Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday
This dimly lit tiki bar offers chill island vibes with colorful lights and indoor seating. Customers have the option to get classic tiki cocktails such as the Zombie or Saturn as well as specialty drinks like their Polynesian Retreat. They also sell souvenir tiki mugs for $25 each or four for $75.
Shangri-La, 1016 East 6th St.
Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday to Thursday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday to Sunday
Shangri-La isn't so much a tiki bar but more so a tiki dive bar. Customers can enjoy the foliage on the back patio underneath string lights or sip on their drinks at the smaller second bar hut. A lot of their menu consists of frozen drinks with mini umbrellas, so don't miss out on their specialty drinks like the Shangri-Lada and D'Mango Unchained. They also have live music and free billiards.
The Cat’s Pajamas, 610 Nueces St.
Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, noon-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
This boat-themed rooftop bar is the perfect place to have some drinks with your friends if you're wanting a night out on the town. Customers can sip on their piña coladas while they sit at the bar swings or take a photo in front of the posed jet skis. They also offer some specialty drinks including their Galveston Is The New Miami, which features Western Son Peach Vodka.
Zanzibar, 304 East Cesar Chavez St.
Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Monday to Thursday, 2 p.m.-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday
Seven stories up sits a high-end rooftop tiki bar decked out with tropical foliage and a rooftop pool with cabanas. Not only does it offer modern tiki cocktails but also island-inspired fare such as sushi burritos, duck egg rolls and spicy tuna poke. Come enjoy this private paradise in the middle of the concrete jungle of downtown!
Hula Hut, 3825 Lake Austin Boulevard
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
Though this is not so much a tiki bar but a tropical-themed Tex-Mex restaurant, they still offer many island-inspired drinks such as Mai Tais and their signature cocktail Hu-La-La. Since opening in the summer of 1993, it has provided beautiful lake views, tasty tropical fare and island vibe scenery with their outdoor colorful lights, bamboo walls and grass skirt roofs.
Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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