With Christmas only six days away, you'll want to make sure to treat yo' 'elf' by visiting some holiday-themed bars.
Mask up, put on your warmest coat and feel the jolly spirit with holiday-themed drinks in a fun environment.
Here are seven holiday-themed bars in Austin:
Lala's Little Nugget, 2207 Justin Lane
Whether you're in need of some holiday cheer or a holiday-themed drink, Lala's Little Nugget has you covered. Although the bar is open all year long, the unique Christmas experience is perfect in December.
Holiday-themed drinks include the snowball, peppermint hot cocoa and grandma's boozy eggnog. The bar is currently taking temperatures at the door and spacing seating out.
Miracle on 5th Street, 307 W. 5th St.
Miracle on 5th Street is back and spreading cheer in Austin this holiday season. With holiday cocktails and festive decorations, the bar is offering the most Christmas spirit for all guests.
The pop-up started as a franchise in New York City and now, Miracle on 5th Street in Austin is the most popular location in the world. The bar is offering Christmas cocktails such as a christmapolitan, snowball old fashioned, on dasher, run run Rudolph and more. Make a reservation to visit the holiday pop-up for a delicious cocktail and to take a photo sitting on Santa's throne. More information on Miracle on 5th Street can be found here.
Kitty Cohen's, 2211 Webberville Road #3548
Kitty Cohen's is celebrating the holiday season with "Get Lit," a Hanukkah pop-up bar. With Hanukkah inspired cocktails such as Manischewitz spritzers, slivotinis, and latke punch, you can visit the cocktail lounge and patio bar for a good time.
In addition, Kitty Cohen's will donate a percentage of the proceeds from the pop-up bar to Jewish Community Center Austin. The pop-up bar is open until Dec. 31.
Gibson Street Bar, 1109 S. Lamar Blvd.
Gibson Wonderland is here and ready for a merry time. Gibson Street Bar is hosting Gibson Wonderland all through December. With holiday-themed cocktails such as the peppermint martini, naughty and spice, rum pum pum, oh holy rye and more wonderful pun-filled Christmas drinks, you'll want to make sure to stop by.
The festive bar also has a Gibson Sleigh, so make sure to stop by, snap a photo and share on Instagram for a chance to win a gift from the bar.
Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden, 121 Pickle Road.
Cosmic Coffee & Beer is all decked out for the holidays. With Christmas lights on every corner, this is your next place to visit. Besides having your everyday coffee fix, winter cocktails are back on the menu. Try their red sled, viva viva toddy or cosmic milk punch for a jolly time.
East Austin Hotel, 1108 E. 6th St.
East Austin Hotel is feeling festive and ready for the holiday season with a holiday pop-up. The two bars in the hotel, Sixth and Waller and The Upside Bar are offering holiday themed drinks and a lot of Christmas cheer. Visit the East Austin Hotel for a merry Christmas time and delicious holiday cocktails. More information on hours and menus can be found here.
Elf'd up at Red Dragon, 120 W. 5th St.
Red Dragon is having a holiday pop-up to give Austin a holiday interactive experience. The bar is offering Christmas-themed cocktails and a holiday food menu. A toy drive is also being held nightly and proceeds will be donated to Dell Children's Medical Center and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
The bar is 21 and older and requiring masks and social distancing guidelines. More information and VIP reservations can be made by contacting (702)743-7051.
This is part of a holiday series counting down to Christmas so make sure to visit Austonia tomorrow, as we reach five days until Christmas.
- Countdown to Christmas: Holiday light displays around Austin ... ›
- Countdown to Christmas: Christmas songs by Austin musicians ... ›
- Countdown to Christmas: Dogs of Austin are ready for the holidays ... ›
- Don't miss these 7 Christmas movie showings in Austin - austonia ›
- Countdown to Christmas: DIY crafts for the whole family - austonia ›
- Old Christmas traditions in Austin and their history - austonia ›
- Countdown to Christmas: New traditions for this holiday season - austonia ›
- Holiday shopping: Austin retailers warn of widespread product shortages - austonia ›
- Windcrest couple wins $50,000 prize in “Great Christmas Light Fight" - austonia ›
- Where to find a winter wonderland in Austin - austonia ›
It's been a few weeks since a viral TikTok revealed poor working conditions at the Montopolis Dollar Tree in southeast Austin, and employee Maggie Lopez is still feeling its effects.
Lopez was filmed working alone at the location May 1 in a since-deleted video that saw 2.9 million views and over 450,000 likes.
In the video, stacked boxes littered the floor, shelves were left unstocked and a leaky, broken air conditioning unit welcomed customers into the understaffed storefront.
@trishmartinez32#x_bazan06#fyp#fypシ#tiktok#friends#like#comment#4upage#4u#share#viralvideo#trending#wow#4upageシ♬ original sound - Patricia Martinez
Lopez, who now works at the dollar store's Springdale location, says she was left with the aftermath of a 90-hour workweek, lost wages and a mystery illness after the store closed a few days later.
"Nobody ever told me... that there was no air conditioning. They didn't tell me there was danger of getting robbed," Lopez told Austonia. "Nobody said anything... they didn't care."
The location didn't shut its doors because of the TikTok exposure: instead, an AC unit specialist doing routine maintenance found employees working in extreme heat and said it was too hot for employees to continue working.
"To operate a business, you have to have your temperature within a certain parameter," Ikaika, the specialist who didn't disclose his full name to protect his job, told Austonia. "As soon as you walk in, you start sweating... it's not good at all."
Lopez said working in 90+ degree heat became the norm in her two months at the location as air conditioning units remained broken for months before the closure. She added some employees, including her former manager and several customers, passed out in the store due to the heat. But she said company leadership remained unresponsive.
Lopez said she sent her district manager, Veronica Oyervides, screenshots of 90+ degree temperatures inside the store. (Maggie Lopez)
Four days after the air conditioning repairman told employees they should no longer keep working at the store, Lopez said her district manager, Veronica Oyervides, was asking her to come back in to prep the location for reopening. Lopez worked May 8 in the shuttered store prepping it for a reopening, which has yet to happen. Oyervides has declined to comment.
Ever since she started working in the deteriorating Dollar Tree, Lopez said she often wakes up with nosebleeds. She said she's constantly thirsty, her hands shake, and she's experiencing headaches and mood swings—symptoms she believes are due to long-term exposure to mold.
Former assistant manager Linnea Bradley told Austonia she has been hospitalized with symptoms linked to heat and stress after working at the store.
"We are sick and corporate does not give a shit," Lopez said. "What kind of damage did these stupid units do to our bodies?"
Lopez hasn't sought care for her symptoms. She says she makes $13.50 an hour and doesn't have health insurance.
Former employees have more complaints than just the heat: Lopez said that personal safety became a concern in the understaffed store. Catherine, a former employee who wished to only reveal her first name, said she's witnessed large-scale theft and instances of mismanagement in her months as a stocker at the location.
"They have no security, no cameras... they don't want you to have anything in writing," Catherine told Austonia. "It's just complete chaos."
Catherine said that she and other hourly employees were given zero hours for weeks on end as managers, who work on salary, were left to run the store alone from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. She said some managers became so desperate they were hiring homeless people to help stock shelves in exchange for a drink and a bite to eat.
While Catherine (top, middle) often had zero-hour weekly schedules, Martinez, who was paid on salary, worked back-to-back 90-hour workweeks. (Catherine) (Claire Partain)
"They actually did have people willing to work, they just refused to give them hours," Catherine said. "I'm not understanding whether Dollar Tree wants to go under... are they doing this as a tax break?"
Other Austin Dollar Tree locations have reported similar issues. Former manager Jonathan Martinez, who says he was supposed to work 45 hours a week, says he was racking up 90+ hour workweeks and sleeping in the store as he shouldered both the Montopolis and William Cannon locations while his newborn baby was in the ICU in March.
Martinez kept extra clothes in this office after working seven-day weeks at two Dollar Tree locations. (Claire Partain)
Martinez said he slept on boxes as he juggled the job and visiting his newborn in the ICU. (Claire Partain)
Martinez said he slept on boxes as he juggled the job and visiting his newborn in the ICU. (Claire Partain)
"As long as the store stays open, there are corporate people getting bonuses," Martinez, who quit last week after receiving a $100 annual bonus, told Austonia. "Six months ago, when corporate people had a shitload of bonuses, that's when they upped the price (of everything in the store from $1 to $1.25)."
In the six months since Dollar Tree hiked its prices to $1.25, it's gained plenty of mostly negative national attention. In February, the Food and Drug Administration shut down an Arkansas distribution plant due to a massive rodent infestation, and several lawsuits have ensued. The company has also come under fire for selling allegedly expired over-the-counter medicine and its worker shortage at locations across the country.
One employee, who still works for Dollar Tree and wished to remain anonymous, said that they've seen or heard that many area locations are near their breaking point.
"I've seen the good, the bad, the bad to worse," they said. "And it's always a rinse repeat kind of thing... How many more (stores) will go? And what about the employees?"
"Every time I would tell (Oyervides) 'I'm just going to close, I can't stand it anymore,' she would say, 'No, no, no,'" Lopez said. "And I'd be so upset because why? They have my paycheck. It's just been mortifying... the most horrible year of my life."
Dollar Tree's regional director did not respond to requests for comment from Austonia.
- JuiceLand responds to workers strike with wage increase - austonia ›
- JuiceLand workers demand higher wages amid pandemic - austonia ›
- Workers for Austin pizza chain Via 313 stage a protest for sick pay ... ›
- After viral TikTok, an Austin Dollar Tree closes with just one ... ›
Grab a helmet and get active this morning by celebrating Bike to Work Day alongside the city.
The community will gather for a celebration at Austin City Hall starting at 8 a.m. with free tacos, coffee and giveaways.
A few things to remember around bikes:
- Over 80% of bicycle crashes happen at intersections
- It’s important to wear reflective clothing during dark hours
- Drivers should keep a distance—take at least three feet of space when passing.
Residents can find the most comfortable, safe bike routes via the 2022 Austin Bike Map, or rent a MetroBike with the code B2WD2022.