The Legendary “Dirty Sixth” Street: Austin’s Iconic Entertainment Strip

One name often stands out when people think of Austin’s lively nightlife and entertainment scene: Dirty Sixth Street. Known for its energetic atmosphere, eclectic bars, and live music, this iconic stretch of downtown Austin is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife and cultural identity. In this article, we’ll delve into what makes “Dirty Sixth” so unique and why it continues to draw locals and visitors year after year.

Black and white photo, view of Austin's Sixth Street Circa 1974.
Black and white photo, view of Austin's Sixth Street Circa 1974.

The History

The story of Dirty Sixth Street begins with its colorful history. As one of Austin’s oldest and most renowned entertainment districts, this area boasts a rich past that includes a variety of businesses, from theaters and saloons to music venues and eclectic shops. Over time, it gained its reputation as a hub for nightlife, entertainment, and creativity.

Live Music Capital

Austin is famously known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Dirty Sixth Street plays a pivotal role in this title. The street is lined with music venues, bars, and clubs that host live performances by local and touring musicians. Whether you’re into rock, blues, country, hip-hop, or electronic dance music, you can find a venue to suit your musical taste.

Custom motorcycles fill up 6th Street with thousands of motorcyc
The Republic of Texas Biker Rally (ROT Biker Rally) annual event brings bike riders from all over for the country's largest motorcycle rally to the Dirty 6th Street Bar District for much partying and beer drinking in Austin, Texas.

Eclectic Bars and Eateries

Dirty Sixth Street is famous for its diverse selection of bars, pubs, and eateries. There’s a watering hole for everyone, from traditional Irish pubs to speakeasies and rooftop lounges. You can savor local craft beers, signature cocktails, and various culinary delights that span Tex-Mex, BBQ, pizza, and more. Notable establishments include Maggie Mae’s, The Blind Pig Pub, and Casino El Camino.

6th Street offers delicious cuisine from food carts among the world famous lounges, pubs and bars
Austin's 6th Street runs on food carts, and there sure are a lot of them. 6th Street offers delicious cuisine from food carts among the world famous lounges, pubs and bars that line both sides of the street.

The Street’s Nickname

The nickname “Dirty Sixth” is affectionately used by locals and visitors alike. It derives from the street’s lively and sometimes raucous atmosphere, particularly on weekends and during special events. While it may not always be as polished as some other areas in the city, this nickname is a testament to the vibrant and unpretentious nature of the street.

Thousands celebrate Austin's infamous Dirty 6th Street on Halloween
6th Street was formerly named Pecan Street under Austin's older naming convention, which had east-west streets named after trees and north-south streets named after Texas rivers (the latter convention remains in place). The area around nearby 4th Street and 6th Street is the heart of the Austin entertainment district. Many bars, clubs, music venues, and shopping destinations are located on E. 6th Street between Congress Avenue and Interstate 35 and many offer live music at one time or another during the week.

Street Festivals and Events

Dirty Sixth Street is no stranger to street festivals and events that bring the community together. South by Southwest (SXSW), the Pecan Street Festival, and Halloween on Sixth are just a few of the events that take place here, showcasing music, arts, culture, and creativity on an unprecedented scale.

People watching is a favorite pastime from 6th Street’s rooftop bars during the Pecan Street Art Festival and UT football game days
People watching is a favorite pastime from Austin's 6th Street rooftop bars during the Pecan Street Art Festival and UT football game days.

Diverse Crowd

The district’s appeal lies in its diverse and inclusive crowd. People of all ages and backgrounds come to Dirty Sixth Street to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, live music, and unique experiences. The street’s unique charm lies in its ability to bring together residents and visitors, students and professionals, and music enthusiasts from all over the world.

Dirty Sixth Street is an integral part of Austin’s identity, offering a dynamic and lively nightlife that’s incomparable. Whether you’re seeking live music, eclectic bars, mouthwatering cuisine, or an unforgettable night out, Dirty Sixth Street delivers it all. While it may have earned the nickname “Dirty,” it’s a street that showcases Austin’s culture, music, and spirit in a way that continues to draw people in year after year. A visit to this iconic Austin destination is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant, lively, and authentic nightlife.

Crowds walk up and down past the bright neon lights of Austin famous 6th Street bar & party district
Crowds walk up and down past the bright neon lights of Austin famous 6th Street bar & party district. The nine-block area of East Sixth Street roughly between Lavaca Street to the west and Interstate 35 to the east is recognized as the Sixth Street Historic District and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on December 30, 1975. Developed as one of Austin's trade and commercial districts in the late 1800s, the predominant building style are two- or three-story masonry Victorian commercial architecture.

Dirty 6th Street Bar Directory

Concrete Cowboy Bar
719 West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 987-0860

Rustic Tap Beer Garden
613 West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 662-4121

The Dizzy Rooster
306 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 236-1667

Maggie Mae’s
323 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 888-2211

Waller Creek Pub House
603 Sabine Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 358-1903

Recess Arcade Bar
222 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 698-9852

Empire Control Room
606 East 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 651-4690

Flamingo Cantina
515 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 789-3486

Latchkey
1308 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702

Burnside’s Tavern
413 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 547-4161

Firehouse Lounge
605 Brazos Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 201-2522

The Volstead
1500 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
303 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 236-9599

Shakespeare’s Pub
314 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 472-1666

The Brixton
1412 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 370-2749

Buffalo Billiards
201 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 479-7665

Irene’s
506 West Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 298-0853

Lazarus Brewing
1902 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 394-7620

508 Tequila Bar
508 East 8th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 243-7874

Lit Lounge
215 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 466-2604

The Dizzy Rooster
306 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 236-1667

San Jac Saloon
300 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 431-1491

Elysium
705 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 748-5842

Lit Lounge
215 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 466-2604

Eureka! Austin
200 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 735-1144

Firehouse Lounge
605 Brazos Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 201-2522

512 on 6th
408 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(281) 685 1838

Whisler’s
1816 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 480-0781

Seven Grand
405 East 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Buffalo Billiards
201 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 479-7665

Empire Control Room
606 East 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 651-4690

The Brixton
1412 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 370-2749

The Dogwood
715 West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 531-9062

Friends Bar
208 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 320-8193

Dirty Dog Bar
505 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 774-4695

Whisler’s
1816 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 480-0781

Parkside
301 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 474-9898

The Lodge
411 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 547-4161

Valhalla
710 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 476-0997

Rustic Tap Beer Garden
613 West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 662-4121

The Liberty
1618 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
512.514.0502

Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar
421 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 472-7383

Cheers Shot Bar
416 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 499-0093

Empire Control Room
606 East 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 651-4690

Key Bar
617 West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 236-9389

Recess Arcade Bar
222 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 698-9852

Firehouse Lounge
605 Brazos Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 201-2522

Elysium
705 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 748-5842

The Blind Pig Pub
317 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 369-3358

The Volstead
1500 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702

Eureka! Austin
200 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 735-1144

The Eastern
1511 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 350-1908

Lichas Cantina
1306 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 480-5960

Austin Hipside Peddler Pub Crawl Bike
507 Calles Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 710-8801