by Marc B. Zawel
Everything is bigger in the cocky and confident Lone Star State, and the massive University of Texas — with more than 50,000 students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries — is no exception. Located in Austin, the carefree capital (and center stage for the annual South By Southwest music and booze fest), the school seems custom engineered for the college experience. On a stretch of Sixth Street that’s often so packed with drunken revelers it closes to automobile traffic sits Maggie Mae’s. Stereotypically super-sized, this alcohol-soaked oasis has enough room for you and 900 of your soon-to-be-closest friends to get properly sloshed.
The Scene: Housed in a former feed and general store built in the 1850s, this bar has some of the old-fashioned touches of a Deadwood-era dive. But it’s been modernized with all the right additions, like a rooftop cabana bar and a courtyard, to make it a watering hole par excellence. You can hear live music three days a week — Lyle Lovett is a regular and actor Elijah Wood once got behind the turntables — but the real draw is the upstairs deck. Overlooking the city’s busy nightlife district and featuring a monstrous projection television for moments when sports overtake the skyline, it’s a sublime spot for boozing it up.
Girls at the Bar: All the stereotypes you’ve heard about Texas women are, thankfully, true. “I count my blessings every single day,” says Joe, a psych major. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now.” Guys say that although it’s not all blonde-hair, blue-eyed coeds, the women of Austin do share one common characteristic: Southern charm. “It’s something about their friendliness and hospitality,” says Jon, a business major. “All of this, of course, on top of their beautiful looks.”
When to Go: There’s never a cover at Maggie Mae’s, but to truly experience the bar and the beautiful belles inside, bartenders recommend Thursday nights. Drinks are $2 all night and massive crowds line up down the block by 9 p.m. So, get there early. Saturday night, featuring local bands, is also a big draw.
Dress Code: For guys, it’s simple: Come as you are. Throw on a pair of jeans, a button-down shirt and maybe a cowboy hat, and you’ll be set. Predictably, ladies tend to get dressed up a little bit more, although still casual. “Just wear a shirt and shoes and you’ll be at home,” says manager Patrick Fender.
At the Bar: If you’re not a native, order a Budweiser and check out the special commemorative bottle served only in Texas. Regional beers like Shiner Bock and Lone Star are huge, in addition to typical staples like Crown Royal, Jäger and anything mixed with Red Bull. Sunday through Wednesday nights, domestic beers and well drinks are just two bucks.
Where it’s at: 323 East Sixth Street, Austin, Texas
Hours: Sunday and Monday, 7 p.m.-2 a.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m.