ATX Feature: Trudy's North Star
If you've been in the city for any amount of time, someone's likely already mentioned Trudy's. The thing that sets Trudy's North Star apart is that it's the last bar in the city where you can smoke inside legally. You read that right. For smokers hitting up the city for SXSW or ACL, this is an irreplaceable find. There's a bar downstairs for non-smokers, then a separate bar upstairs for smokers... 'n they're open until 2am. While Cool River Cafe boasts a cigar and cognac bar (highly suggested), it is not easily accessible along the bus lines. Trudy's, on the other hand, is one bus ride away from downtown and is entirely an Austin experience. Here's the info:
Trudy's North Star, 8820 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757 ~ 512.454.1474
Trudy's Online ~ Yelp Reviews ~ Google Maps
Directions: If you take the bus, it's going to drop you off across the street from Trudy's. This is a fairly busy street. Don't get yourself "the squished" by trying to play Frogger and failing. Outside of downtown, the cops in Austin aren't big on giving out jaywalking tickets. Just look both ways before trying to cross Burnet Road. From downtown, grab the #3 bus [schedule] at 6th & Brazos. After a somewhat lengthy venture going north, look for where Highway 183 arches over Burnet. There will be a bowling alley on the right. That's where you want to get off, before crossing and walking south about a block. If you're not sure, as the driver to tell you when you get near 183. The last bus comes around just after 11pm on weekdays, so don't get left if you're leaving by bus.

A Little Bit o' Mexico: They call 'em "Mexican Martinis". Now, I've been all over Mexico, and I ain't ever seen anything close to these Mexican Martini thingies. That doesn't stop 'em from tasting amazing and getting you a bit stupid. I won't say that Trudy's has the best Mexican Martinis in Austin, but they come damned close. That they do, lassie... damned close indeed. If you show up before 7pm, you get happy hour specials to go with 'em.

Avocado What? Flaquities what?: Yes, you can order food at the bar. If you just want an appetizer, then order the veggie flaquities. No, seriously, even if you're not a veggie person, these are the bomb diggie. Some of my favorite carnivores straight up hate veggies, and they'll still order the veggie flaquities whenever we go here. They're from the same family as "The South-Western Eggroll", except that they are the apotheosis--the omega--of this recipe. If you're even more hungry, then order the stuffed avocado with suiza sauce. Trudy's is famous for this recipe... 'n with good reason. I send photos of stuffed avocados to friends outside of the city just to torture them. I'm good peeps. However, this comes with a warning: If you're just visiting Austin, then you may wake up in a cold sweat here in a few months with a craving for stuffed avocado and with no way to fill the emptiness that burns in the heart of your being.

Tell Me a Story: You're going to find that Austin is populated heavily by imports. I'm an import. Imports weren't born here, but made the mistake of visiting the place. I stopped counting how many times I lived here once I went into double-digits. You're also going to find a high population of travelers here. When striking up conversation in the smoking bar at Trudy's, don't be surprised if you end up spending hours upon hours swapping travel stories. You'll also get many great tips on what to check out in the city. But, again, don't forget the time. If you're leaving by bus, don't get left behind. It's easy to lose track of time in this city. That goes double when you're caught up in conversation.

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