“Can I have a dirty martini?” Shana asks, loudly, over the sound of the live music.
“We don’t have that,” the young, boyish looking bartender says.
She asks for another specialty cocktail, and again, he says they don’t have it.
“Can I have a Corona?” Kate asks, a bit hesitant.
“Yeah,” he answers, slightly amused. “But we only have cans.”
Is he messing with us? Shana asks if he has milk, we all laugh, and I send a telepathic message to Shana and Kate of – I’m good to leave if you are.
We selected the bar, Maggie Mae’s, because of the impressive roof deck, and accessibility to 6th Street, one of the major attractions in downtown Austin. Now, standing in our boots and little sundresses, we feel a bit foolish, as this is obviously not a bar to order cocktails at.
And we’ve clearly identified ourselves as out of towners.
“I’ll have a long island iced tea,” Shana says, as if she’s guessing the price of a showcase on The Price Is Right.
We have a winner.
The bartender starts mixing her drink, I notice, with unidentifiable, but obviously basic, liquor. I think about the stereotypical hipster bars in other cities – Fox Liquor Bar, in Raleigh, or el Camino Real, in Philadelphia and I can’t help but wonder…
…where are all the hipsters at?
I don’t remember the first time someone suggested I was “trendy”, or called me the H-word. For a long time, I didn’t even really know what a hipster was. I just knew that my fashion choices and somewhat alternative lifestyle seemed to define me as one, which is kind of funny, because up until I was a “hipster”, I was just different, and kind of strange.
I emerged out of adolescence with an eclectic, curious sense of fashion. Partially out of ignorance – I never really understood trends. I certainly knew what I liked and didn’t like.
In high school, when everyone else was wearing Abercrombie and Fitch, I was wearing my Aunt’s old polo shirts and old tees. I liked the look of classic, simple pieces, and my parents refused to bankroll $100+ pairs of jeans and sweatshirts. At times, I wished they would, but now, I’m glad they didn’t, because it forced me to create an identity outside of everyone else.
An identity of – “take me or leave me, I don’t care.”
That’s the true identity of Austin, TX.
Visiting Austin is like visiting the first Starbucks. It’s the original – not a duplication. The cool, laid-back styles and attitudes have just filtered down to other cities, seen in a growing amount of ironically named restaurants, handlebar mustaches, and not really vintage t-shirts. People swarm there for the climate, and yes, the music scene, but mostly, for an idea of what it is.
So what is Austin, exactly?
It’s a place that isn’t trying to impress anyone. It’s not trying to be cool, modern or sleek, it’s just trying to authentic…and not in an ironic way. The unique community of cowboys, filmmakers, environmentalists and artists who live there don’t want people to move to Austin to confirm their status as a “progressive”, “independent thinking” individual (hipster, as defined by Urban Dictionary).
They don’t care about status. Everyone there is just kind of doing their own thing. Besides the tall, towering skyscrapers are honky-tonk bars that don’t serve cocktails. There’s an abundance of dog-friendly parks, bright, yet sloppily painted bungalows, and UT students just trying to get to class on time.
You don’t go to Austin to make it. It’s clear, even after just a few days there, you go to Austin to live. As a stoner, a lawyer, a bartender or actress – whatever you are, Austin is the place to be it. Or not. They don’t really care.
Austin isn’t a haven for hipsters – it’s a haven for the authentic, forward thinking people of the world that know who they are, and just don’t give a fuck about what you think.