East Sixth Street is not a place I frequent often – too dirty, too wild and too young for my taste. But I know the city has been trying to revitalize this area in recent years – Sixth Street is after all what Austin is known for. I’m happy to report that a great new addition has just opened up on this iconic street and I think it’s exactly what this area needs.
The place is Easy Tiger Bake Shop and Beer Garden. When I first heard the name, I thought “Mmm…beer and baked goods?? That’s an interesting combination.” Interesting combinations usually get my attention, so of course I had to see it for myself. It is located on the south side of east 6th, just west of I-35. The store front is very inviting and classy, something this street desperately needs (they don’t call it “dirty six” for nothing). When you walk in, you are immediately greeted by friendly staff and an array of baked goods on display. Behind the glass wall, you can see the bakers hard at work – like little elves! This is a great place to order a coffee and pastry to go.
However, take a look to your right and you see a brightly lit arrow, beckoning you down a staircase to where the real action is. Down here in the basement is the beer garden part of the equation – a tavern surrounded by painted brick walls with one very long bench seat along the perimeter of the space and plenty of wooden tables/chairs. You could fit a lot of people down here. There is also an outdoor patio that steps out to Waller Creek. The much neglected Waller Creek, which begins at the UT campus and meanders its way through downtown, is about to get a serious facelift through an exciting revitalization project that is just in the beginning stages, with the goal of turning what equates to 20 city blocks into a useable, urban green space. After this project is complete, Easy Tiger will be on prime real estate. If you are at all interested in this huge undertaking, you can read about it here.
They have a great selection of beers on draft, as well as a few wines. This is a great place to hide away with a few (or many) friends to put back a few cold ones – it has the charm of an old tavern that has been here for years. Most likely you will have worked up an appetite by now. No worries, Easy Tiger has that covered – as in awesome sausage made in-house. I tried the sausage of the day, which was made of lamb. And it was awesome. I ordered it as a sandwich and it came on this fantastic baguette that was a cross between a soft pretzel and french bread. Really good folks. I also tried their homemade beer cheese with a pretzel – pretty tasty.
My impression of Easy Tiger? I like it. It’s comfortable, it has a fun atmosphere, its good for an intimate one-on-one date and it can also handle a large gathering. The food menu is not extensive – basically if you don’t like bread, cheese or sausage, you’re out of luck (however, make note that they do serve vegetarian sausage). I did not see any evidence of a happy hour, but the place has only been open 4 weeks, so that could change. As far as I can tell, Easy Tiger gets the “bake shop” part right and with the “beer garden” part, you can’t go wrong.