Among the very best places to take a visitor to Austin, in my mind, has to be one of the finest dive bars on the planet – Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon – in North Austin, between 45th Street and Koenig (FM 2222) on Burnet Road.
What you will find at Ginny’s, will, quite simply, rock your world. Unlike any other watering hole in the world, especially on Sundays.
Oh, the Sundays at Ginny’s. What goes on then you might ask? Well, that’d be “Chicken Sh*t Bingo.” Yes, you read that right. More on that in a second.
First of all, the place is small. Tiny. It’s, more or less, a “steeple topped shack.” The pictures below prove it. However, the place has gained a “cult-like” following. Mentioned in Esquire magazine and other media outlets as “one of the Top 10 bars in the U.S.,” Ginny’s is a relic to no end.
The atmosphere is amazing. In the parking lot, outside the bar, itself, is a scene similar to that of a Saturday in the Fall, tailgating on campus for a college football game. Lawn chairs, cold beers, flip flops, good times.
Inside, especially during Chicken Sh*t Bingo Sundays, anarchy ensues. Pure mayhem. Live music from the best in local rockabilly – most notably, the great Dale Watson – ladies and gents dancing on the postage stamp sized floor, complimentary hot dogs and chili served in the back and beer flowin’ from the bar like a raging river.
All of this while a few times throughout the afternoon, bar owner, Ginny Kalmbach, brings out the legendary hen, “Sissy,” and, oft times, some of her “man friends,” placing her/them inside a wire cage on a piece of plywood covering the pool table, marked up as a typical bingo board. It’s upon these bingo squares where you place your bet. A couple of bucks per ticket for your chance to wager onto which plot of plywood Sissy, and possibly her friends, might offer forth the goodness that brings home the whole pot of cash for the lucky winner.
Yes, this might seem childish and silly to the outsider, but I say, like hell it is! A trip to Ginny’s any day of the week is like a step back in time, but get there on a Sunday and the visit becomes that much more legendary. So, for those of you Austinites with guests coming to town to visit this Summer, you now know where to head!