Donn's Depot Austin Reviews
A true joint, in the good sense of the word Apr 30, 2011
This place was constructed of an old depot, railway cars joined together (there are gaps in some walls, down at floor level, that you don't want to drop your purse through), with a ladies room that is an Austin legend: An old Pullman car, in red plush with, among other amenities, a burlesque house brass pole.
The whole place is covered with railroad memorabilia, not ordered from a shop but collected by Donn over the decades. Donn himself -- who must be in his 70's, maybe past 80 -- plays or leads a music group two nights a week, Chris Gage is beautiful at the piano on Mondays (real baby grand, not an electronic keyboard).
The dance floor is a bit small -- maybe a dozen couples, if they cooperate -- but wood and well maintained. (I've run into too many places where spillage on the dance floor was allowed to build . . .) On Mondays, you'll almost have it to yourselves. There is a "space" buried between a few tables in one of the joined cars that often holds overflow dancers, floor isn't as nice but it'll do in a pinch.
The regular crowd, there most nights, is a senior citizen's version of "Cheers", where everbody knows your name. But they take up maybe 15% of the capacity. Last Monday I was there, there were two parties of 20-somethings as well as the regulars (and my and my date, somewhere in between) and, on Friday and Saturday, the place is jumping, all ages present, feel free to ask anybody seated -- of any age -- to dance. Watch in particular for Saturday's Albert & Gage (the same Chris Gage that plays such wonderful piano on Mondays) and Nash Hernandez' Big Band.
Yep, after your second visit, the barmaid will know what you drink, my vodka tonic is $4, delivered. (On Mondays, she's also the sole bartender, so help her out, order at the bar.)
Small cover -- varies from $3, to $6 when the Big Band is there -- on Friday and Saturday, free on other nights.
I can't believe this is the first review. Guess the locals want to keep it a secret.
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