Over the past decade, the gayborhood has morphed into what’s often termed a “post-gay” neighborhood. At many LGBT-owned businesses, you’re apt to bump into plenty of straight folks as well — and vice versa. And it’s a good bet that the formerly explicitly gay neighborhoods will continue to become steadily more diverse — including the influx of the dreaded “hipster”. But if you can get beyond the sometimes precious conceits of these trendy urban districts, you’ll discover some of the best businesses and restaurants in the country.
Every day for the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at a dozen of the most dynamic and interesting post-gay neighborhoods in the United States and Canada. These aren’t necessarily the biggest or the most popular — just a good sampling of especially notable ones.
To see all the articles in this series, click here.
As with Portland, you could make the case that fast-growing Austin is one big cluster of post-gay culture, with several neighborhoods that fit the bill as mixed LGBTQ-straight enclaves of the creative class, including South Congress, Clarksville, Zilker, Hyde Park, and the area surrounded University of Texas. But the East Side — starting just across I-35 from downtown and extending for a couple of miles to Airport Boulevard — might just have the most interesting mix of both residents and hangouts.
Two (sometimes overlapping) hallmarks of Austin dining are food trucks and barbecue — on the East Side, you don’t want to miss Saigon Le Vendeur (French-Vietnamese cuisine), Chaat Shop (Indian street food), or Veracruz All Natural (Mexican) among the former. The neighborhood is also home to highly touted Franklin Barbecue, but the lines here can be daunting — John Mueller Meat Company is a good bet as well.
Lovely spots in the neighborhood for drinking and hobnobbing include Whisler’s and King Bee Lounge, which also has cool live music (another great characteristic of Austin living). Drop by Vintage Heart Coffee for some of the best espresso drinks in the neighborhood, and check out the quirky and homey Eastside Cafe for weekend brunch or affordable lunch and dinner fare at other times — it’s been a neighborhood fixture for more than two decades.
This article is one in a series about post-gayborhoods.
(Featured image via Alexander Shenkar/Flickr)