Cheap Eats: Skylark Lounge

Live music, drinks, and pizza

Photo by John Anderson

Once upon a time, during the longest dry spell of my life, a friend gave me some great advice about dating. She told me not to take it seriously. That you could just go on good dates and go on bad dates, and that really, it didn't have to be much more complicated than that. A bad date was just a bad date, not an indication from God that you'll be single forever. Obviously, everyone is familiar with dating fails, and sometimes even the most exciting prospects end up in disappointment. But at Skylark Lounge, disappointment in your date won't even matter because you'll be having so much fun. No matter what you like the most; drinking, eating or seeing live music, Skylark Lounge has it in spades, making for an unforgettable night and a new place you'll want to return to again and again, regardless of if you're flying solo or out on the town with your new flame. At Skylark you can forget disappointment and say hello to enjoyment.

Cheap Eats Case File 005: Skylark Lounge

A former car garage turned dive bar, Skylark Lounge is located just off Airport Boulevard, just south of MLK. Skylark isn't about the "beautiful young people" that many Downtown bars cater to. Rather, Skylark Lounge is about coming together as a community, young and old, and enjoying the good things in life: live music, drinks, and pizza.

The Meal: Skylark offers six different kinds of pizza, as well as the option to make your own. There are two sizes available; most of the smalls go for $11.25 and larges are $17.25. We went for a small "Girlfriend" pizza (oh, the irony). Featuring garlic, spinach, asparagus, and fresh mozzarella, the pizza had both the enviable gooeyness of a fast-food pizza, but with high-quality ingredients and a just-made crust (you can literally see them whipping up pizza dough in a huge orange mixer in the back). The small pizza is just enough food for two people, and is especially delicious paired with Lone Stars ($3) and maybe a round of shots. Skylark has various drink deals throughout the week, including $4 well tequila on Saturday night and $3 screwdrivers and mimosas on Sundays.

The Atmosphere: I enjoyed Skylark so much that I went on Saturday and then back on Sunday. On both nights the crowd, music, and service made for a simultaneously busy and chill environment. This is the kind of place to bring out-of-towners who want to get the Austin experience beyond South Congress, as well as your hipster friends and maybe even your mom. Skylark Lounge wins you over with sheer heart, something that most clubs lack. The diverse clientele, the range of ages, and the variety of fabulous outfits makes Skylark one of a kind, a good thing if you are looking to make your first date memorable. The staff at Skylark are truly some of the sweetest I've encountered anywhere, from the bartenders, to the guy in the back who makes the pizza, to the parking lot attendant, who cheerily told us to come back. I can't think of a restaurant or bar where I've been made more comfortable or been more personally welcomed.

The Verdict: The best thing about coming here is that it feels like you can participate in some small part of the old-school Texas music tradition. Not only is it a neighborhood hot spot where people of all stripes can rub shoulders, it is clearly a real community in the way that makes Austin feel like a small town, instead of one of the fastest-growing cities in America. The food is cheap, hot, and filling, and the drinks are solid and reasonably priced. Be sure not to miss Soul Man Sam's amazing and groovy band on Sunday nights.

The Skylark Lounge

2039 Airport, 512/730-0759
Sun.-Thu., 5pm-12mid; Fri.-Sat., 5pm-1am

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