Pass: The Hole Truth: June 14, 2002 by Andy Langer
Rombach remembers the first time she stepped foot in the Hole In
The Wall. It was the bar's opening day, June 15, 1974. Today, she
owns the legendary Guadalupe music venue. But back then she was
merely an incoming University of Texas freshman in Austin for dorm
"There were some friends of mine over there with
me who said there was a new bar opening across the parking lot,"
Rombach said. "They had quarter shots of tequila and five or ten
cent draft beers. It was like 'What do you want to do, go to the
dorm thing or across to the bar?' We went to the bar."
After three years dedicated mostly to studying,
Rombach returned to the Hole In The Wall for extra cash moving
from waitress to bartender, from office manager to booking agent,
and three years ago, to owner. She believes each title has given
her unique perspective on what's become a benchmark of 'Old Austin'
as both a sports bar and live music venue. Debbie Rombach
To Rombach, its primary appeal is that it's always
been more than a college bar. And indeed, a look at the regulars
reveals both young and old- many who might have never met any other
"They come in, hear somebody mouthing off about
a sports team and they say something back," Rombach said. "And the
next thing you know they're sucked in. And then they go 'Oh wow!
A band I like is playing tonight too.' The next thing they know
they've been here for ten hours and they're not leaving the rest
of their life."
Rombach jokes about the Hole's longstanding reputation
as a 'Black Hole' for time and money. But she says that the rewards
for her dedication to long hours and late nights have been simple.
"The reward is when I have a night when people
come up to say 'Thank you. We had such a great night. We loved the
bands,'" Rombach said. "When somebody comes up to thank you for
being there it makes me happy."
Sadness may well be the month's primary emotion.
The Hole In The Wall will likely close its doors June 30. Rombach
says she's a victim of Austin's latest real estate frenzy and the
marketing efforts of the city.
"It's sort of like they used my scene to sell their
city to the big businesses who ran all of us in my scene out," Rombach
said. "I keep having people walk up and go 'Where are we going to
go?' I don't know. I'm trying to figure that out too."
Should the Hole indeed close later this month,
the woman who's dedicated the bulk of her adult life to keeping
it open says she knows how it will be best remembered.
"We'll be remembered for music and people having
fun," Rombach said. "And probably for a lot of hangovers."
Upcoming: Barring a last-minute reprieve, the Hole
In The Wall plans to close June 30. And yet, the club will celebrate
it's 29th Anniversary with a party Saturday night featuring Alejandro
Escovedo, Lil' Cap'n Travis, and Mike Hall.
[ original article at http://www.news8austin.com/content/living/backstage_pass/?SecID=35&ArID=37324