Daily Texan: Hole in the Wall back without fuss
Austinites celebrate the reopening of the widely missed music joint
Chen/Daily Texan Staff
Patrons throw back a few drinks Saturday night at the Hole in
the Wall bar. The newly reopened bar features pool tables, shuffleboard,
homemade barbecue and restroom walls decorated with the musings
of former patrons.
By Lauren Charlip (Daily Texan Staff) June 01, 2003
With no fanfare at all, the Hole in the Wall ‹ an Austin live music
institution for 28 years ‹ reopened its doors in mid-May, after
shutting down for almost a year.
"That Friday we realized we had our liquor license, we realized
our inspections were done, and we had our permit from the city,
and we were like 'Whoah, we're ready,' " new owner Clay McLaughlin
The bartenders began to pour drinks, and people drifted in as the
word spread that night. "We had a pretty big crowd," McLaughlin
Last June, the Hole in the Wall closed its doors when the property
went up for sale and the previous bar owner, who had leased the
building, was unable to gather the funds to purchase it. McLauglin
and his sister Annie, who own Austin's Pizza, along with partner
James Cashiola, finalized their purchase of the building in April.
The laissez-faire attitude that characterized opening night reflects
McLaughlin's new business plan for the venue.
"We're letting it roll. We're letting the Hole in the Wall be the
Hole in the Wall. We're across the street from the largest campus
in the country. We shouldn't have a problem selling America's last
With little press attention, and no advertising, word has gotten
around Austin that this celebrated venue is back, and people are
expressing their relief over pitchers of Lone Star.
Buck Vogas, in town for the Republic of Texas biker rally last
weekend, made a special trip to the Hole in the Wall. He remembers
his days as a regular in the late '70s. "I drank a lot of beer and
ate a lot of burgers here," he said. "I remembered the chicken fried
steak sandwich. That's what I came in for today."
Indeed, the Hole in the Wall remains largely unchanged. The interior
looks as gritty, dark and party-scarred as ever.
Noteworthy are the rolls of paper towels on each of the tables,
accessories to the new barbecue menu. The new kitchen is a big,
black trailer in the side alley, where owner Cashiola, one-half
of world champion barbecue team Texas Original Cookers, houses his
This Thursday will see the return of live music to a place many
Austinites believe epitomizes the style and spirit of the local
live music scene. According to general manager Matt Allen, a nine-day
30th anniversary bash is in the works for the second week of June.
The Hole in the Wall has hosted over 10,000 acts over the years,
including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Doug Sahm, Lucinda Williams, Patty
Griffin and Fastball.
The Hole in the Wall has long been popular with the Drag community.
"The Hole in the Wall was like the KLRU cafeteria," said Emily Joyce,
an assistant producer at the Austin City Limits studio across the
Though the kinks in the new operation still have to be worked out,
the future looks promising for the Hole in the Wall. "It's probably
good for the building that it was closed for a little while. It
gave it a little rest," McLauglin said. Here's to more wear and
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