A true Austin original, Ego’s bar is located in the middle of a parking garage. The windowless space has sometimes been compared to the Regal Beagle Lounge from Three’s Company. The vinyl chairs are all on wheels, and the tables are also easily moveable, creating a general sense of light-hearted chaos. Christmas lights are strung haphazardly around the bar, adding to the festive vibe.
Once the home of poetry slams and up-and-coming bands, Ego’s has survived the dubious transition into a karaoke bar with most of its funkiness intact. It probably helps that the drinks are still strong and cheap. Check the chalkboard for nightly drink specials (some with very non-PC names). This is not a place to take yourself -- or anyone or anything -- too seriously. While local musicians are still cursing Ego’s for doing away with live music, business seems to be better than ever.
Karaoke singers will find a friendly crowd that only occasionally gets a little rowdy. Though the dance floor is small, it’s usually packed with enthusiastic booty shakers. A huge number of songs are available on the karaoke system. If you can remember it, they probably have it. On weekends, you may have to wait up to two hours to get your shot at the spotlight.
Two pool tables in the back provide another option for non-singers. But if you want to escape the karaoke, forget it. The place is small.
Tuesday night is trivia night, which attracts a slightly nerdier crowd. Tequila shots are replaced with beers, and the whole place seems to mellow out a bit. Witty trivia hosts keep the competitions fun and fast moving. Be warned, though: The trivia questions at Ego’s might be a little more challenging than you expected.
The staff is extra friendly, but they do cater to their regulars, so don’t be surprised if you’re overlooked once or twice when it gets busy. Some of the regulars are downright elderly, so it’s fun to watch them mingle with the hipsters and the bros. I think the presence of older folks may actually help keep the mayhem to a minimum. Plus, day drinkers can get their buzz started here at 11 a.m.
Yep, as you might expect, the facilities are small and often not clean. Plan ahead, if possible.
Make sure you park in designated spots only. You will be towed if you park in one of the spaces marked for residents of the nearby apartments. Those who’ve been towed report that their cars ended up way over in east Austin, and it cost more than $100 to get the car liberated.
510 South Congress Avenue / (512) 474-7091