Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
When you stroll into Lala's your not just entering any holiday season, you are entering the holiday season of the early 1970's. Lala's Little Nugget is an institution, a shrine, and a throwback to the bygone days of Austin's youthful rise to prominence. Any first time visitor is certain to notice that it's always Christmas time at Lala's. The decorations include amongst other oddities a flamingo bedazzled in christmas lights. The decorations are a perfect cocktail of garish, eccentric, and consoling in their down home Austin strangeness. It has been told many times in many ways, but the official story goes that Frances Lala opened her namesake bar in October of 1974. Since Christmas was around the corner Frances decided to deck out her new bar in Christmas lights. Well Christmas came and went but the decorations stayed in place. The stories about why the lights stayed up vary from sweet to morbid and the fact that everyone has a different one is a part of Lala's mythic charm.
There was a panic among longtime Austonian's in 2015 when Lala sold her local landmark to FBR management. Thankfully other than a few tiny upgrades to the menu nothing has really changed. They have assured Lala's faithful clientele that the goal is to keep the bar as authentically Austin as possible. At Lala's, the regulars are friendly and the bartenders have heavy hands. If you are feeling in an especially festive you can order a Peppermint Hot Chocolate or a Grandma's Secret Nog and get buzzed with the Christmas spirit. Lala's also includes several rotating local tap beers and a full cocktail list. Then of course there is the dive bar classic order, a shot and a beer. In this case a Tito's and Shiner Bock is delicious, no fuss, and about as Austin as it gets.
The jukebox is a classic and is stocked with all the best Christmas hits of the 50's and 60's. Want to hear Elvis or Connie Francis belt out Christmas classics while you play a game of pool? Well Lala's is the place for that. In a time where Austin is exploding with glass skyscrapers full of tech startups, and hip multilevel condo complexes are sprouting up like weeds, Lala's Little Nugget is proof that old weird Austin is still alive and kicking.
Cover Photo by Lauren Everett via Flickr