Over the past five years, the rise of websites like Airbnb and Austin-based Vrbo has led to a boon for short-term rentals in central Texas.
While it’s not clear exactly how many there are in Austin, figures released in July 2019 estimate that there are over 10,000 operating in the city (although only 2,500 are actually licensed). While the lack of tax revenue is certainly a consequence, these reports also highlight how profitable Airbnbs have become in the capital, which, apart from last year, attracts over 30 million domestic tourists each year. .
At the heart of this burgeoning industry is one of the most distinct and unusual rituals – the bachelor party. Like its sister cities (think Nashville and New Orleans), Austin has become a de facto destination for men looking to spend a long weekend eating, drinking, and swimming with two of their most trusted friends. loved ones… and seven other guys they don’t like. really know. And thanks to the Airbnb which is next to my house in the Holly neighborhood of East Austin, I got a front row seat for these groups coming out of lockdown.
For months, I have noted their behaviors, their eating and drinking habits, when they are resting and playing. I heard more drunken conversations and exchanged more embarrassing looks the next morning than I would like to admit. Through it all, I observed a reliable pattern of these interactions that aids in reconstructing a typical Austin bachelor party itinerary.
THURSDAY, 4 p.m. The group arrive dressed in company-branded polo shirts and slightly loose pants, indicative of their foreign status.
THURSDAY, 5:11 p.m. Scouts are sent to get supplies, namely Bud Light, White Claws and tequila. These guys are usually related to the groom – a brother and cousin, maybe – basically anyone who feels pressured to pay for stuff. They return home with precarious packs of 30 perched on the handlebars of their electric scooters. After indulging in a third-level barbecue, the group retreats to the Airbnb pool, drink in hand. They won’t go out tonight, no. It’s a night to bond.
FRIDAY, 10:42 a.m. Polo shirts have been replaced by casual bachelor party outfits: cargo shorts, rainbow thongs, and LeBron-era Cavaliers t-shirts. They go down to Cesar Chavez Street to find coffee and pastries. College friends (the groom’s favorite) lead the group, followed by high school pals. This guy from work, the cousin and the brother-in-law bring up the rear in awkward silence.
FRIDAY, 7:15 p.m. Many poolside claws have been consumed and the boys are looking forward to a night on the town. After dinner at La Condesa (it’s still La Condesa), they meet on Sixth Street. Fireball shots are taken, words are scrambled and the chorus of “Don’t Stop Believin ‘” is sung over and over.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON. Two brave souls walk out of the house on Saturday morning, sunglasses and baseball caps down. The rest are knocked out until noon, when they muster their strength for an invigorating afternoon dip in Barton Springs. After being arrested for smuggling a few cold towels down the South Hill, college friends leave the tiny white bath towels they brought from the Airbnb. Now their target is this group of women who all wear black swimsuits except for the bride-to-be, who insisted on a white bikini. Playful jokes and Instagram handles are exchanged, triggering this almost cosmic collision of stag and hen stag parties destined for later that night.
SATURDAY, 10 p.m. The gang have woken up after a series of naps and are ready to celebrate the best of the live music capital of the world. This is sixth street! TO The Jackalope, the parts of the crowd; in the walks a group wearing the same shade of bright pink. The ladies have arrived. Actually, sorry, bad bachelorette party. The they are. A few hours later, the last call is announced. Nine of the 10 men return home on a fleet of scooters.
SUNDAY, 11:11 a.m. Injured, but determined to have one last meal together, they pound the pavement to their final destination: Rainey Street. Sitting at Banger, they are joined by their missing tenth member. A few links of sausage and mugs of electric jellyfish later, it’s time to reach the airport. Before parting ways for their respective doors, they say goodbye to each other. They all agree it was the best weekend they’ve ever had, although only the brother thinks so.
While it’s easy to poke fun at their predictability, the presence of these groups is symbolic of a city that has become a playground for so many Americans. After the economic lows of last year, this type of watch business is at least something. The boys are coming back. Apparently, Austin too.