Is there any doubt that Austin and Central Texan Formula One race fans rock? We don't think so! In response to our fans and friends wanting to gather in downtown Austin and watch the races, we've been trying out different venues: Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill on South Congress, Icenhauer's on Rainey Street, Fado Irish Pub near 6th Street and now, Six Lounge, also blocks away from 6th Street. Each venue has offered something different while welcoming our fans and friends a comfortable place to mingle while watching the races.
Doc's had spectacular service and great food in a motorworks theme; it was formerly a filling station, but now it houses one of the best eateries and patios on the famous South Congress Avenue. Doc's served as our first meetup spot on August 20, 2011, after the Red Bull Racing F1 Show Car filming on Congress Avenue. Most of us were still giddy with excitement after being feet away from an F1 car just moments ago, and that energy continued as we met other fans over the course of a hot Saturday afternoon! Thank goodness Doc's kept us cool with cool drinks and even cooler A/C.
The next day, we hosted the first Downtown Austin MotoGP and F1 watch party at Icenhauer's. Icenhauer's is located in the up and coming Rainey Street district - a small but vibrant street with a collection of renovated homes. Icenhauer's was an intimate and cozy setting with the freedom to mingle on the couch in conversation, as if you were at a friend's house. They serve original, refreshing cocktails and we are looking forward to gathering around their outdoor fire pit once the temperatures drop.
After a long F1 break, which was unfortunately met with raging fires across Central Texas, we were welcomed at Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant on September 11 and magically transported to the familiar and collegiate feel of an Irish Pub, complete with Irish fare. Albeit short notice, Fado graciously opened their doors to us to watch the Italian Grand Prix and host a food drive for Capital Area Food Bank of Central Texas (a separate recap in itself). Fado is located in the Warehouse district of Austin, has many comfortable nooks & crannies that you'd expect to find in a pub in Ireland, and always has plenty of Guiness on hand.
Unfortunately my phone jumped out of my pocket while leaving Austin City Limits music festival the following weekend, so I don't have any pictures of our gathering at Fado :( Here is a photo taken by a band on stage:
On September 25, we gathered at Six Lounge for our largest watch party to date. We had good reason to believe that Red Bull would be in the house, especially since Sebastian Vettel had a chance to cinch the 2011 Formula One championship at the Singapore Grand Prix that day. Due to a few logistical kinks, neither of those quite took place (very close!), but that didn't stop us in Austin. With food provided from Chinatown and drinks flowing from the friendly bartenders, guests were able to sprawl out in the over-sized booths below two giant projection screens or mingle with friends in a mezzanine section, with perfect view of the Singapore GP broadcast. Robert DeGroff brought his racing simulator and everyone was welcome to try it out! He's made even more improvements since Kevin took a stab at it at the final 2010 watch party.
Here's a view of the setup at Six Lounge. You can check out more photos in the Gallery.
One of the most encouraging factors in Sunday's success was that about 75% of the guests were new to Austin watch parties! Over the course of our four hours there, we spoke to fans from Dallas, Georgetown, San Antonio, Houston and even San Francisco. Peter Habicht, organizer of the largest American and US-based Formula 1 fans in the US, the San Francisco Formula 1 Group, was in town. He had a fantastic visit to Austin and you can read about it here.
We are excited and encouraged by the ongoing support and increasing turnout at the downtown Austin watch parties! Thank you for helping us grow the motorsport community in preparation for November 2012. We're planning the next party for the Japanese GP on Sunday, October 9. We'll continue to create Event Invitations on our Facebook page and will also post regularly about them here on our website.
If you have photos of the event, suggestions, questions or concerns, please submit them here.
We hope to see you on Sunday, October 9!