Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's like this speck of subculture, off a busy Burnet Road in the heart of central Austin.

The self-proclaimed "honkiest, tonkiest beer joint in town."

If you've driven past, you've seen the steeple. But what's inside... well, I wouldn't call it holy.

Through an old orange door, a wall-mount AC unit held together with duct-tape chugs. Yellowed pictures peel from the wall and hot dogs boil in a corner crockpot atop a card table. Free for those who show up on a Sunday afternoon. Tubs of chili and grated cheese. A stack of paper napkins.

People from all walks line the long bar that Ginny still mans. It is her namesake, after all. Ginny's Little Longhorn.

A genuine jukebox advertises Willie... George... Jimmy. Handwritten placards, housed together in loopy scrawl. Trapped behind dusty glass as the band sets up in the back.

Regulars say it's the two dollar Lone Star and live music.

"Have you seen the inside? The dance floor's about the size of a postage stamp."

But the growing crowd isn't piling in for cheap longnecks.

They're lining up for the winning ticket.

Out back, tucked past a pair of vintage Chevy pickups - the main attraction. In a chicken wire cage.

Ginny herself plucks Penny, the hen, from the coop and escorts her across the tiny parking lot, where the party has spilled outside. A grand procession for a one-in-fifty-seven shot atop a plywood-covered pool table.

Patrons clutch their numbered squares... the first few chords of a steel guitar wail... and off she goes. 

Pecking at feed on 17. Pausing at 9. Shuffling between the corner of 43 and 44.

The crowd gets louder and so does the band. 

Until Penny settles on 2... scratches... and squats. 

Bingo. Of the chicken shit variety. 

The jackpot? One hundred fourteen bucks. 

"If you win… it’s real nice if you buy everybody a beer." 

Longtime friend Rocky Slay doesn't play much anymore. He comes for the hot dogs. And the spectacle. ("Old cars, motorcycles, tattoos and piercings. Bizarre people.")

But one thing he's learned... "You cannot make chicken salad out of chicken shit. I've tried for years." 

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