AUSTIN (KXAN) — Serving up alcohol is nothing new at Zilker Park for festivals like ACL or other music events, but those permits are temporary. Now the city is looking into serving beer and wine out of a historic building that has been empty for years.
Situated right next to Barton Springs Pool, the Zilker Cafe has a great view of one of Austin’s most popular destinations.
“The current building was built in 1960 and served as a concession stand,” said Christina Bies, project coordinator for the city’s parks and recreation department. “There were a few inspections that happened back in 2015, and the building was to be found in very poor shape, so it was closed.”
Now, there are talks to bring it back and allowing beer and wine sales.
“The idea to serve beer and wine came up during a public survey that was placed about food and beverage items to be sold at the concession,” Bies said.
The plan is to allow alcohol in a small area surrounding the cafe, like a beer garden as an example. It would still be illegal to consume alcohol in other areas of the park or in Barton Springs Pool. This has raised concerns with some community members.
Desi Burke has been swimming at Barton Springs Pool for years, and she says she is not sold on the idea of alcohol being served at the cafe.
“I think we should keep this a family-friendly place,” Burke said. “I think this is going to put undue stress on lifeguards, and I think it is a matter of time before something bad can happen.”
Stefan Gaszynski says he would welcome the sales, but only if people were responsible.
“It would be nice on a hot sunny day to have a cold bottle of beer or wine, but yeah, I think if people are responsible,” Gaszynski said.
There are still a number of meetings that have to take place before it could happen, but the move could restore a once-popular place in the park.
Here are the current rules for alcohol in parks: