By Kelsey Maxfield:
Video By Briana Trevino
Article by Sarah Sanchez
San Marcos, Tx – Sixth Street, or “Dirty Sixth” as some might call it, is known worldwide as Austin’s nightlife strip where people from all over come to drink, be merry, and contribute to the “Keep Austin Weird” mantra. However, just only 30 minutes away in downtown San Marcos, “The Square” attracts a crowd in its own unique, comforting way.
“The Square” is the makeup of bars and clubs that circle around the Hays County Courthouse in, yes, a square. Texas State University students makeup most of the traffic, making it easy for students to see fellow classmates or people they may know.
Daniela Vasquez and Mercedes Johnson are both students at Texas State and agree that while Sixth Street has its historic reputations and nightlife perks, the Square has a different environment that makes them feel more comfortable.
“The people here are our age,” Johnson said. “Sixth Street you’re more likely to run into creepy people.”
Vasquez agreed, saying that, for example, she’d never give her number to a person at Sixth Street because people come from all over and you never know who you may be giving your number to. However, at the Square, many of the people are students at Texas State so she knows they’re probably the same age as her.
Johnson also mentioned how layout of the two is a big factor as well, saying how the Square’s setup of the bars is a lot more convenient.
“You can walk from all of them in a circle compared to walking down a strip which can be overwhelming with all of the people,” she said.
Sixth Street attracts thousands of people every weekend, causing large crowds and packed bars that can be hard to control. While the city does block off the road on Sixth for safety purposes, there are still many reasons for people to be concerned when it comes to staying safe. In a March article posted by the Austin American Statesman, it talks about how a stampede broke out on at around 1:30 a.m. on Sixth Street, luckily not injuring anyone.
Phillip Oser works at a bar called Veranda on the Square, and says that he believes the level of safety is a big factor in what sets Sixth Street and the Square apart. He says that while the Square can attract a bunch of people from out of town, it is made up of more locals and that it almost has a “family oriented” feel to it. He also mentions that it’s a lot harder for underage people to get into bars on the Square, and that a many of the bouncers and bartenders know each other, making it easier to keep tabs on what’s going on.
“We all know each other,” Oser said. “We have a big Square GroupMe between people that all work on the Square, so if something happens, we let the bars around us know.”
Overall, while Sixth Street is known famously for it’s crazy crowds and many bars, turning 21 in San Marcos and “squaring” for the first time is almost like a rite of passage for many of these students. With the level of safety and comforting appeal that the Square brings, it’s easy to see why people could feel more at ease.