Oct 3, 2022 - News

Tower slated for long-ago site of beloved Austin cafe

The exterior of Les Amis

Exterior of Les Amis in March 1971. Photo: PICA-08569, Austin History Center/Austin Public Library; Photographer unknown

The former site of a cherished West Campus cafe may be razed and replaced with a tower.

Driving the news: Student housing firm LV Collective has filed documents with the city to build a 30-story project on the site, today recognizable for its French Quarter-style wrought-iron wraparound balcony, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Why it matters: The site at 504 W. 24th St., just a block from the University of Texas, is currently occupied by a Starbucks and a Smoothie King — but once was home to Les Amis, a popular gathering spot for musicians and students, and Inner Sanctum Records, regarded as one of the first indie record shops in Texas.

  • Musician Roky Erickson and members of the band the Butthole Surfers were among Les Amis' many regulars — and scenes from Richard Linklater's 1990 film "Slacker" were shot there.
  • Prefiguring a wave of change in Austin, the cafe and the record shop, facing rent increases, closed in 1997.
  • Les Amis was the subject of a 2005 documentary.

The bottom line: A spokesperson for LV Collective told the Statesman that it is "too premature to share further details or comment further right now."

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