Austin Rocks: Sunset at The Oasis on Lake Travis

Sunset as seen from The Oasis on Lake Travis in Austin Texas (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Sunset view from a table at The Oasis on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

(Part of the Austin Rocks series of posts by a local about things to do and see in Austin, Texas)

Some things haven’t changed over the years in Austin. You take the same road – Comanche Trail – to both The Oasis on Lake Travis restaurant complex and the Hippie Hollow nude swimming area.

Follow the correct signs and you’ll be fine.

There’s a pretty spectacular view of Lake Travis from this long-time Austin bar and eatery, and it is even better now that we’re out of drought conditions and the lake is full. When drought gripped the Central Texas region last year, the lakes were at about 36% capacity, and big islands of dry land poked up above the low water.

Founder Beau Theriot bought this hillside land in 1979 – probably for a song, before Austin real estate went crazy – and then opened the Oasis in 1982. It grew and grew, adding tables for hundreds of people, and also survived a tragic fire in the summer of 2005 by using the one deck area that remained and serving food out of a trailer.

One of the many deck dining sections at The Oasis on Lake Travis in Austin TX (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

One of the many deck dining sections at The Oasis on Lake Travis (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Wooden decks are cantilevered up and down the hillside, plus there are lots of indoor tables; together they seat almost 2500 people.

How the waitstaff manage to keep all the table locations straight is a mystery to me.

One criticism I’d often heard about the Oasis was that while the view was amazing, the food was considered mediocre. That was not my experience; the smoked chicken enchiladas and charro beans were very good.

Smoked chicken enchiladas at The Oasis on Lake Travis in Austin TX (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Smoked chicken enchiladas at The Oasis on Lake Travis in Austin TX. The Fireman’s 4 in the picture is a good local beer. (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Our server Tyrone gave us the inside scoop for when to visit.

He said that weekdays are best for a sunset dinner, especially Wednesdays. Weekends are, no surprise, insane. Tyrone said that sometimes they’ve had hundreds of people waiting for a table two hours before sunset.

Although they do not take reservations, he said to call ahead if you have a big group and they will make every effort to accommodate you.

I personally would try to go in spring or fall – Austin summers are brutal, and that nice outdoor deck can become a roasting pan.

Welcome sign at The Oasis on Lake Travis in Austin Texas (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Welcome to The Oasis. Flip-flops optional. (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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