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Pokémon Go Takes Over Austin Restaurants and Bars

Though not really in Central Austin

Pokémon Go on South Congress
Pokémon Go on South Congress
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Pokémon mania is taking over the country with the release of the new augmented reality addiction, Pokémon Go. The mobile game uses the smartphone’s camera and GPS to encourage encourage people seek out the fantastical creatures in the real world, which includes homes, parks, and, of course, restaurants and bars.

There are special locations where users can get Pokéballs (how else do you catch a Pokémon?) and eggs (to birth new Pokémon); there are also locations acting as gyms to battle other players called PokéStops. Those spots were determined through Ingress, a previous game from parent company Niantic, using attractions and other points of interest to create the sites.

Someone already started a list of Austin restaurants and bars acting as PokéStops over on Reddit, and there’s also an extensive user-generated map of various gyms and PokéStops. These include Moontower Saloon, Alamo Drafthouse at Slaughter, Barflys, Tacodeli, and others. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any PokéStops to be found in central Austin, which includes downtown and South Austin. Update, July 13: The PokéStop deserts have been cleared and now gyms and the such can be found in Central Austin.

There are even meet-ups and parties for Pokémon Go players, including one at Torchy's Tacos on Burnet on Friday, July 15, and trainer happy hour at Craftsman on Wednesday, July 13.

Spun Ice Cream co-owner Ashley Cheng told Eater that a customer stopped by over the weekend and yelled, "I just caught a Pikachu in your shop!" and the manager was confused. Chi’lantro owner Jae Kim, whose restaurants on South Lamar and Burnet have plentiful Pokémon outside, had to tell his staff to not play the game during work hours.

Have any other Pokémon Go-related stories or even funny screencaps of the creatures in Austin restaurants and bars? Hit up the comments or send an email through the tipline.