an exploration of urban identity in the middle of Texas
If you look carefully you can still find a few remaining dingy, dark, loud and smokey Cantina type bars catering to a mostly Mexican and Central American crowd. These cantinas are moving more towards the outer edges of Austin but there was a time when this was the predominant type of bar along East 6th Street and East Cesar Chavez.
The clientele, mostly Mexican and Central American, are often the people building the fancy new remodels and condos covering this city and working behind the scenes at the bars, restaurants and hotels. Inside the walls of these cantinas they encounter a sanctuary where they can act without worry of the cultural confusion and discrimination they often encounter outside.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many bars left like this in central Austin but you can still find a couple. These images are of the few still around and attempt to represent the feeling of sanctuary and community.
John Pike is a documentary and fine art photographer. Over the last ten years his work has been focused towards Mexico and Central America. He is currently living and launching future projects from his hometown of Austin, Texas. His Instagram can be found here while his website is pike.photo.