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One of Austin’s best-kept secrets is The Little Longhorn Saloon, previously known as Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon. For over 40 years, this tiny dive bar has hosted some of Austin’s best live music, featuring honky-tonk country, folk, rockabilly, and good ol’ rock and roll. More than 10 bands play the venue per week, with over 600 bands in a year, and on Sundays, the bar hosts one of Austin’s weirdest weekly events: Chicken Shit Bingo.
Chicken Shit Bingo started when a local musician approached the bar’s previous owners, Don and Ginny, with an idea he brought back from California. There, he had seen cow shit bingo, but he suggested using chickens instead. Ginny’s famous response was: “It’s never gonna last.” Today, the 25-year tradition would suggest otherwise.
The current owner, Terry Gaona, was keen to carry on the custom: “Chicken Shit Bingo is part of the nostalgia and history of the bar. We kept all the old traditions, plus added a few of our own.” The bar now serves a large assortment of wines and champagnes, plus 80 different types of beer other than drafts. And in keeping with the times, the saloon now accepts credit cards—not just cash.
Terry’s favorite part of the game is the excitement of the crowd, especially the children: “Chicken Shit Bingo is about the camaraderie and the fun—we’re all just one big, happy family.”
Between 4 pm and 8 pm, locals gather for a unique version of bingo involving chickens, chicken feed, and what chickens do after they eat. All ages are welcome to both watch and participate in this event, which you have to see to believe. For a donation of $2.00, participants purchase a ticket in line: children 13 and younger go first, and adults aged 92 and older go second.
Once all the tickets are gone, the first of four rounds begins. Each ticket corresponds to a number on the table, and if the chicken eliminates on your ticket’s number, you win a cash prize. The Chicken Shit Official tells the band the winning number, and they, in turn, announce it on stage. Winners have their photos taken, and the next round begins!
A valid I.D. is required to purchase alcohol, and you must be 21+ to drink. Sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages are also available. To really experience the dive bar like a local, pull up a bar stool and enjoy an ice-cold Lone Star beer while you watch or play along!