Cheer Up Charlie’s, the iconic but no-longer-Eastside venue, now occupies a significant spot of Austin LGBTQ history.
Originally a tiny trailer on the then vacant corner of Waller & E. Sixth, Cheer Up Charlie’s has since become an important hub for Austin’s queer and creative community. When proprietor Tamara Hoover then moved across the yard and took over the dive bar from which she’d been renting the trailer space, she didn’t know what to expect. “It was a gamble, but we had nothing to lose,” said Hoover.
Once the club established itself as a venue, it had the early indications of runaway success. Hoover’s strong sense of curating, booking, and allowing lots of time and space to grow her wild plate of indie mish-mash resulted in a diversity of audiences that grew along with her connections to bands, artists, DJs, performance artists, and community groups. When partner Maggie Lea entered the picture, she brought along equally strong curating skills, deep knowledge of indie film and filmmakers, and her own keen sense of social networking. Add to all that the space itself, sprinkled with astroturf loungers and capped with a carpet-besampled stage, and the array of Best of Austin awards earned through the years make total sense.