Austin's beard scene proves stronger than ever
Beards in Austin are wonderfully typical, a fact that makes the Austin Facial Hair Club president very proud.
If you’re pogonophobic, fearing beards, then Austin’s not the city for you.
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We love our beards here. It only takes a five-minute walk down east Sixth Street to see that. And perhaps no one knows and appreciates the Austin beard scene as much as Bryan Nelson, president of the Austin Facial Hair Club (AFHC).
Nelson, who moved here in 1993 from Houston and was one of the stars on IFC’s “Whisker Wars,” has nothing but good things to say about Austin’s beard scene—and he’s seen beards all over the country as he’s traveled for beard competitions with AFHC.
“I think Austin has a strong beard culture,” Nelson said. “You can go into a fine dining restaurant with jeans and a t-shirt and a beard and it’s no big deal. Austin is so casual and accepting.”
A lot of local companies, food joints (like Whole Foods Market) and bars in Austin let employees have facial hair, which is not the case in many other cities. You may have seen a sticker or shirt that read “Keep Austin Beard,” which is of course a spinoff of “Keep Austin Weird” and a testament to Austin’s overall stance on beards. We refuse to shave and no one seems to be asking us to.
As far as the most bearded areas of Austin, Nelson lists east Austin and south Austin, though the only places in Austin he feels are more beardless are the Dallas-y areas (such as in north Austin).
Nelson speaks enthusiastically about beards, encouraging all able men to grow one, since, according to him, shaving “covers up how you really look if stranded on a desert island.” His face especially lights up when he’s asked about a totally bearded Austin.
“That sounds great,” Nelson said. “The thought makes me feel really good.”