ABOUT THE CITY: A lot of folks come through my old hometown and I wish I could throw everyone in the pick-up and blow their lips off with tasty grub. I wish I could show them where to drink and feel haunted. I do love having the chance to guide folks through this evolving city, but I live in Hollywood now. Some people don’t know that Austin is much more than bbq and music. Below is my list, after much adventuring and hitting lame blowouts and total boner spots, here are my favorite jams from a local’s perspective. Don’t waste your time anywhere else.
Lunch at Sway. Get the brisket curry, the pork bowl, the salt and pepper shrimp, and the oysters. Nap. Explore beers at the Draught House on Medical Parkway. Go get dinner at Dai Due and eat all the meat. Go boot scooting at the Broken Spoke.
See a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse and get the cookie. Go swim at Red Bud Isle and swim across Lady Bird Lake to the secret rope swing. You can also rent paddle boards and paddle for 1.5 miles to get there. Rent at the Paddle ATX. Eat lunch at The Brewer’s Table. Eat The ribs and try the freshest beers. Do an escape room downtown at The Escape Game and play the Prison Break room or The Heist room. Have dinner at Contigo and play “washers.” See a band at Stubb’s. Get a nightcap at Donn’s Depot.
Lunch - Get the oysters at Clarks. Dinner - get the burger at happy hour at Jeffery’s. Night swim from 9pm to 10pm at Barton Springs Pool for free.
WHERE TO STAY: Hotel San José, Hotel Saint Cecilia, and Hotel Heywood.
WHERE TO EAT: See Below
WHAT TO DO: See Below
DATE NIGHT RESTAURANTS
Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile - The ribs, the grits, the burger sound all clunky, but they are done so creatively and the outdoor river viewing area is wonderful to have a drink on.
Jeffrey’s - THIS IS THE BEST BURGER I’VE EVER HAD. COME FOR HAPPY HOUR. IT’S FANCY.
Hudson on the Bend (now Hudson’s Hill Country) near Lake Travis
Parkside - For happy hour
CHILL AND EXPLORE CREATIVE RESTAURANTS
Sway - Best oyster I have ever had. The pork bowl is mind altering.
Taste of Ethiopia (in Pflugerville, TX)
Home Slice Pizza
Franklin Barbecue - Go on a Tuesday or show up around 12:30pm and skip the line. They usually run out of brisket, but the ribs are also beyond excellent. Skip the sausage.
Micklethwait Craft Meats - Out of a trailer and good as hell.
Lamberts - great cocktails too. Good happy hour but can get crowded.
Kreuz Market (in Lockhart, TX) - You will feel like you are in hell, just from the amazing smoke room, where you order! Get that sausage.
Southside Market / Meyer’s - I prefer Meyer’s sausage, but I like Southside’s chicken. Turkey is great too. Get that sausage and skip the brisket. Nothing beats Franklin though.
City Market (in Luling, TX) - Down home BBQ.
Taylor Cafe (in Taylor, TX) - What a dive! I love this place. This is real Texas.
SEAFOOD (MOSTLY OYSTERS AND SUSHI)
Don’t go anywhere else for sushi besides these three places. Trust me.
Uchi - Sushi
Uchiko - Sushi
Komé - Sushi. A good, cheaper option I’d hit up for lunch, but it pales compared to the other two.
Perla’s - Oysters and seafood. Cool patio.
Clark’s - Oysters. Pricey and excellent.
Rio Rita - Real simple drinks in a super relaxed location. I like the spicy knees. I used to come here to read when it rained.
Ah Sing Den - It’s so damn gorgeous in here! The drinks! They care about their drinks!
Weather up - Best patio drinking.
HANGING OUT TO HAVE BEERS
Radio Coffee and Beer - It’s on the Southside. Feels like home.
The Draught House - Sit indoors to feel German pub magic and sit outdoors when the weather doesn’t murder you. Food trucks almost every night. Feels like England and Ireland too.
Whip In - Great Indian food. The best beer selection in Austin.
Jester King brewery - Open Thursday through Sunday, so plan accordingly. Gorgeous. Get the pizza. It’s a 30 minute drive into Hill Country and you won’t regret the creativity in their beers.
Austin Beer Garden - Great food too. They make their shiz.
Craft Pride - Yes, I know it’s on Rainey Street, but the selection is impressive.
Austin Beerworks - Funky! Great brews.
Hops & Grain Brewing - Not great ambience, but great beers. Their Pale Mosaic beeris perfect.
Mean Eyed Cat - Nice mood inside. 5-8pm is a little corporate style. It feels like it’s hanging in there. Barely.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar - Coldest beer in town, no joke. Best cheap burger too. Trust me.
Cherrywood Coffeehouse - For coffee and chill.
Uncle Billy’s Brewery & Smokehouse - Get the wings and the Green Room IPA. Great post-swimming spot near Barton Springs Pool.
STUFF TO DO
Alamo Drafthouse - Still awesome. I dig the South Lamar and Villages locations. They have theme nights too where you dress up and sing along.
Skylark Lounge - Best bar in Austin. Done. Go on a blues night.
Sahara Lounge - My fav secret spot that isn’t so secret anymore. Eastside Austin.
The Violet Crown - Best cinema for cozy time.
Find the rope swing off Red Bud Isle - You gotta swim to it. It’s not actually on Red Bud Isle.
Donn’s Depot - Watch them dance or dance, ya dummy!
Tavern- I only go to watch Arsenal. Total Arsenal bar. Arsenal is my favorite British Premier League Soccer Team.
Spider House and Spider House’s Ballroom - Great place to see a show.
The Scoot Inn - They have skee-ball. Awesome place to see a live show.
Broken Spoke - Two-steppin!
Bike - You can rent bikes on Rainey Street. Bike along Lady Bird Lake to Jacoby’s! Turn left up Robert T. Martinez Jr. St. when trail runs out and then turn right on E. Cesar Chavez St., on the right about 200 yards down.
Hike along the Barton Creek Greenbelt and get wet!
Hike McKinney Roughs Nature Park
Hike McKinney Falls State Park
See an improv show at The Hideout Theatre or ColdTowne Theater