As local event planners here in Austin, we felt compelled to write up some last minute suggestions for those visiting for SX… Austin is known for its vibrant food, bar, and music scene. It’s a place where you can find anything from Tex-Mex to barbecue, craft beer to cocktails, and live music to DJ sets. But beyond the well-known tourist spots, there’s a side of Austin that is edgy, raw, and full of energy. This time of year, Austin is a bit of a zoo so be sure to have your most comfortable walking shoes on. Although we personally dread them, the short term scooter rentals can also come in clutch – just be careful and don’t get ‘ahead of your skis’ – we have heard many a sad story about folks who face plant on those things… Anyway, here’s a rundown of some of the best spots in downtown Austin.
Food Scene: When it comes to food in Austin, the city has a solid culinary scene. The obvious recommendation for a true taste of Austin, head to Franklin Barbecue, where the brisket is king. This BBQ joint is a must-visit for meat lovers and has been named the best BBQ joint in America. It is with that in mind that we tend to steer clear of Franklin’s and head to some lesser known BBQ spots. Two of our favorites are LeRoy & Lewis (the beef cheeks are on point) and Stiles Switch (their beef ribs are to die for). Both are a bit outside of downtown but they’re worth it. Another local favorite is Veracruz All Natural, a food truck serving up some of the best breakfast tacos in town. Their migas taco is a game-changer. Veracruz also has a popular restaurant at the LINE Hotel, right downtown, give it a whirl if you’re hungry and on the move – the line can be a bit excessive during lunchtime, but it moves fairly quickly.
Another option is Fareground, which is across the street from The LINE Hotel. Fareground is a food court, so it has a number of restaurant pop up options to choose from. For those looking for something different, check out Soursop, a food truck that blends Asian flavors with Southern BBQ. Their pork belly bao bun is a must-try. Or head to Ramen Tatsu-Ya, a popular spot for ramen lovers. Their bowls of noodles are loaded with flavor and will warm you up on a cold night. The Texas Chili Parlor is a dive that is known for 2 things – chili and their Mad Dog Margaritas. One of our absolute favorite restaurants in the U.S. is Jeffrey’s – it’s sensational – but also really difficult to get into so keep this one in mind for next year.
If you’re thinking about pizza, booze AND music, ABGB is the place to visit. It’s super casual, but they’ve usually got some great music to entertain you as you chill and await your food. We also love Whip In – they’ve got some terrific wines to choose from and their food is Middle Eastern inspired serving Samosa’s and the like. They also have great live acts. Bar Scene: The bar scene in Austin is just as edgy as its food scene. Start your night off at The Roosevelt Room, a cocktail bar with an extensive menu of classic and experimental drinks. The bar has a speakeasy vibe and is perfect for a sophisticated night out. There’s lots a fun speakeasy’s that aren’t really underground anymore but still great to explore – Here Nor There requires you download their app and request a reservation there; it’s actually super easy. Just be sure to check for the door code on the day of your reservation because it changes nightly. If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxed, head to The White Horse, a honky-tonk bar that’s been serving up live music and cheap drinks for over a decade. The place is always packed with locals and tourists alike, making it the perfect spot to experience Austin’s music scene. We also really enjoy Apt 115 – this is more of a wine bar; it’s tiny & not super well known — they do serve food, as well, so it could be a good spot to actually snag a table.
Another great spot for late night, sop up some of the booze, bites is Casino el Camino – my mouth is watering just thinking about their over indulgent greasy burgers. This is a divey metal bar with a variety of delicious burger options. Music Scene: Speaking of music, Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World. From blues to country, punk to indie, Austin has it all. Fo r an edgy night out, head to Barracuda, a music venue that showcases local and touring indie bands. The venue has two stages and a large outdoor patio, making it a great place to catch a show or just hang out. A few others that we love are Antone’s, The Continental Club – which is fun to just swing into anytime they’re open, and C Boy’s. Don’t pass up a chance to see a show at C Boy’s they usually have a great line up. If you’re looking for something a bit more underground, check out Hotel Vegas, a dive bar/music venue that’s known for its grungy atmosphere and loud music. The bar has a rooftop deck that offers a great view of the city skyline. Austin’s food, bar, and music scene is anything but boring.There really is something for everyone in this city. So, grab some friends and head out for an edgy night out in Austin. You won’t be disappointed.