As I began to write about places to eat and drink in Austin, I realized it would be way too long. Either we have a drinking problem, or we have just gotten so many good recommendations! Here, you will experience the great places to drink (and eat) in Austin, as well as some other experiences along the way!
Our gracious hosts in Austin mentioned that the Moontower Saloon was their favorite bar, and we can certainly see why now! They were playing beach volleyball that night, so we stopped by after dinner. We watched them play for a bit, grabbed a drink and watched some of the open mic performers. I think the coolest part of this place is the amazing outdoor area. The bar itself is in an old, divey looking building, but it has so much character. Outside, you have trees lit up with blue lights, picnic tables, Adirondack chairs around a fire pit, a really cool looking bathroom (really!), a stage for the performers, volleyball courts, yard games and a real sense of community. If you get hungry, they have 2 food trucks! We got to sit back, relax, and listen to some really talented performers from all genres of music. As we were about to leave, this guy came up on stage with his dog, and played the jaw harp. He explained that back in the day, Willie Nelson invited him to perform with him on stage, which he stated was the best night of his life. We were so glad that we stayed to watch him perform. So unique! (see video below)
For you beer lovers, Austin has a great microbrew scene. Lucky for us, our 2nd Airbnb in Austin was right near a whole bunch of breweries! Adelbert’s Brewery was really close to us, and we decided to venture over one night. It was $12 for a generous pour of 6 different beers and a glass to take home. You can also pay $2 extra, which goes to a breast cancer foundation, and get a glass that says “It’s the Tits.” They had a great selection of beers from more traditional, to fruity, IPAs, barrel aged, and more! Our favorites were the Scratchin’ Hippo and the Hibiscus Saison. The Urban Lobster food truck was there that night, and we got the Pigs n Tots for a snack. Yum yum yum! It was also cool to see a “Connecticut Lobster Roll” on the menu!
Since Uber and Lyft are not available in Austin, we decided to take the MetroRail train to downtown one night. We got the CapMetro app, purchased our tickets, and found the closest station to us. Easy and clean!! We walked over to East 6th St to indulge in some great food truck eats, dive bar drinks, and great people watching. Our first stop was The Volstead. When we first walked in, we could tell it was going to be an awesome dive bar. It was dark, with a dusty old organ, strange taxidermy, and an old cigarette dispenser. We ordered our first drink and walked around back. Out back there was a food truck, picnic tables, tiki bar, and another room with billiards. We got the $3 frozen margarita special, even though it was a little chilly that night. I referred to this place as the “Favelas of Bars” because from the outside, it reminded me of the favelas of Brazil. It looked like a bunch of structures pieced together to make a really cool outdoor area.
That night, we also went on a bar hopping tour, and visited Brixton, Rio Rita, Violet Crown Social Club and Shangri La. Brixton had a grungy, divey feel with craft cocktails and a great DJ. They seemed t o have a bit of an identity crisis, but we liked it. At Rio Rita, I actually got a nice hot toddy (it was low 60s…cold for Texas haha). We met a nice, hippie couple there who have done a lot of travelling, and they gave us the suggestion of using Fasten (use code FT6556 for a free ride) for a ride home, over a taxi. It is just another ride share service like Uber or Lyft.
The Violet Crown Social Club looked almost sketchy from the outside (actually this is a theme in this area, since there were no windows, but the people we met at Volstead said to go and get the pizza from Via 313. The bar had many beers to choose from, service was pretty quick considering how busy it was there, and this place also had a great outside area out back. We sat outside, ordered our pizza from Via 313, which is a “Detroit Style” pizza. What the hell is that? Yes, we had the same question. This was a deep dish, square pizza, with sauce on top. I guess it is sort of similar to Chicago style, just a bit different. We got The 500 pizza, which had jalapenos, pepperoni and pineapple, recommended by the girl in front of me in line. It really was a nice mix! We wanted to check out one more place before we called Fasten, so we went to Shangri La. I was ready for water by this point, but this was another divey looking bar, but had pretty cool cocktails, including Game of Thrones themed ones! We went out back, which was also really nice. This is a common thing here in Austin. Small bar, with a larger outdoor space for breathing room AND a food truck!
I already wrote about Chicken Shit Bingo at Little Long Horn Saloon in Weird Things in Texas, but this was a great place to go for a cheap drink, great music, and a taste of old school Austin. Another great place for cheap beer and wings was at the Hideout Pub. I’m not even sure how I found this, but I’m guessing it was Yelp. It was RIGHT near our Airbnb, and when we were in the mood for wings, we went on Wednesday for $1.75 Lonestars and $0.50 cent wings! Definitely a locals spot!
I had mentioned in Active Outdoors in ATX that we had rain and/or cool and cloudy weather for 10 days on our 2nd trip to Austin, so on our first nice day, we went to Oasis Restaurant on Lake Travis. We were advised to just go for a drink and maybe an app here, as the food was not great, but I cannot attest to that. We went at sunset, for a beautiful view, got delicious margaritas, chips and salsa, and I got some of their taco soup. The view was absolutely amazing (see photos below), and the place was really nicely decorated for the holidays. The Oasis is much more than just a restaurant. It looked like there was a brew room, shops, function halls, and a lot more.
We have been following the “When in Rome” rule in many places, and Austin has been no different. On Nov 12th, we got tickets to the University of Texas Longhorn game on Vivid Seats, bought some team gear, and attended the tailgate starting at 7:30am with the Horn-ball Tailgate! People in Texas really know how to tailgate! I’ve been to several Patriots games, and never saw anything like this. People were so friendly, it seemed like everyone had a big expensive meat smoker and food to share, and lots of partying! We got to meet someone who has been tailgating at these games for the last 18 years, and let us have some of his “hippo eggs.” These were cheese filled jalapenos, wrapped in a sausage/ground meat mixture, wrapped in bacon and smoked for hours. So good! We were also invited over to a Latin student party tent, where we met a guy from Brazil. (The Brazilian flag gave it away haha)
On our last night, we went to B. D. Riley’s for the Patriots game. My Giants fan husband was such a good sport going with me, though he was mostly interested in VooDoo Dougnut afterwards! This place is an Irish pub that LOVES the Patriots! YAY pats nation! They had raffles going on all game long, included fun sound bites to go along with the game, and also offered free wings and New England Chowder. Talk about feeling right at home!
If there is something we have noticed in Texas, it is that people are incredibly friendly. At the Texas game, we met a girl whose boyfriend worked at a BBQ restaurant, and gave us her number in case we wanted to go. At B.D. Riley’s two girls were exchanging numbers because they met at the bar, and were both from MA originally. You just don’t see this most places up north! So if you visit Austin, do not be afraid to meet people. A fear I had leaving my home was that it would be hard to find friends, because that was my experience in CT. But not here! Just eat, drink and be merry here in Austin!