Off-topic: Austin recommendations?

June 12, 2009

planet austin

Got a fave meal from SXSW? A favourite bar? Know a divey little place with the best Mexican in the city? I’m heading to Austin for a few days, and I’m looking for things to do, places to eat and drink, and live music venues where I stand a good chance of hearing something cool. I know that many readers of this blog are musicians or who’ve otherwise had reason to hang out in Austin – what was memorable? Where’s the first place you’re going to go when you arrive next March? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

(If you’re interested in where I end up going, you can follow me on Twitter.)

EDIT: Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone! Unfortunately, I didn’t end up with a lot of free time, but I did end up seeing LOTS of motorcycles and eating BBQ at Stubb’s and at Iron Works.

MP3: Spoon – All the Pretty Girls Go to the City [buy]

Image:  Austin Mini Planet by Flickr user Hi I’m Santi, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.


  1. I took a business trip there about three years ago. We didn’t have time for any entertainments other than eating, but we had dinner at East Side Cafe, which was great, and held some informal meetings on the back patio of the Spider House Cafe, which was a fun funky bar.


  2. My cannot-miss spots in Austin:

    * Guero’s for Mexican (on S. Congress)
    * Kerbey Lane for breakfast (they have a couple locations)
    * Magnolia Cafe for … well, anything. And they’re open 24 hours! (near Guero’s on S. Congress)
    * Iron Works for BBQ (though if you’re in town on a Sunday morning, don’t miss the Gospel Brunch at Stubb’s)
    * Cafe Crepe (downtown, on San Jacinto between 2nd and 3rd) for the best crepes this side of the Atlantic

    South Congress is also an awesome place to wander around and shop for cowboy boots and other funky stuff.

    And this time of year you can see the bats at sundown, don’t miss that.

    I’m not much of a bar-hopper, so I’ll leave that for others to recommend. But the people-watching on 6th Street on a Saturday night is pretty hilarious. Multiply what you see by 10 and make the whole street into a pedestrian zone, and you have the quietest night at SXSW.

  3. Thanks for the recommendations, both of your! Meredith, I will be there on Sunday morning, and the Gospel Brunch sounds great.

  4. My Austin-bred roommate recommended these:


    I can’t personally vouch for them, but they’re probably worth at least taking a look!

    • Nice! Thanks so much!

  5. Somehow, I have no suggestions…and I can’t figure out why that is the case…

  6. Well, this gives us a bit of a clue about your eating habits on the road…

  7. These are all great suggestions. The gospel brunch is awesome. Any place with a bloody mary bar gets my vote.

    As far as good live music. Judging by the music on your blog. I would go with the Mohawk, beauty bar and club deville. They are all around 7th and red river.

    I tend to go to the beauty bar. Mainly because they have a dj come on around 11 or so after the bands have finished. All 3 of these bars are where bands hangout.

    I hope you brought your leather chaps. You are arriving in the middle of the second largest biker rally in the U.S. next to Sturgess. There are 40 thousand bikers downtown at the moment.

    • Wow, thanks for the thoughtful suggestions, David! And, ummm, I’m bringing my laptop? Biker rally, whoa. I don’t find it terribly discomfiting, but I won’t exactly blend in.

  8. […] Berlin, please leave them in the comments! I got a great set of suggestions when I went to Austin last week, and I really appreciated […]

  9. Oops, I completely missed you! I live in Austin and you came right while I was in the middle of a move.

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