Austin

8 Can't-Miss Things to Eat, Drink & Do at Austin City Limits This Year

Free inspiration for making the most of your time between shows... and lunchtime.

Courtesy of Austin City Limits
Courtesy of Austin City Limits
Courtesy of Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits, the destination music festival that spans two separate weekends in October, is nearly upon us-whether you’re physically and emotionally ready to worship Carly Rae Jepsen or not (you are). Attendees in the tens of thousands will descend on Zilker Park for more than 100 performances over the course of October 7-9 and October 14-16, and, hey, if you’re reading this, then you’re probably one of them (see you at CRJ on Friday night!).

So, you’ve chosen your weekend, and you’ve got your tickets. And you’ve got your schedule figured out with all of your favorite artists’ set times and stages. But do you know what you’re going to eat? Do you have a plan for what you’ll be up to between shows? We’ve got you covered with some experiences you shouldn’t miss throughout the fest.

Courtesy of Austin City Limits
Courtesy of Austin City Limits
Courtesy of Austin City Limits

The Mighty Cone

If you’re not already familiar with The Mighty Cone, you can probably see the appeal just from this food truck‘s name, especially at a sprawling music festival. It’s walking-friendly food that you can easily eat as you push through the crowds. Get the Avocado Cone, which is made with hot and crispy crusted avocado, mango-jalapeño slaw, and ancho chili aioli-all in a warm flour tortilla cone. We look forward to eating them at ACL every year.

The Craft Beer Hall

Once you’ve made it into the festival, finding cold beer-and fast-is mission critical. Thankfully, there are bars located throughout the festival with all of the basics. If you’re looking for additional options to choose from, head over to the Craft Beer Hall, which is hosted by Texas’ Karbach Brewing Co. According to the fest’s official site, you’ll find “a wide variety of beers to choose from,” along with big screen TVs and other ways to help you chill out.

Koko’s Bavarian

Oktoberfest is headed to ACL this year, thanks to this East Austin beer garden and German restaurant’s timely debut on the vendor lineup. Koko’s, which is named after restaurant partner and actual Prince of Bavaria (no joke!), Konstantin Prinz von Bayern, has all of the fare to help you celebrate, such as giant pretzels, classic German schnitzel, a long list of sausages, and, of course, plenty of its brewery’s “haus” beer. We haven’t seen the menu for its location at ACL yet, but how could it be anything short of excellent?

Micklethwait Craft Meats

It’s no secret that we love this East Austin barbecue truck. Its Central Texas-style meats-including fatty brisket, Tex-Czech sausage, and smoky pork ribs-and its elevated, scratch-made sides-like lemon poppy slaw, citrus beet salad, and jalapeño cheese grits-have earned it a permanent spot on our list of the best places to eat barbecue in Austin. So, as soon as our inevitable craving for barbecue hits at ACL, you know where we’re headed. As if that weren’t great enough, Micklethwait is bringing its taco truck off-shoot, Taco Bronco, along for the ride.

Courtesy of American Express
Courtesy of American Express
Courtesy of American Express

The American Express Experience

American Express is back at ACL 2022 with cool perks and hangout spots for both its cardholders and everyone else at its two-level Experience destination near-you guessed it-the festival’s American Express Stage. Everyone’s welcome to visit the first floor of the building, where you can score free ice cream from Bésame, make DIY phone charms, and take photos in front of a mural by a local artist. Meanwhile, Amex cardholders (plus one guest!) can head upstairs to the Card Member Lounge for an exclusive bar with comfy seating and a clear view of the aforementioned stage, which will host top acts like The Chicks, Lil Nas X, PINK, Paramore, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Card members can also take part in other activities like checking out the lounge’s glam station, featuring face gems by Half Magic Beauty.

By the way, if you register your ACL Fast Cashless Payments wristband with your American Express Card, you’ll get a $5 Cashless spend credit that can be used at the festival. Heck yeah.

Mama Fried

Leroy and Lewis, another of our favorite Austin barbecue spots, is on the menu at ACL-in the form of its decadent loaded fries truck, Mama Fried. We’re looking forward to fortifying ourselves with big servings of fries topped with cheese, barbacoa, and all sorts of other savory goods from this new addition to the lineup.

VooDoo Doughnut

Another exciting addition to this year’s food roster is here to help with dessert or any other sudden urges for sweets, and it’s a major one. The iconic Portland-based donut chain known for its delightful and inventive flavors deserves a spot on your festival eats itinerary. Just look at some of the donuts on the menu at its 6th Street location here in Austin. Maybe they’ll have the Ring of Fire flavor on hand to pair with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ performance, if that’s your speed.

The Wine Lounge

Put the words “wine” and “lounge” together and you’ll have our attention. That’s especially the case when a bit of day drinking at a music festival is going down. This year, BRŸT (Texas owned) and Nomadica-both purveyors of canned wines-are supplying the lounge’s beverage offerings.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Tony Merevick is the Managing Editor at Thrillist. Follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick and Instagram @tonymerevick.

Austin

Get Lucky at These Irish Bars in Austin

Drink a green pint on St Patrick's Day at these Irish bars in Austin.

Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

In the midst of all the SXSW chaos, it helps to remember that there’s a rainbow at the festival’s end-that is, the hangover-blessing we’ve been granted of having St. Patrick’s Day 2023 fall on a Friday. Whether you attribute this small win to the Gregorian calendar or the luck of the Irish, it’s sure to amp up the already liver-damaging activities associated with this cultural celebration. However, √Čire is more than just leprechauns and Colin Farrell-it’s a breathtaking land full of warm, welcoming, and good-hearted people. Fortunately, there’s a way you can get a taste of the Republic’s spirit, and a dark stout, at the same time by hitting up one of Austin’s various Irish pubs. From cozy, intimate spaces decked out like small taverns in Cobh, to modern dives with all the party energy of Temple Bar, our list has the best spots in the city to “erin go bragh” all out on March 17.

Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys

B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub at Mueller

Mueller
With a giant model of a beer tap literally decorating their front door, you can’t miss B.D Riley’s, nor doubt that this East Austin hang is a spot to down some serious brewskis. And its name, and perfect pours of Guinness, aren’t the only aspects they draw from the Emerald Isle-the entire pub itself was actually designed and built in Dundalk, Ireland, and shipped over for assembly in Bat City. Such authentic decor calls for equally authentic sounds, therefore, on St. Patrick’s Day, B.D. Riley’s will feature an all-day, four-artist bill of live, trad-inspired music. So, while you may not start the day knowing all the words to “The Galway Girl,” you are bound to sing along by last call.

Kelly’s Irish Pub

Bouldin Creek
Having only opened this past December, Kelly’s is the new kid with a brogue on the block. Occupying the space which formerly housed tapas restaurant Winebelly, this pub had big shoes to fill for South Austin barflies, but quickly won them over with an impressive whiskey selection and friendly atmosphere. A big reason behind the real deal √Čire vibes can, most likely, be chalked up to the fact that one of Kelly’s owners was actually born and bred in Ireland-and the dedication to delivering a true-to-life experience is evident in everything from the shepherd’s pie to the witty bartenders. For St. Patrick’s Day, they are getting the party started early with live music and an opening time of 8 am.

Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger's
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s

Jack & Ginger’s

The Domain
While The Domain may boast more bars than you can shake a shamrock at, there’s only one spot in the North Austin entertainment behemoth that can be properly called an Irish pub: Jack & Ginger’s. Start off the night with selecting a tasting flight from their over 82 beers on tap, then, move onto shots poured straight from their Irish Whiskey Tours-after loosening up with a round or two, you might just find yourself with the gift of gab. And, before snapping a selfie over Jack & Ginger’s see-through glass floor, balance out that buzz with food offerings like a giant soft pretzel or a round of fried pickles.

Photo courtesy of Foxy's Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub

Foxy’s Proper Pub

Downtown
Here’s a spot that visibly radiates with Irish pride-at Foxy’s, the glow of green beams out from the bar’s lighted panels, and across their chandelier made of Jameson bottles. When it comes to cups and chow, their commitment to the theme continues-the use of the word,”proper,” in the pub’s name alone indicates you’re in for a heavy pour of the standards. Consequently, the taps are abundant with essential Irish sips, including Guinness, Magners, and Smithwick’s. With Lone Star on draft, there’s also a nod to Texas tradition as well. But don’t fear if you’re bored of beer-Foxy’s variety of whiskey-based cocktails will let you switch it up (and still keep it Celtic). March 17 will find them celebrating with live music, whiskey tastings, and swag giveaways.

Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

Cork & Barrel Craft Kitchen + Microbrewery

Round Rock
Compared to a flight to Dublin, the 30-minute drive to Round Rock’s Cork & Barrel is much more convenient-not to mention, won’t require waiting in a TSA line. A mix between a modern Austin beer garden and a historical Irish pub, this spot’s spacious interior and expansive outdoor patio guarantees there will be enough room for the whole crew to cheer “sl√°inte.” And, their microbrewery’s signature beers are the ideal drinks to do such a toast with. The menu of specially crafted drafts includes a blueberry wheat, an Irish red ale, and a vanilla stout. This St. Patrick’s Day also marks Cork & Barrel’s two-year anniversary, and they are throwing down for the double-celebration with live music, yard games, Irish food specials, and plentiful amounts of green beer and Irish Car Bombs.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Molly Moltzen is a Thrillist contributor.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.