Austin

10 Very Austin Things We Can't Wait to Do When Quarantine Is Over

The Drafthouse sounds pretty good right now.

f11photo/Shutterstock; Illustration: Emily Carpenter
f11photo/Shutterstock; Illustration: Emily Carpenter
f11photo/Shutterstock; Illustration: Emily Carpenter

Micheladas and margaritas at La Holly, pretending to “hold court” at the Coconut Club, dinner at home — what did your last “normal” weekend look like? 

These are strange and heavy times we’re living in. Seemingly overnight our lives have been turned upside down by Covid-19. We’ve scrambled to cope as humans (Facetime hangs, sourdough starters, random crying) and to adapt as a city (work from home, to-go booze, shopping alone) while we wait for some semblance of normality. 

Until then, we’re here to remind you that you aren’t alone in missing late dinners with friends, going to the movie theater, and puzzles that ship in a timely manner. Austin is a gorgeous city full of incredible humans, so we gathered some of them up — the folks who help make this a vibrant and fun place to live — and asked: “What will you do on your first day back?”

Kate LeSueur
Kate LeSueur
Kate LeSueur

Day-drinking on the Eastside, oysters and Champagne in Clarksville, and a trek back for live music and late-night bites 

“I really miss making Japanese food and sushi for my guests — and talking to them. Of course, on my day off, I’d usually go to Yellow Jacket and day drink with friends. We’d take shots of tequila and have Topo Chico. Then, if we’re feeling fancy, we’d go to Clark’s for oysters and champagne. If there are cool shows that night, we’d go to Mohawk, Hotel Vegas, or Barracuda to catch bands!! Then, after that, we’d go to my ‘living room,’ aka Justine’s, to have espresso martinis and late-night snacks! I miss everyone and I miss places.” – Yoshi Okai, Executive Chef / Head Sushi Chef, Otoko

Courtesy of Veronica Meewes
Courtesy of Veronica Meewes
Courtesy of Veronica Meewes

Deep Eddy Pool for a dip, Pool Burger for burgers and tiki drinks, and then Deep Eddy Saloon for beer and games. 

“One of my favorite summertime pastimes involves bouncing between the conveniently adjacent Deep Eddy (the spring-fed pool), Pool Burger (for juicy burgers and tiki drinks), and Deep Eddy Saloon (for Ms. Pacman, pool, and pitchers of beer). I can’t wait until the day I can gather my closest friends to perform this hedonistic triathlon with me once again.” – Veronica Meewes, Freelance Writer, Editor & Digital Marketer

Jackie Klusmeyer
Jackie Klusmeyer
Jackie Klusmeyer

A tour of Austin’s best spots for vegetarian tacos and sample sips so good they don’t need booze

“I’m going to try to support as many restaurants as I can. First, I’m gonna go on a vegetarian taco tour starting with Bouldin Creek and Veracruz All Natural. And, since I’m celebrating eight months of sobriety, I’m looking forward to mocktails at Midnight Cowboy. (Can I request that more restaurants stock Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider??) I also can’t wait to get back to hugging.” – Robert Bjorn Taylor, Assistant General Manager, ARRIVE Hotels & Restaurants

Courtesy of Kendra Scott
Courtesy of Kendra Scott
Courtesy of Kendra Scott

Margaritas and frosé on one of our many summer-worthy patios

“I cannot wait to meet up with my girlfriends for a margarita al fresco. One of my very favorite patios in town is at Mattie’s. And of course, I can’t wait to sit on the patio at our Kendra Scott South Congress Flagship. Enjoying a sweet treat and frosé from Sips & Sweets and saying hello to all of our wonderful customers — it always reminds me how much Austin is part of our company and continues to support us!” – Kendra Scott, Founder & CEO, Kendra Scott

Robert Gomez/United Tacos of America
Robert Gomez/United Tacos of America
Robert Gomez/United Tacos of America

A deep dive into Austin’s taco culture on a tasty taqueria tour

“Going on the taco hunt with my taco loving friends, getting a chance to talk to the taqueros & cocineras of my favorite taco joints, from the late-night trompos at Los Jarochos on East Riverside to Joe’s Bakery, where every Mexican knows your name, and listening to rancheras at Taco More — or getting a mean brisket taco at Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ. All this and sharing it with amigos and family is what would make it complete. Oh and cooking for friends, now that I’ve had so much time to elevate my cocinero skills.” – Mando Rayo, TacoJournalist, United Tacos of America

Gilbert Hernandez
Gilbert Hernandez
Gilbert Hernandez

Dancing the night away at LGTBQ dance night 

“I miss making the trek from 4th to 7th Street, in heels, for Tuesgayz and the rush of locking eyes with someone across the dance floor at Barbarella.” – Cupcake, Austin Drag Superstar

Courtesy of Kristen Bolek
Courtesy of Kristen Bolek
Courtesy of Kristen Bolek

Margaritas, chili, a hang with Austin’s crankiest bartender, and indulging in bizarre vodka shots and dancing 

“I’ll be hanging at the deep end at Deep Eddy Pool, laying in the grass on a big blanket with my friends, then Mad Dog margaritas at Texas Chili Parlor, followed by a scolding from the best-meanest bartender down at the Cloakroom. I’m gonna dance all night to ’80s goth music at Elysium on Sunday night and try the weirdest vodka infusions at the Russian House. I’m dreaming about being out, all over Austin with much less distance from all the people I love. And, with a lighter heart.” – Kristen Bolek, Bartender, Nickel City

David Heisler Photography
David Heisler Photography
David Heisler Photography

Coffee and tacos in South Austin, an early show on the Eastside, and a lovely drawn-out courtyard dinner

“For some reason, I imagine re-entering life on a Sunday morning! First thing, head to Radio Coffee and Beer for an iced chai and Veracruz Tacos! After hanging out with fellow South Austinites for brunch, home again for siesta and evening planning. I would enjoy (or play!) an early show on the east side at Hotel Vegas, then a late dinner at Justine’s! A long, slow dinner with cocktails and friends while music plays into the courtyard is just what I need.” – Alexandra Achieng Ligawa, Model, Actor & Dancer

Regina Allen
Regina Allen
Regina Allen

A movie and wings, then trivia and snow cones 

“My ideal Austin day involves seeing an early movie at either the Alamo Lakeline or Mueller when there aren’t a lot of people around. An empty theater is always my preference, but now that’s more important than ever. I’d prefer a loud, dumb blockbuster, but any movie will do. I would eat hot wings and drink a Topo. Then I would love to meet up with my pub trivia team at the Butterfly Bar at the Vortex and win a bar tab while eating an amazing chocolate and cherry Sno-Cone from Flattop Shaved Ice.” – Neal Pollack, Author & Journalist

Anna Irving
Anna Irving
Anna Irving

One of Austin’s best burgers with a boilermaker on the side 

“I can’t wait for the day that I get to sit at the corner of Casino El Camino, with a shot, a beer, and the fattest cheeseburger ever. I miss my bartenders and drink slingers that got me through all those nights working downtown. I long for the day we can get together with my podcast friends at Austin EastCiders. Or grabbing a delicious Brunch at Drinks Lounge on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. What I’m most looking forward to though, is absolutely the feeling of a packed house to perform for. When this is all over, let’s have a post-show beer together.” – BeckiJo Neill, Cast Member, Esther’s Follies, Host, Comedians Interviewing Musicians

Daniel Solano
Daniel Solano
Daniel Solano

Enjoy a night of laughs (and wings) at Austin’s most iconic comedy clubs. 

“I keep staring at walls, windows, trees, and ceilings, daydreaming of doing comedy again with all my friends — where you actually get to connect with a room of strangers, not just in the side chat of Zoom. I can’t wait to get back to The Velv (Velveeta Room), and find joy and life — even on Dirty 6th. Of course, telling jokes or watching a show at Cap City Comedy Club, one of America’s best comedy clubs with the best staff and best lemon pepper wings, in my very humble opinion. I also can’t wait to ramble down into the basement that is Fallout Theater or the I Luv Video first floor, Coldtowne Theater, to catch some sketch and improv shows.” – Lisa Friedrich, Stand Up Comedian, SEO Manager, UShip

Leah Merrill
Leah Merrill
Leah Merrill

A film at the Drafthouse and some vintage shopping 

“The thing I miss most is my weekend routine. First thing I’m going to do is catch a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse and then head over to Room Service Vintage. There is nothing more satisfying than thumbing through so many velvet Jesus paintings!” – Mike Pendon, aka DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, DJ & Fast Food Placemat Collector

Daniel Solano
Daniel Solano
Daniel Solano

Catch a movie, have Mexican food before getting a tattoo and some drinks, followed by BBQ, a swim, AND a show

“I want to wake up and go see a movie at Alamo Drafthouse with my fiancé. I’d like to do lunch at Amaya’s or El Caribe, get a tattoo on the way to Knomad bar, then hit up Barton Springs Saloon. I might sober up with wings from Green Mesquite then a quick swim in the creek before heading to Stubb’s or ACL Live to see a show. I don’t know. I miss friends, eating, live music, and so much more.” – CJ Morgan, Presenter, The CJ Morgan Show 2-7pm on 101x, Director of Digital Content, Waterloo Media

Itsumi Okayasu
Itsumi Okayasu
Itsumi Okayasu

Enjoy spicy, delicious food at Austin’s most colorful Thai spot 

“I really want to eat at Thai Kun at the Domain! I miss their awesome spicy Thai food and seeing my murals there!!!!! I know they are waiting for me to say, ‘Hello Yellow!’ and ‘Wash your hands before eating!’ I can’t wait to finally be there!” – Kengo Hioki, aka Peelander-Yellow, Lead Vocals & Guitarist, Peelander-Z, Muralist Sign up here for our daily Austin email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

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.

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Molly Moltzen is a Thrillist contributor.

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