Austin’s population has boomed so much in recent years, it’s become a little less “won’t you be neighbor?” and a little more “that’s the third house that’s gone up this month.” Consequently, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to discover your niche within the city-a decision as difficult as trying to figure out where to grab breakfast tacos when hungover. Never fear, though. We have you covered with our comprehensive guide to some of our favorite places to set up shop in Austin. From the uber urban to the super residential, every place on this list is guaranteed to make you feel at home-and have a place to grab a bacon, egg, and cheese on a corn tortilla on a Sunday morning.
“We have been in the Hyde Park neighborhood since 1997. We have seen it change and grow. What we love about this neighborhood is how diverse it is. From students to new families to families who have been established in this neighborhood for generations, Hyde Park welcomes all.” – Heather O’Connor, Chief of Operations for Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery
Sites & Landmarks: Hyde Park, founded over a hundred years ago, is known as Austin’s original suburb, but don’t expect identical looking houses with white-picket fences. Instead, it’s an eccentric mix of peaked-roof Victorian architecture, Tudor Revival houses, and cozy, colorful bungalows-with a population of young students, families, and older couples that can feel hodge-podge but perfectly aligned in their love for their neighborhood. With sidewalks shaded with pecans, live oaks, and a flush of other greenery, it’s ideal for a Sunday afternoon stroll-yet modern enough to find those same lawns decorated with activist yard signs alongside the magnolia branches.
If all that general leafiness isn’t enough, you can head to the area’s Shipe Park, a family-friendly 1.25 acre expanse with tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic tables, a swimming pool, and a playground. The neighborhood’s best food options conjure Americana nostalgia. Hyde Park Bar & Grill is famous for their award-winning crisp, seasoned fries that they serve alongside a Thousand Island/mayo combination dipping sauce, which looks, at first glance, looks disgusting, but is the ideal texture accompaniment to their signature side. Don’t miss an espresso made by Quacks 43rd Street Bakery with locally roasted coffee beans-or one of their chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting to go along with it.
The Elisabet Ney Museum, located in her former Hyde Park castle-style studio she called Formosa, houses a permanent collection of the work and lifetime memorabilia of the important female sculptor/original feminist badass.
“Having grown up in Austin, I love the feeling of Cherrywood. It’s central enough to have a real buzz to it while still apart enough to be genuinely full of locals and have a mellow vibe. It’s kind of the perfect blend of old and new Austin.” – Ryan McElroy, Co-Owner of Bird Bird Biscuit
Sites & Landmarks: With traditional staples like picnic pavilions to more unusual features like a skate park, Patterson Park is a gem that locals rarely talk about, which is how they’d like to keep it. For those who like to keep it spooky, you can walk around The Oakwood Cemetery instead. The oldest city-owned cemetery in Austin, it’s filled with notable figures from Texas political history, which you can learn about by booking a guided tour through the site.
When Cherrywood was being heavily developed, during and after World War II, the target demographic for the neighborhood was described as “gentle folk of limited budget but of unlimited good taste.” While, since then, the budget of the average Cherrywood resident may have had to increase due to rising housing prices, the taste is still on par with the original statement. It’s close proximity to Downtown Austin, while still being residential enough to feel like an oasis from the high-rises that can be glimpsed every once in a while through the tree-lined streets. The population is chock full of students and recently graduated students, not to mention young families whose irregular sleep schedule is aided by the numerous coffee shops that dot the area.
Speaking of coffee shops, one of the best neighborhood haunts is the Cherrywood Coffeehouse, where there is seemingly no unfriendly face that exists within this location’s interior space or on their patio. Cherrywood’s homemade cold brew packs all the punch of jet fuel with none of the unpleasant flavor of diesel, and their gigantic breakfast tacos are each topped with a generous heaping of thin sticks of potato hash. Those seeking a different sort of buzz can head to Haymaker, whose plethora of beers on tap and variety of craft sandwiches make it a go-to for any game day viewing. The best biscuits in the city can be found at Bird Bird Biscuit, where they sandwich their flaky, buttery bites with a variety of chicken and egg combinations.
“As the city is becoming more of an international destination, I have been excited to see the renaissance taking place downtown. So much of Austin life happens in the small neighborhoods, but this spot right at the corner of where the heart of the city meets the lake feels like a metaphor for Austin itself; where beauty and nature and wildness meet the aliveness of the city center. I mean, it’s a part of life here to go swimming at Barton Springs after work. How many cities have a beautiful, natural spring downtown? This connection to nature and the creative spirit that the city exudes all the time are what inspire me.” – Kristen Kish, Executive Chef and Partner of Arlo Grey and “Top Chef” Season 10 Winner
Sites & Landmarks: Downtown is truly the landmarkspalooza-you have everything from the terra-cotta colored Texas State Capitol (which is bigger than the United States Capitol, ’cause, you know, everything is bigger in Texas) to the Paramount Theater, a revival-style entertainment center with a blazing marquee, to the statue of the city’s patron saint, Willie Nelson, that decks the entrance of ALC Live at the Moody Theater.
Downtown is the classic Austin that decorates postcards, snow-globes, and other memorabilia that can be frequently found doting the shops along its side streets. Here sits the political center of Texas, with multiple governmental buildings, as well as the heart of the live music scene with the clubs and bars that dot Red River and Sixth Street. The housing is almost exclusively high-class apartments that, depending on their location, can offer gorgeous views of Lady Bird Lake, which serves as the southern border for the neighborhood.
Being the most cosmopolitan location in the city limits, the shops and restaurants found downtown are equally sophisticated. Chinese comfort food and tiki drinks are taken to new levels at Wu Chow, where not ordering the Shanghai soup dumplings is a crime worth prosecuting at the Court of Appeals not too far down the street. Arlo Grey at the LINE Austin hotel is helmed by culinary wunderkind Kristen Kish, and is where you can get the already legendary Peeler Ranch burger, which is topped with the unique and tasty addition of whipped potato. Be sure to grab one of their Beyond the Rainbow cocktails as well-a take on an Old Fashioned made with Longbranch bourbon, a company helmed by local legend Matthew McConaughey, which donates money from every sale to Austin’s LGBTQIA+ non-profit, Out Youth. If you’re looking for a less classy Downtown experience, however, there is always Dirty Sixth Street, where you can drink your fill of sake cider bombs at The Jackalope until there’s no other option but to stumble your way home.
“I’ve lived on East Riverside for three of the five years I’ve been in Austin. I’m a five-minute drive from my favorite Austin music venue, Emo’s; and an easy bike ride to some delicious empanada and pupusa spots. Downtown isn’t a far reach, so I can still feel it’s energy while maintaining a local neighborhood feeling.” – Chelsea George, Event Production Professional
Sites & Landmarks: East Riverside is nestled right up against Lady Bird Lake-and biking, walking, or just dog-spotting on the boardwalk that trails a section of the waterway is one of the best things you can do in Austin. For those looking to get out on the river, you can rent a paddle-board or kayak from the area’s Live Love Paddle and connect with nature.
East Riverside has a reputation for strip malls and aging apartment buildings-but it’s a different place today. Not only does its proximity to the glistening waters of the Colorado River and the beautiful wildflower fields of Mabel Davis District Park make it a place where natural beauty can be found, but the major development renovations in work for the area promise to bring more businesses sure to appeal to the young professional crowd that dominates the area.
That’s not to say there aren’t already plenty of dining, drinking, and entertainment attractions. One of the best examples is famed music venue Emo’s, a local favorite for catching a band or a comedy performance in the era before COVID. Around the corner from Emo’s is Rosita’s Al Pastor, a taco truck open ’til the wee hours of the morning that serves juicy slices of the namesake pork, topped with plentiful amounts of cilantro, on pillow-soft flour tortillas made in-house. And even when it’s not Halloween season, it’s always fun to stop into The Bazaar, a female-owned costume store that has the unique historical distinction of supplying Tim Curry with a corset and fishnets for an anniversary showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in the city in 1978.
“South Congress runs between Travis Heights to the east and Bouldin to the west, neighborhoods that are full of a great mix of historic homes and a high concentration of modern new ones, many designed by local architects like Bercy Chen. Both are a short walk to South Congress, which is not only the main daytime spot in Austin for out of towners to shop at mostly mom & pop shops, restaurants and coffee shops, but also where Austinites eat & shop. Bunkhouse is lucky to have four hotels and a Jo’s Coffee on this stretch, and we proudly serve both locals and travelers alike-it’s the locals, though, who keep the spirit of Austin alive.” – Tenaya Hills, Bunkhouse VP of Design + Development
Sites & Landmarks: South Congress street itself, with its multi-block expanse of quirky boutiques, refreshing drink spots, and more cuisines than you can count, is the real attraction here. Plus, you can walk a good bulk of it without ever losing sight of the unobstructed view of the Texas State Capitol on the other side of the river.
The walkable, cultured-filled area of South Congress is easily one of Austin’s most enviable zip-codes. The area has had a reputation as such since the 1970s, when it was the location for the famous Armadillo World Headquarters, a music venue which hosted memorable performances by such heavy-hitters as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Waylon Jennings, Ray Charles, and ZZ Top. Although the Armadillo is sadly gone, the hip, eccentric vibe of the neighborhood still lives on, and in, the increasingly expensive, brightly decorated bungalows that branch out on every side street from the main drag.
Over the past few years, a lot of the great shops that defined South Congress have been pushed out due to rising rent, but a couple still stand as a testament to the “Make Austin Weird” culture that the area encapsulated for so long. Such as Allens Boots, where you can feel like a true rodeo king with its selection of Stetsons, belt buckles, and, of course, cowboy boots available in UT’s signature burnt orange. If queen of hearts is more your vibe, check out the fabulously named Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds where you can find every costume and wig conceivable on planet Earth, both for rent and for sale. Whether you are in the mood for caffeine or something a bit stronger, South Congress is one of the best places in Austin to grab any form of beverage. You can grab your cold brew by the gallon at community hang Jo’s Coffee, where you are bound to find a line of people waiting to take their picture by the “I love you so much” mural that decorates the side of the building. For a break from the bustle, head to The Courtyard Lounge at the Hotel San José where you can bask in the sunshine while sipping on their signature Michelada.
Zilker & Bouldin Creek:
“We live in this neighborhood, along with having our coffee shop here. Things have changed a lot and continue to change. But you can still find vestiges of old South Austin-like telephone poles wearing dresses, tons of other independent businesses, and our beloved Barton Springs. And peacocks, we still have peacocks too.” – Jenée and Rob Ovitt, Once Over Coffee Bar owners
Sites & Landmarks: Zilker Park, which sits in this area, is probably every Austinite’s favorite green space in the city. This over 350-acre plot of land plays host to the Austin City Limits music festival in the fall, and dog-walkers, soccer-players, and picnickers just about every other time of the year. Located inside Zilker Park is Barton Springs, a three-acre size public pool that’s filled naturally with water from underground springs. As a result, the pool temperature always hovers around a brisk 68 degrees-there’s no better way to cool off on an August day in Texas than jumping right in.
One of the oldest neighborhoods in Austin, the Bouldin Creek and Zilker area achieves the perfect balance between feeling trendy without being over-hyped. Its South Austin location, and its proximity to such natural treasures as Zilker Park and the hiking trails of the Bouldin Creek Greenbelt, have made this area susceptible to much gentrification, and high priced housing, over the past decade-but, luckily, tried-and-true businesses who have been here for years have still maintained a strong foothold in this area due to the local love they receive.
Walking down South 1st Street is a great way to take in the flavor of this neighborhood-clothing stores to ice cream parlors to art galleries call the sometimes-crooked sidewalk blocks here their home. A spot not to be missed is the “Greetings From Austin” mural which looks straight out of the kind of 1940s vintage postcard that you can find in one of the many antique shops in the area. This mural was, in fact, first painted on the side of Roadhouse Relics-another must-see art gallery where you can browse the neon sign pieces of artist Todd Sanders. Bouldin Creek Cafe has vegan meals so delicious you won’t even mind eating healthy, which just means that you can feel guilt-free about having a margarita at Polvos right afterwards. Additionally, if the great patio and friendly wait staff at Once Over Coffee Bar don’t automatically make you feel better about taking on the work week, their frozen vanilla lattes certainly will.
“As Austin changes (gentrifies), The North Loop area seems to be holding the old Austin vibe better than most hoods. The people are remarkably chill and supportive of the local culture. I lived in the area when I was in college at UT, so when I moved back and ultimately decided to open my food truck, I knew this area would be a good fit for someone like me who has both the new and old perspective on Austin. I want to see change/progress, but I also don’t want to lose the things that make Austin what it is.” – Morris Pittle, Owner of JewBoy Burgers
Sites & Landmarks: North Loop Boulevard itself has everything a person could love about this neighborhood-vintage furniture stores, cozy coffee shops, and innovative places to consume food and drink.
You know your friend with a totally brilliant wardrobe and a meticulously decorated house filled with knick-knacks? And, somehow, whenever you ask them where they got it from they say “it’s vintage”? That’s kind of like North Loop personified. This area is funky yet approachable, and constantly evolving into a place where you want to spend more and more of your free time. In the past, this neighborhood used to be so directly in the flight path of the old Austin airport that people reported seeing the passengers’ faces as they flew over the neighborhood. However, with the airport now in another section of town, North Loop has for sure become less “fly-over” and more just straight-up fly.
The selection of vintage stores in the North Loop area is unparalleled. Room Service Vintage is the place to go to bring the Austin vibes into your living room. From framed flower needlepoints to colorful deck furniture, you can be sure to find something to give your space some extra spice here-as long as you can scoop it up before one of their legion of shop devotees does. In addition to home goods, Revival Vintage has a selection of single stitch shirts and denim marvels. The unique atmosphere very much extends to the food and drink options found here as well. JewBoy Burgers peddles delicious patties with toppings that pay tribute to both Jewish and Mexican culture, such as latkes and green chilies. Modern twists on cocktails, such as a dry martini made with Scotch, can be found at Drink.Well-just a warning, you may never want to go back to the originals again.
“There’s a friendly, low-key vibe to this very walkable part of Austin. We have an eclectic mix of small indie stores that appeal to local residents and students alike, including a bookshop that focuses on poetry and prose from independent presses, a head shop, a vintage store, and a co-op grocery. And great food options abound, whether you’re into pizza, pastry, or poke!” – Becky Garcia, Owner of Malvern Books
Sites & Landmarks: The Harry Ransom Center, an archival dream of literary and cultural artifacts, is a building every Austinite should visit-whether or not they are actually a student doing research. Some of the collection’s highlights include a painting by Frida Kahlo, an original Gutenberg Bible, and the oldest surviving photograph in the world.
There’s no doubt that the University of Texas casts a huge shadow on Austin-both in the metaphorical sense, as well as in the literal sense when the UT Tower burns bright orange through the night to celebrate football victories. The Drag, an area along the western edge of UT’s campus, originated as a place to house businesses that provided services to students, such as campus bookstores. While students may still dominate this area, both in terms of who resides there as well as a group you’re bound to encounter while out and about, there is still a lot to love about the neighborhood even if you have left your co-ed days behind.
However, as any college area needs to be, The Drag is worth its weight in bars to hang out in, delicious takeout, and shops with an academic lean. Hole in the Wall has been a city institution since it first opened in 1974, having been the place where bands such as Spoon, Fastball, and Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears earned their stripes. It remains one of the best places to catch a shot of whiskey and a show in the live music capital. Another long-term local favorite is Spider House Cafe & Ballroom, whose string light-decked patio shines like a bat signal. You can satisfy your hunger with subs at Fricano’s Deli & Catering or pad thai at Madam Mam’s. In terms of bookstores in the city, there’s no place with a more special-selection, or kinder staff, than Malvern Books. It’s the type of curated shop that makes you feel like you have your own personal librarian giving you suggestions for your new favorites-so, even those who haven’t read since college are bound to find a page-tuner that’s impossible to put down.
“Small town America is something that many of us long for. Knowing your neighbors; walking to shops, restaurants, and entertainment; parks that are shared by the entire community. Mueller has created an environment to make all of this possible in the center of Austin. It is truly unique, and we absolutely love it.” – Ben Edgerton, Co-Founder and CEO of Contigo
Sites & Landmarks: Lake Park, the center of which the entire neighborhood of Mueller is built around, hosts plenty of green space to hang with some friends on a nice day or take a sunset run on one of the trails that encircle the lake from which the park gets its name. Browning Hanger, just to the side of Lake Park, is an open-air amphitheater that hosts one of Austin’s best farmers markets every Sunday.
Located in what was formerly the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, this area has been transformed into a modern version of those 1950s cliche sitcoms neighborhoods-the kind where you can bike to the (eco-friendly) grocery store for a gallon of (oat) milk. The fact that Mueller has more electric cars per capita than any area of the United States should tell you a lot about the people who live here-progressive families who want a slice of Americana without the hold-ups of the traditional suburbs. And with everything from a movie theater to a diner to an Irish pub within its accessible confines, it certainly delivers to the growing number of people moving into groups of houses that seemingly pop up overnight.
Just because Mueller may have more of a traditional feel, does not mean that it is any less chock full of business with distinctive Austin vibes. Contigo is a place to get a meal that incorporates all the flavors of the spacious Texan ranch-think flat iron steaks and brown butter sweet potatoes-in a location where you won’t risk losing cell service. The handmade pasta at L’Oca d’Oro is the single strongest argument against the rumor that good Italian food doesn’t exist in the Southwest. Grabbing a coffee at Halcyon or a scoop of Hill Country Honey & Vanilla Bean at Lick Honest Ice Creams makes a perfect portable treat for a walk around the duck-filled expanse of Lake Park. If that doesn’t scream family-friendly to you already, there’s also the Thinkery Children’s Museum in the area-where kids can play in the elaborate playground of their dreams. We won’t blame you if you join in the fun.
Tarrytown / Deep Eddy:
“Tarrytown is one of the most charming and beautiful neighborhoods in Austin. It’s a kind-hearted community that has always been incredibly supportive in Austin Pets Alive!’s efforts to save homeless pets. Each and every year, local church and school groups in the Tarrytown neighborhood hold supply drives to aid us in our cause. Best of all, there are tons of APA! dogs and cats living their best life in Tarrytown neighborhood. It’s a generous, goodhearted community that we’re lucky to call home to one of our shelters.” – Annie Hoelle, Dog Adoption Counselor at Austin Pets Alive!
Sites & Landmarks: Take a dip in the always refreshing waters of Deep Eddy, the oldest swimming pool in Texas. During the summer, the pool hosts Splash Part Movie Nights, where you can catch a family-friendly movie on a big screen while you float around.
The Tarrytown/Deep Eddy neighborhood has certainly had its fair share of controversy. Most notably in the late 90s-when a ban on the sale of animal products, or products deemed harmful to animals, in the Tarrytown Shopping Center drove out a bunch of beloved Austin businesses. Despite this, the debate encapsulates both sides of what makes this area so special-it is, at the same time, a place for people who care about both their local community, as well as the world at large.
The aforementioned ban, however, does make Tarrytown one of the best places for any animal lover. The Beer Plant is a restaurant that takes all the gastropub standards but makes them entirely vegan-you’ll never look at chicken and gravy the same way again after having their plant-based version. And, because you can’t really be a true citizen of Austin unless you own a rescue dog, be sure to stop by local shelter Austin Pets Alive!’s Tarrytown Dog Adoption Center.
We dare you to try and walk through their facility and not come home with a sweet furry friend. There are still some places for meat-eaters too-Pool Burger not only has some of the best burgers in town, but their variety of tiki drinks and jalapeño pimento are not to be missed. For a taste of classic Austin, be sure to stop by Deep Eddy’s Cabaret, where you can grab a Lone Star and be regaled by locals about the good ol’ days.
“The North Lamar neighborhood is home to some of the most exciting under the radar culinary genius in Austin. It’s a dynamic blend of cultures and cuisines-you can eat homemade tortillas for breakfast, Nigerian jollof rice for lunch, and Vietnamese pho for dinner, all within the confines of the same mini-mall. I love North Lamar because it’s diverse, delicious, and affordable, a true slice of old Austin.” – Emily Beyda, author of “The Body Double” and former food critic for The Austin Chronicle
Sites & Landmarks: Enter through the pagoda in the area’s Chinatown Center for some of the best Asian cuisine in all of Austin. You can browse the unique products found in the aisles of the MT Supermarket, which features grocery and household items from China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. For those who would rather buy than cook, dig into the Chinese comfort food at New Fortune-where the Peking Duck Platter is enough to serve four, but you will want to keep it all for yourself.
The cozy, residential neighborhood of North Lamar is something of a throwback to the times before major corporations sponsored South by Southwest. This area truly feels like a cultural gem-the vast amount of different nationalities that coverage in the space give it a real texture, not to mention an unbeatable food scene. Its location far north, and its plethora of strip malls, often make individuals pass it over when browsing the Austin area, but for those looking for real international charm, and prices far more affordable than many of the other parts of the city, North Lamar is the place to be.
So, let’s talk cuisine-because this is a neighborhood you will want to return to time and time again for dinner. The places to eat here are almost reminiscent of the best finds in a bigger city such as Los Angeles, where nondescript locations conceal authentic dishes and flavor combinations from around the world. In addition to the previously mentioned Chinatown Center, there is the North Gate Shopping Center, which has some standout restaurants featuring Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern specialties. For a switch up from the usual Tex-Mex flavors that dominate the Austin area, check out Mariscos Los Jarcochos, which serves Veracruz-style seafood, and follow it up with some Conchas from La Michoacana.
East Sixth Street & Holly:
“When we first opened our restaurant on East Sixth Street, we took a leap of faith. It’s been 11 years since then, and this area has developed into a vibrant and beautiful part of town. The culinary experiences are ample with diverse restaurants, bars, and food trucks. It’s a great community of local businesses with many alternatives for groceries and retail shops, plus the neighborhood has a strong artistic vibe, one that is unique to the east side.” – Paola Guerrero-Smith, Buenos Aires Café Co-Owner & Master of Grill
Sites & Landmarks: Established in 1877, Huston-Tillotson University is the oldest university in the city and a testament to the rich African-American heritage of East Austin. The beautiful campus not only hosts undergraduates but is a great place for adults looking to go back to school while balancing full-time jobs.
The East Sixth Street and Holly neighborhoods have traditionally been home to a thriving Black community in Austin. However, with the onset of gentrification, many of those Black-owned businesses have been driven out due to higher rents and national chains coming in. There are still some incredible local places to hit up in the area though-and its reputation as a mecca for hipsters is somewhat well-deserved, as you are bound to see at least one man-bun per street block.
The music venues are one of the main highlights of this area-Hotel Vegas is the place to catch your new favorite indie rock band before they hit it big, and you can two-step the night away at modern honky-tonk The White Horse. Revel in the dive bar glory of The Grackle, where you can play pool and eat some of the best vegan grub at Arlo’s food truck parked right outside. The Happy Hour at Licha’s Cantina really is a true respite from the work day-their spicy Vampiro, a cocktail made from tequila, sangrita, grapefruit juice, and jalapeno, will burn away the bad memories of a full inbox of emails. The empanadas at Buenos Aires Café are famous in the Austin region-you should probably try one of each just to get the full experience. After all that drinking and eating, take in a class at Practice Yoga Austin, where each teacher’s different, yet equally kind, style promises to allow for everybody to feel comfortable in downward dog.
West Lake Hills:
“My favorite Greenbelt entrance is a ten minute walk from where I live in Westlake. I love living in a neighborhood where it’s as easy and convenient to go get lost in the woods as it is for me to get to the downtown studios where I teach pole dance. This neighborhood offers the benefit of being close to all the vibrancy and energy of downtown without the logistical stress that comes from living smack dab in the middle of it. From Westlake, you can still easily bike to ACL or SXSW, but you’ll also have room to breathe… and a place to park.” – Villanelle Vee, Pole Dance Instructor at Minx + Muse
Sites & Landmarks: The best views of the city of Austin can be found from the top of Mount Bonnell which, despite its name, does not really require too much of an effort to climb its 106 stone stairs to the top. It’s a great place to bring a picnic or have some drinks on a first date and, like many areas in Austin, is dog-friendly.
Of all the neighborhoods on this list, West Lake Hills is for sure the one considered the most bougie-not to mention the most expensive to live in. And, while, with its gigantic mansions whose prices reach into the millions of dollars, it can be somewhat deserving of that reputation, it is also a place whose naturally beautifully hilly landscape is attracting the gaze of a new, younger generation of Austin locals. For those looking to raise their family in the city, the excellent schools in the area are a huge draw.
The cuisine found here, from the casual to the upscale, leans toward classic Texan favorites. You can take in a 20 mile view of the Hill Country landscape, while chowing down on their homemade bread and famous ribs, at The County Line on the Hill. Jack Allen’s Kitchen covers the two of the basic food groups found in Austin-with Tex-Mex classics, like Layered Chunky Queso with Green Chile Pork, and country-style dishes, like chicken fried chicken. Those craving some more international flavors however, can find their fix at the new West Lake Hills location of popular Austin Thai eatery Sway-their Blue Crab Fried Rice will leave you as awe-struck as the view from their upstairs patio.
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, Éire 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.
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.
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 Éire 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.
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.
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.
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 “sláinte.” 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.