Fathom Favorites : Austin

1. Little Longhorn Saloon

Little Longhorn Saloon

With over 250+ live music venues in Austin, it can be hard to settle on just one. If you’re seeking out classic Honky Tonk, though, The Little Longhorn Saloon is a must-see. Be sure to visit on Sunday for a truly unforgettable Bingo experience (you read that right).

5434 Burnet Rd.
Austin, TX 78756
+1-512-524-1291

2. Broken Spoke

Broken Spoke

One of the state’s last original honky tonk dance halls is all soul, no frills. This 52-year-old spot is nothing short of iconic, and those who are light on their feet (or who have two left feet) would be remiss to pass up a dance here.

3201 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-442-6189

3. Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool

This watering hole is at the top of just about everyone’s Austin hit list, and for good reason: natural underground springs keep the pool temperature hovering around a constant 68 degrees, which means year-round swimming, lounging, and people-watching. The scene is always a mix of locals and tourists, so you know it’s cool.

2201 Barton Springs Rd. 
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-867-3080

4. Whip In

Whip In

Austin is a city known for its innovation, and this mashup — gastropub meets Tex-mex meets Indian fusion — may be just the thing we never knew we needed. Chutney con queso? Pulled pork sandwiches on naan? Yes, please.

1950 S. IH 35 Frontage Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-442-5337

5. The Townsend

The Townsend

In the front, it's a classy and elegant bar. In the back, it's one of the best acoustically sound rooms for seeing live bands. Original cocktails from Justin Elliott are on-point! It's a great place to stay from happy hour through closing. Hot chicken is a must.

718 Congress Ave. #100
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-887-8778

6. Half Step

Half Step

This shining gem of a cocktail bar on bustling Rainey Street is the sister restaurant of world-renowned Varnish in Los Angeles. Created by Austin native Chris Bostick, expect a concise list of drinks alongside local bands through the week. While you're in this hood, drop by other classic bungalow bars like Lustre Pearl, Banger's, Icenhauer's, and No Va.

75 1/2 Rainey St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-391-1877

7. Backbeat

Backbeat

Jessica and Michael Sanders — of North Loop neighborhood favorite Drink Well — bring their blend of food, customer service, and cocktails to South Lamar (it's just a few doors down from local landmark The Saxon Pub). With fair Austin weather, the rooftop is the perfect place to drink and listen to eclectic playlists.

1300 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-551-9980

8. Small Victory

Small Victory

Tucked away on the second floor of an office building, the bar is local bartender Josh Loving's first solo venture. The meticulous approach to classic cocktails, served in an intimate space, exists outside of time and makes it easy to forget the world's troubles.

108 E. 7th St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-737-701-0500

9. Péché

Péché

One of the first classic cocktail bars in Austin and a longtime breeding ground for many of the city's best bartenders. Along with hearty food, Péché easily claims the largest curated liquor selection in town.

208 W. 4th St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-494-4011

10. Elizabeth Street Cafe

Elizabeth Street Cafe

By morning it's a Vietnamese coffee house, by night, a cocktail spot (try the Red Dragon with beet-infused sake or coconut milk punch). Fill the belly with a banh mi or spicy noodles.

1501 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-291-2881

11. Mean-Eyed Cat

Mean-Eyed Cat

It used to be a chainsaw shop and there are still signs on the wall advertising blades. But don't let that scare you. These days, it's a bar...no, make that a shrine to the late, great Johnny Cash. They only serve beer. (Seriously, no joke: No liquor, and the bartenders will set you straight right quick if you act like a jerk about it.)

1621 W. 5th St.
Austin, TX 78703
+1-512-920-6645

12. Antone's

Antone's

The first music club on 5th Street, Antone's is one of the largest and most established venues in town: Everyone has played here. If you have a thing about crowds, you might want to check out smaller venues like Stubbs or Mohawk a few blocks up.

305 E. 5th St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-814-0361

13. Curra's Grill

Curra's Grill

The self-anointed Mother of all Mex gets raves for its authentic and remarkably cheap food. But the best thing is the avocado margarita: Yes, an avocado margarita. It's the marriage of good fat and good tequila. Sounds gross, tastes incredible. You have to try it. Then have camarones campeche or enchiladas con chile colorado and die happy.

614 E. Oltorf St.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-444-0012

14. Dry Creek

Dry Creek

A two-story beer shack atop Mt. Bonnell is the best place to drink suds and listen to Johnny Cash on the jukebox until sundown (when they shut down). It's open seasonally and the telephone doesn't always work, so you'll have to make the drive to scope it out.

4812 Mt. Bonnell Rd.
Austin, TX 78731
+1-512-453-9244

15. The White Horse

The White Horse

Cowboys meet hipsters in an unconventional honky-tonk saloon for free live music and the two-step. Down Makers on tap, then get a shoe shine out back. On your way out, hit another diehard bar, Yellow Jacket Social Club, just a block away.

500 Comal St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-553-6756

16. Continental Club

Continental Club

"Who's at the Continental?" is a phrase you hear a lot in Austin. Open since the 1950s, the Continental is legendary. Located in a strip of stores along South Congress Boulevard, it's been a supper club and a burlesque club but for the last four decades has been the premier place to see live music. If you're lucky, Patricia Vonne, Haybale, or Joe Ely will be putting on a show.

1315 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-441-2444

17. Butterfly Bar

Butterfly Bar

Three blocks of Manor Road are dense with bars and restaurants, so just spending the evening there will be a mini-getaway. Hidden behind a big wooden wall, the Butterfly Bar is attached to a little theater called The Vortex, and Patrizi's truck is parked outside. Get the cacio e pepe pasta with a coddled egg.

2307 Manor Rd.
Austin, TX 78722
+1-512-478-5282

18. The Lost Well

The Lost Well

A beloved downtown punk rock dive bar brought back to life. The also beloved-but-displaced-for-development Dog and Duck British-style pub is now right across the street. And for terrific sandwich and brew, Gourmands is right next door.

2421 Webberville Rd.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-524-0590

19. Firehouse Lounge

Firehouse Lounge

Across the street from The Driskill, enter the hostel in a circa-1885 fire station and open the library wall to find a hidden lounge and music venue.

605 Brazos St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-212-4244

20. Güero's Taco Bar

Güero's Taco Bar

If you're lucky, Della will be working. Say hello and ask for a table outside on the patio for the best people-watching. Order the official drink of Austin, a tasty margarita — frozen, shaken, straight up, any way you like it — and watch the ecletic townfolk go by. Don't miss the chips and salsa bar; you need something to absorb the tequila.

1412 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-447-7688

21. King Bee

King Bee

A local favorite with one of the best mezcal selections in town, creative pizza, and a neighborhood vibe. The mirrored doors are a tip-off to cocktail bar neighbor Dozen Street.

1906 E. 12th St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-600-6956

22. Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy

A reservations-only speakeasy on "Dirty 6th" has a non-descript door and a buzzer to get you in for tableside cocktailing in little booths where, until a few years ago, massages (ahem) were dispensed.

313 E. 6th St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-843-2715

23. Hard Luck Lounge

Hard Luck Lounge

An enclosed beer garden and bar with its own little compound away from it all. Southern food with a global flare from the Lady Luck food truck will help with the hangover.

3526 E. 7th St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-867-5309

24. The Aristocrat Lounge

The Aristocrat Lounge

Also referred to by its old name, The Poodle Dog, this dive is dark and filled with regulars playing Skeeball, but offers craft cocktails and a great selection of mezcal. A special cocktail menu goes with Southern delights from Three Little Pigs outside.

6507 Burnet Rd.
Austin, TX 78757
+1-512-363-5288

25. Whisler's

Whisler's

Rustic craft cocktail bar downstairs, cozy Oaxacan-style mezcalería upstairs, Paul Qui's East Side King Thai-Kun outside. And live music almost every night.

1816 E. 6th St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-480-0781

26. The Liberty

The Liberty

Austin has food truck lots all over town, and there are plenty parked at dive bars. Head straight to the backyard, where everybody is very drunk, having converged for cans of Pearl Snap German Pils and, more dramatically, to line up at Top Chef-winner Paul Qui's East Side King truck for a plate of WTF-good chicken karaage and crowd-favorite deep-fried roasted beets dusted with shichimi and dressed with kewpie mayo.

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1618 E. 6th St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-514-0502

27. Easy Tiger

Easy Tiger

Bake shop and beer garden, a winning combination. Play table tennis by the creek, and pair your craft beer with a homemade pretzel and beer cheese.

709 E. 6th St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-614-4972

28. Sandy's Hamburgers

Their frozen custard and hot dogs cure all.

603 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-478-6322

29. La Mexicana Bakery

La Mexicana Bakery

Do not be put off by the signs for the bail bondsman and discount phone cards: The food here is amazing. The lovely counter ladies will cook up the best breakfast tacos you have ever eaten. The corn tortillas are big with the gluten-free crowd. Have two or three. Come on, they're little.

1924 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-443-6369

30. Bottecelli's

Bottecelli's

Delicious Italian food courtesy of the handsome Botticelli brothers of Chicago. (Do not mention the Bears unless you want to be there for hours.) Start at the bar and ask Tim, the manager/bartender, to pour you a pinot nero, then sit out back and order the amazing Botticelli bread, a bread pillow with stuffings — kind of like the love child of a pizza and a calzone. The original (grandma's recipe) has prosciutto, coppa, mortadella, salami, and cheese. 

1321 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-916-1315

31. Hillside Farmacy

Hillside Farmacy

Classy bistro food in an old-fashioned drug store. Your prescription: gigantic sandwiches and homemade fountain sodas. 

1209 E. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-628-0168

32. La Barbecue

La Barbecue

This barbecue trailer’s tender, smoky, flavorful brisket is said to rival Franklin BBQ's —high praise from Austinites. It is in a section of town that in two years might be just as busy as Rainey St., but for now, it still flies under the radar.

1906 E. Cesar Chavez St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-605-9696

33. Barley Swine

Barley Swine

Bryce Gilmore moved his beloved nose-to-tail restaurant to a bigger, better spot uptown. His tasting menu is still there, but with new a la carte additions like crab tamales and pig skin noodles. No time to leave downtown? Drop by his other South Lamar spot, Odd Duck, for equally outstanding small plates (think mustard seed tater tots, shitake doughnuts, and croissants with runny egg yolk).

6555 Burnet Rd., #400
Austin, TX 78757
+1-512-394-8150

34. Polvos

Polvos

A classic South Austin Mexican spot. It's reliably and authentically local, with awesome salsa, enchiladas, and drinks. If there's a wait, consider walking down First Street towards the increasingly-popular gourmet food truck lot. 

2004 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-441-5446

35. Josephine House

Josephine House

Don't let the white marble bar and countertops fool you: this place might be the epitome of refinement and chic, but no one's too good for breakfast hamburgers and huevos rancheros. Cure your case of the Monday's with their weekly steak frites night. 


1601 Waterson Ave.
Austin, TX 78703
+1-512-477-5584

36. Ramen Tatsu-Ya

Ramen Tatsu-Ya

The original location in South Lamar has a line so steady there's a water station and ropes to organize the hoards. Instead, head north to their second spot for their Tonkotsu Original, an umami-bomb with pork bone broth and pork belly.

8557 Research Blvd., #126
Austin, TX 78758
+1-512-893-5561

37. Sawyer & Co.

Sawyer & Co.

Go for the Cajun cuisine and Hurricanes at this diner-style spot (locals will tell you it's where Arkie's used to be). The outside patio is carpeted with astroturf, but you should sit at the counter surrounded by mid-century modern decor for crawfish etouffee or breakfast "all the time."

4827 E. Cesar Chavez St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-531-9033

38. Justine's

Justine's

A French-influenced bar and restaurant with a huge garden for cocktails, escargot, and steak frites. It's also home to the Lumiere Tintype photography trailer where you can commission and receive an old-timey self-portrait in under an hour.

4710 E. 5th St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-385-2900

39. Dai Due

Dai Due

If you want something more unusual in the way of juicy meat, Dai Due on the Manor Road strip has an in-house butcher. Watch racks of elk swing behind the line and in front of the three adjustable wood-fired grills on their way to becoming your steak or sausage. On his quest to define a regional cuisine for central Texas, chef Jesse Griffiths sources all his ingredients from within a 30-mile radius and offers an all-Texas wine list.

2406 Manor Rd.
Austin, TX 78722
+1-512-524-0688

40. Veracruz All Natural

Veracruz All Natural

No trip to Austin is complete without a proper Tex-Mex breakfast. Make the trek eastward for cultish morning migas and extensive vegetarian bites by sisters Reyna and Maritza, and if you happen to visit on the weekend, be sure to order the barbacoa taco.

1704 E. Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-981-1760

41. Micklethwait Craft Meats

Micklethwait Craft Meats

From Tuesdays to Saturdays, just across the I-35 in a quiet little food truck park, you'll find one of the newer barbecue spots serving delicious pulled pork and jalapeño cheese grits. If you're there on Saturday and feeling brave, try the pulled goat.

1309 Rosewood Ave.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-791-5961

42. Franklin BBQ

Franklin BBQ

Widely considered to be the best barbecue in town (if not the best in the entire country). Bring a good book and your order: brisket, ribs, crunchy slaw. Line up by 9.30 A.M. — meat sells out by noon. Closed Mondays.

900 E. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-653-1187

43. Uchi

Uchi

Tyson Cole serves adventurous Japanese plates in his cozy James Beard award-winning spot. Order the hama chili and shag roll. If you can't make it there, consider the equally great small plates at sister-spot Uchiko.

801 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-916-4808

44. Gourdough's

Gourdough's

The most inventive and lip-smacking doughnuts you never dared dream about, served up from a vintage airstream trailer. Most people rave about the bacon doughnut, but also try the Blue Balls: small rounds of dough with an incredible blueberry sauce.

1503 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-912-9070

45. Contigo

Contigo

Fresh from the ranch, this bar food comes with a few winning twists, like ox tongue sliders, rabbit, and dumplings. Cocktails are stellar, so stick around for happy hour.

2027 Anchor Ln.
Austin, TX 78723
+1-512-614-2260

46. Jo's

Jo's

A beloved local institution where you'll find an eclectic mix of artists, techies, musicians, and politicians getting a start to their day with a caffeinated beverage and a breakfast taco. It's also where you'll find the original "I love you so much" mural, so you know it's Instagram-approved. 

1300 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-444-3800

47. South Congress Hotel

South Congress Hotel

Hardwood floors, muted colors, and walk-in showers stocked with Aesop products bring a modern twist to the South Congress antique shopping street. Rooms and public spaces are flooded with light — opt for a suite with floor-to-ceiling windows and/or balconies for even more sunshine. See if you can score a seat at the twelve-seat Otoko sushi bar by local food-hero Paul Qui.

1603 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-920-6405

48. Hotel Van Zandt

Hotel Van Zandt

A music-themed Kimpton hotel in the historic Rainey Street district. Dark wood, metallic accents, and leather finishes in the lobby and guest rooms reinforce edgy, rock 'n' roll vibes. Don't miss drinks and live music at Geraldine's.

605 Davis St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-542-5300

49. Lake Austin Spa Resort

Lake Austin Spa Resort

A 35-minute drive from the airport gets you to the shores of the Colorado River and the best spa retreat in Texas Hill Country. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Some have private jacuzzis; all have views of the lake. Every room comes stocked with the spa's handcrafted, signature skincare line in two scents, Lavender Fields and Gifts of the Garden.

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1705 S. Quinlan Park Rd.
Austin, TX 78732
+1-512-372-7300


50. Kimber Modern

Kimber Modern

Just off the noisy South Congress Avenue, Kimber Modern is an oasis hidden under a canopy of oaks. Take refuge in minimalist and thoughtful design, bright light pouring through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and downtime on the patio hammocks. Book early — the seven rooms fill up fast.

110 The Circle
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-912-1046

51. Hotel San Jose

Hotel San Jose

Austin's quintessential boutique hotel — low-key, casual, cool, and stylish — was constructed from an old motel. Props for the best micheladas in town and fabulous kimono bathrobes, custom-made for the hotel's guests.

1316 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-444-7322

52. Hotel Saint Cecilia

Hotel Saint Cecilia

Named after the patron saint of music and poetry, the five suites in this small hotel (three studios, six poolside bungalows) are each inspired by a pop-culture icon. We love the idea of bathing in a private, bamboo-lined outdoor shower in the Patti Smith suite.

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112 Academy Dr.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-852-2400

53. Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Four Seasons Hotel Austin

It's hard to feel fancy in Austin, but the hotel's bar (complete with celeb sightings) may be your best bet. If you have a room with a balcony that faces the lake, you can watch the bats fly out of the Congress Street bridge —a beloved city pastime. 

98 San Jacinto Blvd.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-478-4500

54. The Driskill

The Driskill

Built in 1886, it still stands today as a vestige of historic Austin. The stained glass dome and art-deco lobby reinforce the space’s antique charm, but newly renovated rooms give you the best of both worlds.

604 Brazos St.
Austin, TX 78701
+1-512-439-1234

55. Austin Motel

Austin Motel

Each of the 41 rooms are individually decorated with bright colors and vintage furniture. This SoCo spot, open since 1938, is cozy, unpretentious, and close to everything cool (Jo's Coffee, Continental Club, and some of the city's best antique shops). Plus: It's always a fun scene at the kidney-shaped pool.

1220 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-441-1157

56. Raven + Lily

Raven + Lily

Fair trade jewelry, clothing, and accessories all made with locally-sourced and eco-friendly materials. A percentage of the proceeds go towards funding micro loans for women in developing countries, so you can feel good about your purchase. 

Domain NORTHSIDE, 11601 Rock Rose Ave. Ste. 110
Austin, TX 78758
+1-737-209-1072

57. Nannie Inez

Nannie Inez

Contemporary, minimalist design from around the world draws tourists and locals alike to this indie boutique dealing in home goods, art, jewelry and apothecary. Go for the decor inspiration or to pick up that perfect souvenir.

701 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-428-6639

58. Allens Boots

Allens Boots

You're in Texas. You'll want (need?) a pair of cowboy boots at some point. You could spend hours browsing the aisles upon aisles of different styles at Allens, and even if you end up passing on the boots it'll still feel like an afternoon well spent. 

1522 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-447-1413

59. Whole Foods Headquarters

Whole Foods Headquarters

Calling all foodies: Whole Food's flagship store has a walk-in beer cooler, taco bar, and fresh-baked pizza counter. Yum! 

525 N. Lamar Blvd. 
Austin, TX 78703
+1-512-542-2200

60. Uncommon Objects

Uncommon Objects

This self-proclaimed “emporium of transcendent junk” is filled to the brim with antique, quirky relics: feline taxidermy, antique busts, and off-beat decorative objects abound.

1602 Fortview Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
+1-512-442-4000

61. Austin Vintage Guitar

Austin Vintage Guitar

A polished selection of Fender Stratocasters, Gibson Les Pauls, amps, and other high-end instruments. Feel free to ask one million questions: they will answer them all.

4306 Red River
Austin, TX 78751
+1-512-428-9100

62. Helm Boots

Helm Boots

Stylish, timeless, and hand-made, this handsome line of men's footwear is handcrafted in the U.S. from locally sourced materials. Their flagship showroom is a converted library building from the late '30s and you’re likely to hear owner Joshua Bingaman's voice on the line when you call.

1200 E. 11th St. #101
Austin, TX 78702
+1-512-609-8150