Where to Eat and Drink in Austin During ACL
Photo credit: Midnight Cowboy
The Austin City Limits Music Festival is less than a week away, so we put together a list of some new(ish) places to eat and drink in Austin. While Austin’s “other” festival SXSW, caters to a younger, free-beer-and-taco crowd, ACL tends to draw a more mature audience who can appreciate a fine cocktail and some cured, smoked meats. I mean, just look at the line up this year–Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iggy and the Stooges, The Black Keys–not exactly teenager material, but they’ve also managed to squeeze in some cooler acts like Florence and the Machine, M83, Crystal Castles and The Weeknd. Plus promoters C3 have strung together a decent list of official late night events for those of you not attending the festival.
Festival line-ups aside, Austin is one of our favorite cities to visit year-round. The weather is always decent, the beer is always cold and the food scene keeps growing and getting better. Thanks to our pal and local Austin resident and DJ/promoter/musician Ian Orth of Orthy for some of the tips! (Ps, Orthy is a rad band with an album called Suenos out on The Wurst label, and you should check them out).
Midnight Cowboy Modeling
313 E. 6th Street
Midnight Cowboy Modeling is located in the middle of 6th Street. This place is on the serious DL, and it looks shady as fuck outside, which is good cause it keeps the riff raff out and you need to enter around back in the alley. This place used to be a legendary Asian rub n’ tug brothel for years and years, and it finally got shut down a few years back. The owner of the Alamo Draft House snatched it up and made it a secret “speakeasy” for the need to know.
The Weather Up
1808 E. Cesar Chavez Street
Located on East Cesar Chavez, The Weather Up has incredible craft cocktails. This place has hired a guy whose main purpose is just to make sure their ice is proper. Seriously…they have a guy on salary who just makes ice for cocktails. Real!
Photo credit: Easy Tiger
709 E. 6th Street
Easy Tiger is amazing. Super great place to hang, right downtown at the beginning of 6th street. Interior design is on point, yet simple. The food was insanely good. Split the mixed grill board which is more than enough food. Their blood mary is pretty on point too. Atmosphere is totally chill, super Austin. I didn’t feel rushed at all and ended up hanging out there for about two and half hours. Highly recommended.
Amaya’s Taco Village
5804 N IH 5
Amaya’s is my favorite taco in the world and you can quote me. You have to order #24: two beef tacos with rice and beans and add a side of guacamole and jalapeños.
1209 E. 11th Street
Located on East 11th, Hillside Farmacy is legit. It took them a hot second to get their stride, but now they are totally off and running. I eat here easily twice a week. Their brunch is amazing! Biscuits and Gravy are a must! French Toast is a must! Great happy hour prices, and they have oysters. What more do you need? Oh, desert? Yeah they got homemade made-to-order ice cream sandwiches with MADE FRESH DAILY ICE CREAM AND COOKIES Y’ALL!
Photo credit: Knox Photographics
207 E 53rd Street
Owned by husband and wife team, Michael and Jessica Sanders, drink.well is an American pub with crafty cocktails that focus on American craft spirits with ingredients like strawberry-tarragon shrub and bitters. They also serve seasonal beer, wine and spirits along with a selection of over 60 American whiskeys. The menu is upscale bar food with items like charred brussel sprouts, “Crack and cheese” and crawfish-stuffed fried green tomatoes.
2024 South Lamar Boulevard
Barley Swine has been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and recommended by many a foodie friend. The restaurant is named after the chefs’ love of pork and beer, and the menu features local, seasonal ingredients heavy on the pork and meats. It’s a small place with seats along a bar. Good for sharing with two or three good friends if you don’t mind squeezing in!
Photo Credit: Banger’s
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
79 & 81 Rainey Street
Banger’s is located in the heart of Austin on historic Rainey Street. They claim to have Texas’ largest selection of traditional and exotic housemade sausages (30 to be precise) and Austin’s largest tap system with 103 beers on tap. They have a great outdoor space and a nice chill vibe too. They also have a dog park on site and even make special sausages for dogs! Perfect for big groups and pups.
The food line up at ACL isn’t too shabby either, and they’ve brought it many of the local’s favorite food trucks as vendors.