Keep Austin Weird. I'm a big proponent of this slogan. Its quirky hipsters mixed with true cowboys make it a unique and entertaining destination. I was invited to ATX to celebrate a close friend's joint bachelorette/bachelor party. As it was my first time in the city, I got there a day early to explore with my sister-in-law, Sarah.
I arrived to The Kimpton Van Zandt in the early afternoon, just in time for lunch. Sarah and I enjoyed a quick bite at Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden and the sausages did not disappoint. Beware of the Andouille sausage as its spiciness is not for the weak. Once we had our fill, I headed to Fareground for the pineapple mezcal punch to commence the weekend getaway. Fareground is a sleek food hall located on the ground floor of a commercial building. Happy hour starts around 4pm at most bars, so we were out and about to begin the evening at Lucille, a pretty little patio bar on Rainey St. Dinner was still a few hours away, so we decided to stop at Little Lucy's for a snack. We ordered the most heavenly cinnamon sugar mini donuts and they were gone in a matter of minutes. As the golden hour started to set in we continued back to our hotel for their social hour complete with complimentary cocktails and music. Let's just say the margaritas were potent. Dinner at Colleen's Kitchen consisted of fried green tomatoes, a fried chicken biscuit, and our first taste of a pimento cheese spread. 6th St was our next stop. It reminded me of New Orleans because of the bars, party-goers, and live music venues. We popped into Friends Bar to hear a band for a bit. Back at Rainey St we lounged on the front patio at Icenhauer's. A sorority party was being hosted in the back space, so you can imagine how good the people watching was. We called it a night around 11:30pm in order to prepare for the day ahead.
We opted for a 9:45am spin class at SoulCycle at their downtown location with local celebrity instructor, Chris Chandler (shoutout to Chris for making me sweat like no other!). Our post workout meal was at Better Half Coffee + Cocktails. Is there a better way to follow-up a good sweat than by eating biscuits with jalapeno butter and fried chicken?!? I had the whole afternoon open before meeting up with the bachelorette party, so we grabbed an Uber and arrived at Allen's Boots in South Congress. If you're looking for some cowboy boots or a Stetson hat, this is the place to go. Most boots I looked at weren't a penny under $300, with some even going for as high as $1,700! We popped into a few other places within the neighborhood. Most notably, two beautiful hotels that you must check out: Hotel San José and Hotel Cecilia. Both were incredibly dreamy with decor to die for. I will be booking a room at either of them the next time I'm in town. It was about time to wrap things up with Sarah and begin the bachelorette festivities, so I said bye and prepared myself for the long night ahead.
Dinner with the girls was at Emmer + Rye, a true farm-to-table restaurant with dim sum carts occasionally passed by our table. The meal was delicious. Tip: order the labneh. You won't regret it. We bar hopped on Rainey St and enjoyed cocktails and dancing at Half Step, Unbarlievable, The Parlor Room, and Container Bar. The playground slide at Unbarlievable was especially fun.
It was time to meet up with the groom-to-be and his crew, so we met them for brunch at Moonshine Grill. We explored a new part of town, East Austin, which began at Austin Eastciders where we sipped cocktails out of cans. Next up was Kitty Cohen's. I absolutely adored this bar. It's a retro bar with a 1970s aesthetic and serves a delectable frosé (my favorite). They don't serve food, but there was a small pop-up food vendor on the patio. FYI, they allow you to bring food in as long as you clean up after yourself. Another vendor promoting wine was serving complimentary chambongs. Yes, please! If you don't know what a chambong is, just click this link and place your order. We moved on to Zilker Brewing Co. for a beer before dinner. Our last meal was at Lamberts where we feasted on a family style plates including queso, mac + cheese, and naturally, BBQ... how can you visit Texas and not eat BBQ??? We tried to walk-off our food on Sixth St and ducked into a few venues to listen to music before ending the day.
I woke up early that Sunday morning, and walked back to Fareground to get a matcha lavender latte and a kale burrito at Henbit. From there, a couple of friends and I ventured back to South Congress to do a bit more exploring. This became my favorite neighborhood in Austin. The streets are lined with cute boutiques, restaurants, and bars. You'll also find some of the famous murals (i.e. "I love you so much" and "Greetings from Austin"). There was a small outdoor market, so we checked-out the local vendors. If you're looking for a great boutique, I recommend Favor the Kind. They carry an array of fun gift ideas and home decor items. I bought myself a hat and a Christmas ornament. It was getting warm, so of course we had to get a cold treat at Amy's Ice Cream. They have a variety of distinct flavors like the "Saturday Morning Cartoons" ice cream (it apparently tastes like the leftover milk in your cereal bowl). We met up with the rest of the party at Revelry Kitchen + Bar to say our goodbyes. Sunday Funday seemed to be a big deal here as the bar was filled with lively day drinkers. One by one, my friends left, until I was the last one standing. I wanted to enjoy one last meal before heading to the airport, so I visited Launderette. It's in a residential neighborhood and worth checking out.
Austin's charm won me over and has now become one of my favorite cities. I'm not sure when I'll be back, but I hope it's sooner rather than later!