Who doesn’t love a good deal on an excuse to day drink mimosas? It’s not alcoholism, it’s brunch. Also, if you’re like me in the sense that you can go for a mimosa anytime, any place, you’re in good hands! Here’s my list of go-to places for our favorite sparkling bevearge on weekends, and every other day of the week:
The Park: Enjoy $1 mimosas in 5 different flavors until 5! There’s also a $5 Grey Goose bloody Mary bar, and optional $16 brunch buffet.
Wu Chow: Pair their tantalizing dim sum offerings with $1 mimosas from 11-3 on Sunday.
El Sapo: Burger Brunch is their monthly event (1/15, 2/12, 3/12) with DJs, burger deals, $1 mimosas, and other drink specials.
Bangers: The ‘Manmosa’ may be $10, but that’s because it’s an entire damn bottle of bubbly. Well worth the cost, though sadly limit 1 per customer.
VOX Table: With an approachably priced upscale menu, this place offers both $1 and $3 mimosas, with a slight variance in the quality of sparkling wine.
Isla: Tropically inspired mimosas are $5, but the real draw for me is the delicious food offering from 11-3. Don’t expect your typical eggs and pancakes, but get ready for delicacies from the islands like scallop cebiche.
Blue Dahlia: You can grab $2 mimosas anytime, or make it a pint-sized double for $4. Pair that with their weekday happy hour from 3-6:30 which boasts heavily discounted tartines, and you’re in for one hell of an afternoon.
Bouldin Creek: Regularly sized mimosas are $3, but you can upgrade to a large for just $5.
El Chile: Brunch isn’t just for weekends! El Chile has a daily brunch from 11-3 (then immediately rolls into happy hour). The $4 ‘Big Ass Mimosa’ is incredibly large, though they do add ice to it.
Kerbey Lane: This 24 hour cafe offers $2 mimosas and $12 carafes.
Everyone’s screaming, “New year, new me!” and I’m sitting here with a mimosa waiting on the ‘resolutioneers’ to leave my gym. It’s called balance, people! Let’s be realistic, food is fun! Drinks are fun! Socializing is fun! Just because the holidays stopped, doesn’t mean that living has to. Here’s my roundup of the best food-related, wine-related, cocktail-related, and just plain fun (mostly free) events that are coming up.
Kimchi! Kimchi! Kimchi! On Thursday the 12th, check out this amazing, hands-on Kitchen Underground class on Home Fermentation. Word on the street is, there will be cocktails, snackies, and you definitely get to take home your own jar of kimchi.
Wednesday, the 18th, Craftsman will be hosting a $15 beer and cheese pairing class that sounds well worth the cost: 5-3 oz pours, 3 cheeses, crackers, and dried fruits.
Imagine a free Italian wine tasting. Got that visualized? Well, on Thursday the 19th you can have it at Italic from 4:30-6:30. There will also be a pop-up dinner, and a ton of a la carte items.
Get to El Chile on Tuesday, the 24th for an art reception, tequila samples, and $5 margarita specials from 7-9.
What the hell, Edible Austin? This Bacon and Beer Festival on Saturday the 28th sounds a-ma-zing (strap on some Uggs, and read that in a super white girl voice). It’s not just bacon. It’s a ton of local places making things with bacon. The list includes places like Fukumoto Sushi, Amy’s Ice Cream, Frank, Canon + Belle, plus several more! Even better, check out the list of beer providers.
I meet a lot of tourists on Tinder. I know that’s a weird thing to admit, but I find it entertaining. I can’t open that ridiculous app without seeing 200 new messages from: Australians on road trips, British businessmen, touring musicians, or software engineers from out of town throwing a bachelor party. For a while, I would share my nightlife guide of where to go out (which I still recommend), but more often than not I get asked about where to eat. Well, guy-likely-holding-up-some-animal-he-killed-in-his-profile-photo, here’s your guide:
Everyone wants to know where they ‘have to’ go. That’s subjective, since you may have a certain price range, or food style that you want. I am seasoned enough to know that everyone wants tacos, and barbecue when they come. Fair enough! I get it. Tacos are amazing.
I would definitely start at Torchy’s Tacos. Get the queso. Don’t question me. Just get it. President Obama ate there, and he didn’t get the queso. It broke my heart. Also, it’s best to go to the truck on South 1st. BYO? You know it. I’d say Mellizoz, and Taco Deli are also great in their own right, but Torchy’s is special. Ask for some diablo sauce, and if you ask for anything to be made ‘trashy’ they remove the lettuce, and add queso. Another great stop is Veracruz All Natural which is just up the road from La Barbecue.
I will not name names, but I cringe when tourists consistently tell me they have been to _________ Barbecue, and loved it. No! That is not good barbecue. Why do you all go there?! Who is spreading lies that you should go to this place?! WHY!? Again, I’ll never tell you which place it is, but if you feel compelled to go there, and it’s not Franklin or La Barbecue, then definitely reconsider what you’re about to do. Yes, the rumors about the Franklin line are true, but it’s part of the charm. You bring a bunch of booze, show up around 8 in the morning, and proceed to get hammered for the next 3 hours. La Barbecue is going to be a lot easier to get into, and there’s a lot of debate about which one is best.
In my last guide, I talked a lot about the food trucks you can find on East 6th. There’s some incredible Asian food, and a very famous pizza truck connected to one of my go-to dive bars. If that appeals to you, and it should, refer back to that.
Now, onto my favorite part: FANCY FOOD. Don’t get scared yet! I know the touring musicians just clicked away from this page, but the British businessmen with company cards know what I’m talking about. (Also, I totally will tell you when the happy hour is, so don’t panic – if I can afford it, you can too).
Austin is home to the number one sushi restaurant in the country. That’s right. Yes, I know we’re not near water, and you’re not the first person to inform me of that. I get it. You’re surprised. Uchiko has got to be my favorite place on earth, and their daily happy hour is 5-6:30. Sit at the bar, and prepare to be blown away. They’re fresh, inventive, and worth it. If you’re reading this, and want to take me there? You should. #rly #yarly #srsly
Another incredible spot is Odd Duck, and if you’re looking for a life-changing brunch, this is the spot for you. They also have a happy hour, and happen to be next to Uchi, the sister restaurant to my beloved Uchiko. If you’re situated on the east side (like me!) then I highly recommend Launderette.
Now, keep in mind that there are hundreds and hundreds of other restaurants around, but these are the ones that I like, and for good reason. I would say Uchiko is my ‘must,’ but this is your trip, and you do you! There are many other wonderful restaurants that specialize in specific food types such as: Barlata for tapas, Clark’s Oyster Bar/Perla’s for incredible seafood, and the renowned Ramen Tatsu-Ya for, well… that’s obvious. I’m sure that I left a lot out, but this is a good guide to get you started. I hope it helped out, and yes, you can buy me a drink.
Nothing can truly top Kentucky bourbon, or the Kentucky Derby, but we can’t ignore the fresh seafood, or exhilarating Preakness Stakes in Maryland. Recently, I took up a challenge to reinvent the classic Preakness Cocktail, The Black Eyed Susan, but with Maker’s Mark bourbon. The best of both worlds! Adding to the recipe my own easy-on-the-sugar twist, I think you’ll be fan.
This recipe can be easily edited to suit your tastes, though prepared my way will turn lean itself more to the tart and zesty side. Just how I like it! Here’s how to make the cocktail:
1 shot Maker’s Mark
1/4 shot Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur (or any orange liqueur)
Squeeze of 1/2 Cara Cara or Blood Orange
Sparkling water (lemon/orange flavored works well!)
Add the first set of ingredients to a tumbler filled with ice, filling the glass the rest of the way up with sparkling water. Feel free to add more juice or liqueur. Heck, if you’re me, you’ll likely be adding another half shot of bourbon! Bottoms up, and may the odds be ever in your horse’s favor.
Note: I received bourbon samples without payment to make this blog post. Recipe and opinions are all 100% by me.
The folks behind Buenos Aires Cafe have opened a dark, intimate, and romantic speakeasy just below their east Austin location.
Dubbed Milonga Room, this rustic (and faaaaancy) cocktail bar provides a secret retreat from the frantic static of the nightlife venues above.
The menu boasts handcrafted cocktails, focuses heavily on Fernet, and even has a spectacular wine selection. The vintage furniture, obsessive attention to detail, and and serene 1920s vibe make this the ideal date spot. As with any speakeasy, the door is password protected. Be sure to follow Milonga Room on social media for access to their South American Prohibition-era oasis.
It’s that time again! The Austin Food Blogger Alliance has released the best damn guide to where to eat and drink in Austin, and I have once again taken on the laborious task of writing about cocktails. I expect a thank you card from each and every one of you after what I put my liver through. (I loved every minute of it!)
A colorful, whimsical bakery with an array of tasty, fruit-forward cocktails. If you’re hanging out near Mueller, it’s definitely worth a try even for the ambiance alone! Happy hour is weekdays from 3-6 with $2 off all cocktails, beer and wine.
This elegant space has got to be 1 of my top 5 cocktail experiences, ever. Maybe top 3. Okay, definitely top 3. The space is luxurious, the staff are masterful in their knowledge and ability, and they even have delicious food. One of my favorite cocktails there is the Bottom Buzzer, which is even adorned with a delicate pink flower. The Townsend has an obsession with detail, and it shows. If you’re looking for a great cocktail experience, then definitely come here. (Also, I know I’m not supposed to be talking about food, but they serve some of the most tender octopus in town.)
One of the newest, and most impressive spots in town. This adorably renovated house feels modern, sleek, and even somehow cozy. The cocktails are as easy on the eyes as they are on the lips. The Honeymoon Suite may look like it’ll taste like dessert, but it brings a delicate balance with the tart dried berries they sprinkle atop to make it appear like rose petals on sheets. Their Legs in the Air cocktail (they like to have fun the with the names) adds a lovely herbal note with violet, and the I Would Hit That is perhaps their most visually arresting.
Infinitely secretive, and hardly advertised, this place draws the crowd that wants to be ‘in the know.’ The cocktails are expertly crafted, and they have an obsession with ice, which clearly works in their favor.
This small, luxe space was formerly occupied by a massage parlor, hence the name. Mystery abounds, reservations are practically mandatory, and this bar eschews loud, club-like scenes for intimate booths with cart service; you get your drink made table side, and the bartenders truly know their stuff.
This intimate mezcaleria offers balanced, artfully crafted cocktails. The menu boasts over 20 mezcals currently, and the owners tirelessly obsess over the quality of their products, and take great care in carefully curating their selection. There’s a great patio, and I consider this bar to be one of the best kept secrets in town.
This spot, known mostly for their incredible food, also boasts an incredible cocktail program. Many of the current offerings are perfect for the patio, including their Tequila Fresa Press, and wine gimlets. I personally love the Oaxahappened, a smoky mezcal cocktail with salt bitters.
This tasty burger spot offers more than just frozen margaritas. Their impressive cocktail program includes several creations made with house-infused spirits, including the tequila-based El Cucuy which is infused with jalapeños. If you’re looking for something balanced and light, look no further than their cucumber and gin drink, the Sureño.
Beverage manager, Robert Stevens, has created a menu using seasonal ingredients from local farms. Many of the components, including shrubs and sodas, are made in house. Select drinks are available for their Swine Time happy hour Monday-Thursday from 5-6:30.
Isla’s Caribbean cantina makes the best Daiquiris and Mai Tais in town, with several delicious creations of their own. They have an impressive selection of rums, and do offer flights. Happy hour runs all night on Wednesday and 4-7 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Peche (next door to Isla) is known for absinthe, and pre-prohibition cocktails with a twist. Not sure what to order? Tell the bartender what flavors you usually like, and they’re sure to make you something you’ll love. Happy hour (all night Sunday and Monday, and 4-7 Tuesday-Friday) offers $5 select cocktails.
This place was named Austin’s Best New Cocktail Bar 2015 by Thrillist. The menu celebrates the 7 major drinking eras since the cocktail’s birth in the 1800s. Don’t stop at the downstairs bar, there’s also an intimate lounge upstairs. Happy hour is all night Tuesday, and 5-7 any other day.
This unassuming pub offers more than just elevated bar fare, they also have a solid selection of specialty cocktails that you can get for $2 off from 3-7. I recently had the Extra Credit which had just a hint of sweetness to match a slightly bitter flavor, and was balanced all around.
They don’t stop at beef: there’s also pork, poultry, sausage, lamb, and an intoxicating (get it!) wine list. Do you need any more reasons to go? Well, I’ve got you covered…
Dine in this Friday-Sunday, and get a complimentary gift card to use later! Now you have an excuse to have deliciously prepared proteins not once, but twice! Besides, I’m a huge fan of any excuse to celebrate Valentine’s Day (since, you know, it’s my birthday and all).
Austin is a popular destination for work conferences, weekend get-aways, extended vacations, and straight-up moving. I can’t open Tinder without at least 5 matches messaging me: “I’m in Austin for the first time. What should I do here?” Fear not, 30-year- old-man-petting-a-tiger-in-your-default-photo, I’m here to help.
My favorite piece of advice to give to newcomers is to start at Whisler’s Tavern on east 6th, then work your way west. There’s so much to do, and it’s all within walking distance! Grab a pricey cocktail, and compensate for the cost by eating from East Side King’s Thai-Kun food truck. It’s practically attached to the bar. A favorite of mine is the oh, so spicy Waterfall Pork. If Whisler’s isn’t your thing, save a few bucks by starting just a little further down the road at Liberty Bar. There you’ll find cheap beer, and another popular East Side Kinglocation. Pro-tip: Try the crispy beets. Now, keep walking west…
You’ll pass by the famous Qui, which you should consider eating at if you recently won that billion dollar Powerball, and hit Hotel Vegas. This place is great for dancing, meeting exceptionally drunk individuals, making horrifying one-night-stand-related choices, and is ripe for people-watching on their back patio, which is shared with 2 other bars. Fun fact: Paul Qui, owner of Qui, is a Top Chef winner, and also owns those aforementioned food trucks. I’m not advertising for the guy, but all of his food is truly amazing. So, pick your Paul Qui spot based on your budget. It’ll be good at any tier.
Now, it’s decision time. You can cut across the street, and round the corner at Cisco’s to visitWhite Horse (which is a mix of hip and honky tonk), or you can keep going in the same direction down 6th Street. I’m not a huge country fan, not even ironically, so I don’t really make this detour, but a lot of people do. Do you want to get your ‘Texas’ on? Go nuts. Otherwise, if you continue west, you’ll be coming upon a mediocre-unless-you’re-drunk food truck park, and even more bars!
For cheap, strong pours I recommend Violet Crown Social Club, which is connected to the famous Via 313 Pizza. If you prefer a more ‘fancy’ type of drink, then swing by East Side Show Room, which has expensive-yet-good food as well. As you continue, you’ll see more restaurants, and no less than 8 staggering drunks asking you for cigarettes. Reader, beware! If you go too far on this path (past IH-35), then you will find yourself on Dirty 6th, which is the “true” 6th Street, and the one puking frat guys, Bourbon Street fans, and lost tourists love. Mufasa says it best:
You may have visited E. 6th for the numerous restaurants and bars, but have you considered going a few streets down? This is my very walkable guide to having an epic, though possibly intoxicated day on a street near and dear to my heart. Take a bus there, and Uber back. Problem solved! Let’s start…
Kick things off with a mimosa at Cenote. It’s at the far end of E. 1st, and near IH-35. You’ll grab some mimosas, maybe some snacks, and enjoy the patio. It gets packed though, so be competitive. If someone’s getting up, you better set up camp ASAP. Once you’ve got your morning buzz going (caffeine or booze), pack up and walk to the Blue Cat Cafe. You’ll get to snuggle adoptable buddies, who’ll probably be more interested in sleeping than touching you, and check out about a million cat toys. There’s a vegan food truck attached, so go nuts! You might want to pace yourself though…
Is it lunch time? IT’S LUNCH TIME! Hike a few yards up, and you’ll be at the world-famous La Barbecue. If you’re not from Austin: go there. If you are from Austin: go there. Just go there. Trust me. You’ll enjoy it, or I’ll eat my hat. (Joke’s on you! I don’t own hats.) (Really though. It’s world famous. Jimmy Kimmel swears by it, and I think that counts for something? Maybe? Either way, it’s up there with Franklin, but with way better lines.) I should probably remind you to pace. yourself. Don’t be in no meat coma. You better keep your calm on that La Barbecue. Order about 1/4th of what you think you want.
Wait! Are you vegetarian, and didn’t eat at the cat cafe?! Fret not, my friend. Skip the flesh, and head to Counter Culture Cafe, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant, up the road. They’re amazing, and they also have beer.
Walk it off! Now that lunch is over, take a stroll to some of the super cool shops down there. There’s a great South American art importer called Corocoro that’s close by, or you can hoof it all the way down to the Pleasant Valley side and hit up Friends & Neighbors. They’re famous for their teepee in the backyard, but I go for the wine. They also have coffee, vintage clothing, jewelry that I want but can’t afford, and hand-crafted condiments from other cities that actually are awesome. Pricey, but awesome. Tired of spending? See some art at grayDUCK Gallery. Or maybe do spend… I support local artists. Is it happy hour yet?
If you’re laying a trap for me, just tell me there’s half-off bubbly somewhere. I’ll gladly walk into that cage, and this is true of Juniper. They have half-off sparkling, $7 wagyu skewers, and a few other delectables for their 4-6 p.m. happy hour (keep in mind they’re closed Sun-Mon). Not hungry yet? Stay Gold opens at 3! They’re a bar with an acceptable wine list, that also happens to be attached to a food truck specializing in toast/sandwiches. I’m noticing a food truck theme here… Don’t eat more yet! Okay, are you ready? Is it dinner time? Let’s cheat a little and walk a block away on a side street for Launderette. There’s no happy hour, but I don’t care. It’s delicious small plates with a ton of seafood. If you want to go full seafood though, you can head to Monger’s, a very popular more-than-oysters joint.
Are you stuffed yet?! Still sober?! Drinks Lounge and Craftsman have you covered! Craftsman even has Prosecco on tap! That should do the trick. I suspect that by now, you’ve had the best day ever.