Midnight Cowboy (West 6th) – in the midst of the West 6th craziness, this under the radar cocktail spot requires reservations and only accepts parties under 8 people for up to two hours.
6th Street (West 6th), 512-843-2715
Parkside (West 6th)
Shakespeare’s Pub (West 6th) “May look small from the outside but has 4 bars each w/ it’s own feel. Live music most days, large backroom for dancing and a perfect thurs special for getting drunk for cheap ($5 pitcher mixed drink), shakespeares is one stop you should make.” courtesy of Hunter McConnel
Weather Up (East Austin)
Launderette (East Austin) – Located in a former laundromat, the food and drink are on point. Don’t miss the Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwich for dessert or their unique cocktails.
Whistler’s (East 6th)
G’Raj Mahal Cafe* (Rainey Street) – holy cow (get it?) … this place is awesome. It’s BYOB and it’s outdoors. Place your order for their Indian food at the food truck and it’ll be delivered to your table.
Perla’s* (South Congress) – this is a fancy-ish seafood stop. You’ll get distracted by the multiple fish tanks if you’re ADD like I am. Order extra hushpuppies and try to sit on the patio if possible.
South Congress Cafe* (South Congress) – they boast that they have the “best bloody mary in America”, and I’ll agree that it’s not bad. This is a great brunch spot, but be prepared for a short wait.
HopDoddy Burger Bar* (South Congress) – YUMMY burgers but the line is always pretty long. Get there late or early for your meal for less of a line. (Don’t miss the adult milkshakes!)
Homeslice (South Congress) – An Austin staple. Good pizza (margherita is my favorite) It’s a smaller place but they have a togo place right next door. You can get slices and walk around S Congress if you wanted to.
Annie’s Cafe (Downtown) – French restaurant, a little pricier and yummy fancy drinks.
Backspace* (Downtown) – Super yummy wood fired pizza. Very small and intimate, I wouldn’t go with a big group, but you can usually get a seat at the bar
Frank* (Downtown) – this hot dog shop is anything but run-of-the-mill. Make sure you order the Chili Cheese Waffle Fries to go with your wiener.
Moonshine* (Downtown) – Southern style “fancy” food but decently priced. Super yummy but usually crowded on weekends. Would be good for a nicer lunch.
Lamberts BBQ* (Downtown) – don’t let the whole BBQ part of the name fool you … this place is fancy. Avoid their Old Fashioned with St. Germain, but make sure you eat all the things.
Searsucker* (Downtown) – this is a laid-back hipster spot if I’ve ever seen one.
Coffee Bean* (various locations) – Because we don’t have one in Dallas anymore … Get the Ultimate Blended Hazelnut.
Wholy Bagel (South of downtown) – Best bagels I’ve had in Austin– guys from NYC, good for breakfast!
Taco Deli* (3 locations: south, central, and north) – Delicious tacos … and the BEST tacos in Austin, hands down. Casual and only open for lunch.
Vivo’s ( 2 locations: central and north) – Their slogan is “better than sex Tex Mex” and they give every woman a rose after the meal. They have creative margaritas like cucumber and hibiscus (and they have flowers in them!) There is usually a wait though but it’s worth it.
Trudy’s* (3 locations: south, central, and north) – Not the best Mexican food, but the best Mex Mart!
Clay Pit (Near the UT campus) – My favorite Indian food place in Austin (and my Indian coworkers favorite). It can get pretty crowded.
Sazon (South Lamar) – Interior Mexican, not fancy but delicious.
Hey Cupcake* (Various locations, the original is on South Lamar) – this place has some of my favorite cupcakes anywhere. Its first location was an Airstream with a rotating cupcake on top. Don’t miss the frosting shots and the Michael Jackson
Polvo’s (South 1st) – Interior mexican food- definitely more of a dive but delicious food, salsa, and strong margaritas!