Austin is an easy city to love. If you love good food; cheap, good alcohol; and live music then you’ll love this city. As you wander through these hot, humid city streets you’ll constantly be affronted by the smell of grilled meat and the sound of a live guitar. I honestly don’t want to know the person who wouldn’t appreciate that.
Day one we only had the afternoon but we fit a lot in to those few hours! We started off with a trek across the city from our hotel (Omni) to the original Whole Foods. We just wanted to explore and thought that the WF was as good a destination as any. After wandering around the giant Whole Foods in wonder (with about 4 bars, restaurants and a glorious array of expensive produce) we went over to the Tiniest Bar In Texas (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tiniest-Bar-in-Texas/112174325480619).
Now, the smallest bar in Texas is not a closet sized space where we’re all crowded into a hot, smelly, drinking mess. It’s a closet sized bar/shack with a great deck and even a few food trucks. We ordered a $2 beer and a $3 mimosa (98% champagne, 2% grapefruit juice) and sat down next to a particularly eccentric looking local, overlooking a condos construction site. Almost the first words out of this particularly eccentric looking locals mouth was ‘I liked Austin more when I first moved here 8 years ago’. The gospel, according to everyone who lives in Austin. After a great conversation about his time here, we got some fantastic advice from him. ‘Go down to dirty 6 and get yourself a burger from Casino El Camino’.
We walk into Casino El Camino and wondered what we’ve gotten ourselves into. This place is dark, stale and filled with what can only be assumed is bikers. But, led by a burning desire to try what has been named one of the best burgers in Austin, we move through into the back courtyard. This was nice, painted murals cover the walls and even a water feature in the middle. When our burgers come out we knew immediately we’ve made the right decision. The patty is thick, perfectly pink, juicy, crispy bacon, gooey cheese on a blackened pretzel bun. It was a masterpiece of burgers, the granddaddy of burgers and one of the best we’ve eaten.
Day 2 –
Day 2 we spent exploring some of the outer areas. East Austin has an abundance of cool vintage stores and a top notch bbq (Franklin – voted best in the entire USA) that if you feel like it, you can wait in line for 4 hours for (we obviously didn’t). We started the day strolling down to the downtown Austin farmers markets where we picked up some cookies and breakfast tacos (the taco game is strong in this city). We had some beautiful smoked meats at Lamberts , not the best BBQ ever, but still a solid choice and a very nice place for those who want a restaurant bbq experience. The brisket was perfection and the service was great but the sides stole the show. Then we headed over to Dirty 6…
Dirty 6 is fairly self-explanatory, it’s on 6th street and it’s dirty… A section of 6th is blocked off to the traffic for Friday and Saturday evenings so that people can stumble around the multitude of bars, clubs and live music venues. It gets dirtier and dirtier by the end of the night so if you’re not ready for that then come and leave early. It’s still worth a look even if you’re not interested in $3 shots and throwing up on your mates shoes at 3am. We ended up at a place called Petes Dueling Piano Bar which is a great place for a fun night. There’s 2 pianos played by an array of very talented pianists who will take requests and just seem to know everything. The music isn’t as important as the atmosphere and the comedic playing of a middle aged man singing and dancing to Beyonce’s ‘all the single ladies’. Far too much fun if you ask me.
*This post was written after our first impressions of Austin. We have since relocated and now live in Austin, so expect more posts about Texas!