Over the holidays, our editor-at-large Eric Kvatek went sniffing for goodness in Austin, to bring you this funnest list of his favourite hangouts in Texas’ colourful capital. Come on a ride through the sunny city with us, stopping along the way for the most important things like breakfast tacos at ‘Juan in a Million’, digging up military surplus, a dive bar with 365 days a year Christmas decorations, and a show at Continental Club.
“An East Austin restaurant modeled after our family’s Texas ranch”… Big outdoorsy setting with seasonal food and drinks. Good amount of steak and rabbit but also lots of local vegetables. Dog friendly, picnic tables and plenty of arm stretching space.
Cool old club with live music since 1955. Just by chance saw the amazing Peterson Brothers, just 17 and 19 years old. Their unique take on the rockin’ blues is mesmerizing and inspirational.
Farm to table all day breakfast featuring nitrate free bacon and organic eggs. Sit at the counter and watch biscuits made from scratch. Old style southern food without the rotgut or the heart attack!
Perfect blend of 70’s and 80’s girls vintage with Levi’s 501’s, US military and cool old sweatshirts. Also specializes in artist jewelry. A seriously electric mix of cool stuff at fair prices. One of those gems you almost want to keep to yourself.
Kind of a dive bar themed destination with a giant rideable jackalope (mythic rabbit with antlers), velvet nude paintings and well worn pool tables. Loved the friendly bartender and 1980’s cult films on the TV’s.
Juan in a Million
Classic Texan and Mexican restaurant opened in 1980 by two school teachers in East Austin. Amazing breakfast tacos in an authentic local environment. My kind of place.
Texas infused Japanese izakaya. These guys did a great job with the vintage decor, the food is good and the atmosphere lively and fun. Hard to beat that combination for a night out. The specials are ranked from “not funky” to “you nasty”?
Lala’s Little Nugget
Genuine dive bar with 365 days a year Christmas decorations since 1972. No shortage of glitter or blinking lights. Food is provided by the BBQ joint next-door. All in all a perfect combination, especially if you’re into Santa Claus or reindeer.
Funky taco joint with a decorated patio. Serves a variety of specialty salsa. Opens insanely early at 6:30am so easy to get a jump on breakfast before thrift shopping or a road trip out of town.
This is a genuine military surplus place, so prepare to spend time digging. In addition to uniforms and patches there were boxes of deadstock 1950’s zippers, a Swedish army bicycle and piles of old stock army T-shirts.
The owner grew up on military bases and acquired a certain obsession with all things militaria.
You know that dream where you wander around and find the most amazing and obscure stuff, but then you wake up and you’re super bummed out? Well Uncommon Objects is that dream but it’s real. Prices can be a little dear but that’s why it hasn’t all been scooped up yet. But there are plenty of deals if you make the effort to explore. If you can’t make it to Austin they have a pretty cool Instagram also.
Honky Tonk style country and western dance bar. Cheap beer, live music and free dance lessons several evenings every week! Crowd is a mix of locals and hipsters. It can be intimidating to see some of the cowboys and cowgirls that really know how to two step, but nobody seems to mind if you stumble around besides them for a song or two. If I lived in Austin this is where you’d find me asleep in the parking lot most mornings.
This guide has been curated, written and shot by Eric Kvatek.