Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Friday, March 08, 2013

In Austin for SXSW? We’ve Got Your Guide to Drinking in the Best of the City.

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg
Right now, throngs of music, movie and tech geeks are converging on Austin, Texas, for the annual South by Southwest festival. And, of course, we consider it our civic duty to help those festival-goers stay appropriately hydrated. After all, before a long morning of Hacking for Social Good and the SXSW BBQ Crash Course, you’ll need to caffeinate, right? And by afternoon, you’ll surely need a beer and/or cocktail to go with some smokin’ Texas BBQ. Here’s a guide to imbibing the best the city has to offer. And for even more recommendations on where to drink in Austin and elsewhere in Texas, pick up our March/April 2013 Texas Issue on newsstands nationwide.

MORNING: PATIKA COFFEE. The Patika coffee cart, a mere four blocks from the Austin Convention Center, offers first-rate coffee and espresso from local roasters Cuvée and Flat Track, as well as freshly baked sweet treats from Flour Bakery. Opened in 2010 by friends Andy Wigginton and Nick Krupa, this caffeinated kiosk will fuel you through whatever awesomeness SXSW has in store. 
402 Congress Ave., 512-535-3955, patikacoffee.com

BRUNCH: DRINK. WELL. elevates neighborhood spirits with inventive cocktails, domestic beers and a whiskey collection more than 75 bottles strong. Plus, they open early on weekends for all your pre-meet up/panel discussion/screening boozy brunch needs! Start the day right with a killer Bloody Mary and a kim chi Reuben.
207 E 53rd St., 512-614-6683, drinkwellaustin.com

LUNCH: FRANKLIN BBQ. Texas is barbecue country, and no Texan bastes up better brisket than Lone Star native Aaron Franklin. Since opening his namesake Franklin Barbecue in East Austin back in 2009, Franklin’s pulled pork, sausage and beef brisket (slathered in his top-secret espresso barbecue sauce) draws daily crowds that often wind around the building and down the street. Once inside, order a two-meat plate with a side of beans, crack open one of the local craft brews on offer and dig in—Texas barbecue doesn’t get better than this. And click here for our Q&A with Aaron Franklin. 
900 E. 11th St., 512-653-1187, franklinbarbecue.com

LUNCH: ANTONELLI’S. Opened in 2010 by cheese-loving husband-and-wife team John and Kendall Antonelli, this shop stocks hundreds of cheeses (including an impressive number from local creameries), domestic and imported charcuterie, upwards of 40 bottles of mostly Texas craft brews and another 40 bottles of wine. Add to that fresh-baked bread, single-origin honeys and bean-to-bar chocolate and consider your picnic packed. Pack a picnic and soak up some sun between meetings, or grab some provisions for later. Nothing like a 2 a.m. salami sammie to cure the one-too-many-cocktails blues. 
4220 Duval St., 512-531-9610, antonellischeese.com

LUNCH: HILLSIDE FARMACY. This East Austin pharmacy-turned-café charms with its vintage décor (think antique apothecary cases, beehive tiled floor and pressed tin ceiling), while its afternoon tea service, old-fashioned soda fountain, farm-fresh foods and cocktail cures makes it the perfect lunchtime escape.
1209 E. 11th St., 512-628-0168, hillsidefarmacy.com

LUNCH: HOPDODDY. Every town needs a good burger joint, and Hopdoddy takes tops honors for a menu that highlights Texas-raised beef, buffalo and lamb, locally grown produce and an entirely Texas-brewed beer list. 
1400 S. Congress St., 512-243-7507, and 2438 W. Anderson Lane, 512-467-2337, hopdoddy.com

HAPPY HOUR: FRANK’S. Housemade hot dogs. Cold craft brews. Super close to SXSW. What more could there be? How about a fully stocked bar and a killer cocktail menu with rotating seasonal sips and mainstays like the Dirty South with rye, pecan-infused maple syrup and sarsaparilla? Hit up happy hour for $3 pints, half-price waffle fries and an order of Lil Smokies smothered in homemade Dr Pepper barbecue sauce. 
407 Colorado St., 512-494-6916, hotdogscoldbeer.com

DINNER: LUCY’S FRIED CHICKEN. From deviled eggs to chicken gizzards, this South Congress favorite fires up the fryer for some finger-licking southern feasting. Best yet? You can wash it all down with their wholly Texas tap list, homemade sweet tea and house cocktails like the Bee Sting with reposado tequila, citrus, honey and jalapeño. Click here for the recipe.
2218 College Ave., 512-297-2423, lucysfriedchicken.com

DINNER: CONTIGO, a mile to the east, offers a taste of country life in the city, modeling its flavors and down-home hospitality after its namesake, family-run ranch in south Texas. Its light-strewn patio is just the place to park it on a warm Austin night for bar snacks and charcuterie as well as wine, local brews, and cocktails like the El Pepino with tequila, cucumber and fresh mint. 
2027 Anchor Lane, 512-614-2260, contigotexas.com

DINNER: HADDINGTON’S serves up elevated pub grub and pours drinks morning, noon and night. Wash down a burger with a local draft brew, pair a cheese plate with a bottle from one of the best wine lists in town, or settle in with some signature sips like the Fernet Me Not cocktail with Fernet-Branca, sweet vermouth and honey syrup. Click here for the recipe.
601 W. Sixth St., 512-992-0204, haddingtonsrestaurant.com

DINNER: FOREIGN & DOMESTIC keeps neighborhood bellies filled with a small, focused food menu and will keep SXSW-goers cool and refreshed with drinks like the beer-topped Cyclist cocktail with preserved lemon and ginger beer and the So Long Summer with Prosecco, pomegranate and lime juice.
306 E. 53rd St., 512-459-1010, fndaustin.com

DRINKS: MIDNIGHT COWBOY. This “massage parlor”-turned-cocktail bar opened this past summer to well-deserved fanfare for its deliciously executed drinks mixed tableside. 
313 E. Sixth St., 512-843-2715, midnightcowboymodeling.com

DRINKS: HANDLEBAR is primed for downtown drinking with a menu of Boilermakers and cocktails like the Doc Holliday with Old Tom gin, Carpano Antica and Campari, and the Magnum P.I. with dark rum, pineapple syrup and ginger beer. 
121 E. Fifth St.,512-344-9571, handlebaraustin.com

DRINKS: THE EAST SIDE SHOW ROOM has long helmed Austin’s cocktail scene with its eclectic, steampunk-like atmosphere, a list of two dozen classic cocktails, and a small corner stage that hosts live music. 
1100 E. Sixth Ave., 512-467-4280, eastsideshowroom.com

DRINKS: WORKHORSE BAR is co-owned by two beer-geek buds and their suds and spirits menus read like a who’s-who of Austin’s craft brewers and distillers, offering a taste of city craftsmanship at its finest. Perfect for a post-Food + Tech meet up. 100 N. Loop Blvd. E., 512-323-5700, workhorsebar.com

DRINKS: BAR CONGRESS. South of Sixth at Congress and Second, you’ll spy Bar Congress, which offers a respite in the form of lower-proof cocktails, lesser-known classics and a 400-bottle wine list that it shares with its adjoining restaurant Congress.
200 Congress Ave., 512-827-2755, congressaustin.com

DRINKS: LA CONDESA AND TACOS & TEQUILA. Austinites love Tex-Mex, and the James Beard-nominated La Condesa on West Second downtown takes tacos and tequila to new levels. How to wash down the citrusy ceviche, decadent tortas and housemade tacos? We recommend an agave-fueled flight featuring selections from the 100+ tequilas and mezcals or a house cocktail like the Alma Blanca with habanero-infused blanco tequila, pineapple juice and fresh corn. And a mile away on West Fifth, the aptly named Tacos & Tequila pairs seared ahi-, corn-crusted chicken- and pulled pork-filled homemade tortillas with tequila on tap and a dozen tequila-spiked cocktails, including a lime sherbet-infused frozen Margarita. 
La Condesa, 200 W. Second St., 512-499-0300, lacondesa.com; Tacos & Tequila, 507 Pressler St., 512-436-8226, tacos-and-tequila.com

For even more recommendations on where to drink in Austin and elsewhere in Texas, pick up our March/April 2013 Texas Issue on newsstands nationwide. Click here to purchase online.