This populated and popular area of Austin is full of thriving businesses—restaurants, bars, food trailers, coffee shops, galleries, etc.—and more are popping up every day. Here we cover the span of South Lamar between Town Lake and Ben White, focusing on the most noteworthy and awesome spots—some well known, others more under the radar—that we feel deserve some recognition.
And while we’re relatively certain that in the time we spent writing the above paragraph, at least three more local businesses opened up, we suggest you start off with the 50+ listings we have compiled below. We’re certain there are enough places here to keep your appetite satisfied, your thirst quenched, and your interest piqued…you know, for at least the next few days.
We frequently sing the praises of the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., and for good reason: not only do they boast an awesome beer selection, but The ABGB is one of the best places to grab pizza in Austin as well. Come by, hang out in the beer garden, catch some live music, and enjoy one or more of their handcrafted brews. 1305 W. Oltorf St.
Located in a prime spot on the corner of Barton Springs Road and South Lamar, this saloon has been a neighborhood favorite since it opened its doors in 2006. If you’re looking for a pretentious, see-and-be-seen bar, this certainly isn’t it. Instead, the indoor-outdoor watering hole has a chill atmosphere, laid-back regulars, and a daily happy hour that make it the ideal place to enjoy a cold drink after work—or, due to its outrageously convenient location, after ACL, Blues on the Green, a day on Town Lake…424 S. Lamar Blvd.
Another casual bar with an awesome atmosphere, BSL has everything you could need in an eating and drinking establishment: a dog-friendly patio, tons of TVs, shuffleboard, darts, pool, the “Best Burger in South Austin,” and Wi-Fi for all your fantasy football needs. They’ve also got 125 bottled beers on offer, along with 26 on tap, and on the infamous White Trash Wednesdays, you can score certain cans (Lone Star, PBR, Pearl, etc.) for only $1. It’s classier than it sounds, swear. 2108 S. Lamar Blvd.
What started as a mere side project for Paul Qui and Moto Utsunomiya (Uchi and Uchiko) has come into its own. ESK is both a great place to grab a quick bite and a way for members of the general public to access the award-winning creations of chef Paul Qui at a low price point. The South Lamar location is one of several scattered across Austin, and here you can find fun, unique dishes infused with Asian flavors. Try the beet home fries, brussels sprout salad, or live life on the wild side with a poached octopus taco. Suite 101, 2310 S. Lamar Blvd.
Not your typical Tex-Mex joint, El Meson offers what they call real Mexican food, allowing you to experience the flavors of our friends south of the border, sans the Texas twist. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so whether you want to experience their authentic flavors in the morning or at night, they’ve got you covered with options like huevos rancheros, pastor, gorditas and more. For which we say gracias. 2038 S. Lamar Blvd.
This is a comfortable bar and hangout spot that’s ideal for a casual date, a good day-drinking session, or an after-work happy hour. (Get hungry? Just grab some grub from Luke’s Inside Out next door!) In addition to a wide variety of craft beers, Gibson offers cocktails and a good selection of well-priced wine and bubbles as well, available by the bottle and the half bottle, and if you come by on Wine Wednesday, your bottle of vino will be accompanied by a delicious assortment of cheeses from Henri’s. 1109 S. Lamar Blvd.
Close your eyes and imagine every sandwich and burger you’ve ever eaten. Now replace the bread and buns with donuts. Boom! You’ve got Gourdough’s. (No word on how many cops frequent the establishment.) And it’s not just the sandwiches that incorporate this particular pastry at the Public House, but the entrees as well: their chicken fried steak, fried chicken, and even meatloaf are all served atop a hot donut. And as for their dessert options? Well, we’ll give you one guess. 2700 S. Lamar Blvd.
Named after the Jamaican word irie, which means “the state of feeling great,” this coffee shop is true to the translation, and the owners’ goal is to provide an atmosphere with good vibes. Whether you grab an espresso and curl up on a couch inside, enjoy their “Beer of the Month” on the fabulous back patio during their daily happy hour (that would be 4-8 p.m., for the record), or bring Fido for some socializing during one of their Yappy Hours, at this spot, that irie state of mind is pretty easy to achieve. 2310 S. Lamar Blvd.
There’s nothing better than a good diner—especially when it’s open 24/7, and especially when it offers breakfast around the clock. Kerbey Lane, a local favorite, meets all that criteria and then some, offering classic diner food (pancakes, bacon and eggs, plus sandwiches, soups, burgers and more) plus a seasonal menu, plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, and creations that are quintessentially Austin, like their ooey-gooey and oh-so-good Kerbey Queso. Which, somehow, always tastes best at 3 a.m. 3003 S. Lamar Blvd.
The team behind this ice cream is all about using whole, real ingredients and local dairy, making this a dessert you can get down on, guilt-free. Everyday flavors include options like Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil & Sea Salt; Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint; Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey, and more. Meanwhile there are seasonal offerings as well, plus vegan/dairy-free selections, which ensure that everyone, regardless of dietary preferences, has the opportunity to fall in love with Lick. 2032 S. Lamar Blvd.
A food trailer parked conveniently next door to Gibson Street Bar, Luke’s specializes in tasty, French-inspired griddled sandwiches that you’ll be dreaming about long after the meal’s over (which is probably the reason the Food Network’s Guy Fieri came to visit). Meat-eaters might like The Cow—a banh mi-style sandwich featuring smoked brisket—while another simply named choice, The Vegetable, features falafel and roasted mozzarella with a special Love Sauce, and is sure to appease any appetite—vegetarian or otherwise. The husband and wife team also serves up an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch and create three new specials a day. 1109 S. Lamar Blvd.
It’s no secret that here in Austin we love our tacos, and at Taco Xpress you can get them from “South Austin’s Taco Queen,” Maria Corbalan. Swing by for breakfast (served all day) and enjoy Rachael Ray’s “favorite” miga taco, or try a more traditional lunch and dinner item like the Al Pastor, which combines pork and pineapple and has been dubbed “dynamite” by another Food Network star, Guy Fieri. The restaurant features live music and events as well, like Austin Hippie Church, which takes place on Sundays and features live gospel music and a pretty amazing bloody mary bar. 2529 S. Lamar Blvd.
1212 S Lamar Blvd
Maudie's is just absolutely classic Austin, y'all. The established Tex-Mex joint's roots go way back to 1954 when it was a mere 810 square foot cafe that served homestyle dishes like biscuits and gravy and chicken and dumplings. Throughout the years, Maudie's slowly transitioned into the venerated Tex-Mex restaurant it is today, serving hand-prepared classics like nachos, quesadillas, and enchiladas with a particular Austin zest. A trip to Maudie's is something like a survey of our great city itself: you'll see hippies, politicians, frat kids, punks, and more. Maudie's is truly a place where all are welcome to relish in the splendor that is Tex-Mex.
Open since 1952, Matt’s Famous El Rancho has been serving authentic Mexican fare to Austinites since before many of us were born, and today it’s still the perfect place for a delicious dinner or a large lunch. The giant patio area serves as the perfect setting for sipping on a margarita (made from fresh lime juice squeezed daily), enjoying a cocktail like Matt’s Knockout Martini, or tasting one of the dozens of tequilas stocked behind the bar. 2613 S. Lamar Blvd.
Another restaurant from highly acclaimed chef Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine, Odd Duck is the brick-and-mortar realization of the former food trailer of the same name, which first earned Gilmore recognition a few years ago. And it makes sense that the two restaurants share the same owner, as they share a similar food philosophy as well, with a focus on local, seasonal fare that results in a constantly evolving menu. 1201 S. Lamar Blvd.
Featuring coffee, wine, spirits and Mediterranean eats, OPA! is a family-owned business and neighborhood favorite. Ideal for work and play, it’s frequently filled with two types of patrons: those typing fervently on their laptops and gulping down espresso, and those sipping Chardonnay and enjoying live music on the spacious patio. When it comes to food, OPA! isn’t a full-scale restaurant, but they do offer light bites in the form of pizza and appetizers like hummus, dolmas and cheeses. 2050 S. Lamar Blvd.
When it comes to burgers, this spot is one of the most popular in Austin, and for good reason: their beef is all natural, vegetarian fed, and free of hormones and antibiotics; their fries—a fan favorite—are made from real Idaho potatoes; the veggie burger is called the best in Austin by many; and their lemonade is fresh-squeezed. Basically, what we’re trying to say is that P. Terry's offers real, honest fare, which makes it so much more than just fast food. 404 S. Lamar Blvd.
The premise for this bar is simple: good sports, good food. The newer of the two locations, The Park on South Lamar is the little brother (or sister…we’re not sure what sex you assign to a sports bar) of The Park at the Domain, and the vibe—which might best be described as upscale sports bar…as in there are a ton of TVs and they serve hummus—is nearly identical at each. 4024 S. Lamar Blvd.
Specializing in two things—coffee and wine—Patika is a perfect spot to wake up or wind down. Inspired by a coffee kiosk in San Fran (and boasting a coffee kart of their own in downtown Austin), this coffee shop is one of the newer additions to the South Lamar food and drink scene, and offers brews, booze and homemade baked goods. 2159 S. Lamar Blvd.
What do you get when you combine the so-called “Happiest Burger Joint in Texas” and what’s arguably the city’s most adored ice cream? That would be perfection. At Phil’s, visitors can chow down on sandwiches like the Chicken Fried Steak Burger (smothered in white gravy) and The Phil-A-Buster—which features double meat and double cheese—or menu items named after various Austin zip codes. Just be sure to save room for some of that ice cream. 2901 S. Lamar Blvd.
Whether you want to catch the game or play games, socialize or test your knowledge via trivia, sit inside or outside, this giant bar has got you covered. Both drink specials and food specials run all week if you’re interested in saving some cash (and, honestly, when are you not?), and they’ve got a pretty great weekend brunch as well, which includes interesting options like New Orleans Beignets and Fried Chicken and Waffles. 3508 S. Lamar
An original Austin taco joint, Torchy’s started as a humble food trailer on South 1st and has, since its inception, expanded to a chain with locations all over the state, and over 10 in Austin alone. And with what Torchy’s is peddling—damn good tacos, to be precise—their success is no surprise. After all, Austinites and tacos go hand in hand. 3005 S. Lamar Blvd.
There’s no disputing the fact that Uchi is one of the most famous restaurants in Austin. The executive chef and owner, Tyson Cole, received a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest back in 2011, and his restaurant—which specializes in contemporary Japanese dining and sushi—serves as the perfect setting in which he can take the culinary reins and showcase his phenomenal talent. 801 S. Lamar Blvd.
If you’ve lived in Austin for more than five minutes, odds are you’re aware of Alamo Drafthouse. With quote-alongs, sing-alongs, food-and-movie pairings (or just plain ol’ movies) and more events—all made complete with cold beer and good food, delivered right to your seat—the Drafthouse has been enhancing Austinites’ cinematic experiences for years. This particular location was recently rebuilt and is now nicer than ever, so come out and enjoy a flick…preferably while slurping down one of their amazing spiked shakes. 1120 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin’s largest contemporary art gallery, Art on 5th is nestled in a shopping center shared with Kerbey Lane, and there’s no better way to enjoy the time spent waiting for a table than by perusing some killer creative works. While many of the exhibits are on display temporarily, one of the gallery’s highlights is its permanent Dr. Seuss Collection, which features the previously unseen artwork of the beloved author and illustrator. 3005 S. Lamar Blvd.
A “100% local, affordable and accessible art gallery,” Austin Art Garage has a mission: to offer exposure to new artists and make art available to all enthusiasts, regardless of background. The gallery features the work of 30 emerging Austin artists, and with a huge selection of pieces under $100, AAG makes it possible for anyone—even the poor college student—to become a collector. 2200 S. Lamar Blvd.
Put your boots on and get ready for a two-steppin’ good time at the Broken Spoke. Considered the “Best Honky-Tonk in Texas” and serving what they say is the state’s best chicken fried steak, there’s no better way to enjoy traditional country music than by hitting the dance floor at this historic venue. 3201 S. Lamar Blvd.
So by now, we’re relatively sure you’re familiar with Do512. But what you might not know is that the Do512 crew works in an office on South Lamar that serves as a pretty sweet venue as well. The Do512 Lounge Sessions are sponsored by Bud Light, and the intimate setting, great bands, and free libations make for a very enjoyable musical experience for lucky attendees. The sessions are invite-only, but by following Do512 on Facebook and Twitter, you could win a chance to attend a session. 2208 S. Lamar Blvd. #C
Like the Drafthouse, The Highball was also a victim of redevelopment and closed for nearly two years, but like the phoenix rose from the ashes (or something like that), The Highball was rebuilt—this time inside the theater itself. Sip on a cocktail and unleash your inner Winona, Whitney, or whoever in one of the facility’s seven themed karaoke rooms, or just enjoy a nightcap after a late-night screening. 1120 S. Lamar Blvd.
There are few things more important in Austin than live music, and it was out of passion for this very thing that One-2-One was born in 2004. What was originally a small downtown bar is now a large space on South Lamar, where on most nights you’re likely to catch a performance from some of the best (but often unknown) talent in Austin. 1509 S. Lamar Blvd.
One of Austin’s oldest and most original attractions, Peter Pan has been fulfilling the general public’s mini-golf needs since 1946. Not only does the quirky establishment offer two 18-hole courses—each complete with a plethora of interesting obstacles and odd, colorful and somewhat frightening characters—but it also has a BYOB policy that makes the classic kid-friendly activity totally adult-approved as well. 1207 Barton Springs Rd.
So you say you’re no Van Gogh. Well, that’s no problem at Pinot’s Palette, where—after a few glasses of wine and with step-by-step instruction—anyone can be an artist. Pick from one of the templated designs, embrace their BYOB policy, and simply follow the instructor’s guidance. 3005 S. Lamar Blvd.
Not only has The Saxon been open for over 20 years, but it’s also served as a venue for over 20,000 performances, and the pub boasts an award-winning listening room as well. What we’re getting at is the fact that this isn’t your typical pub. They take their music seriously and showcase some serious talent, which you can catch during one of their free happy hour shows or other performances. 1320 Lamar Square Dr.
Otherwise known as South Pop, this center is dedicated to preserving the history of Austin art and culture from the 1960s through today. With various programs, temporary exhibits, and a collection of vintage posters, art and paraphernalia, South Pop seeks to tell the story of Austin’s music scene over the last 50 years, documenting its vibrant history, its unparalleled artists, and the impact the city and its players have had on a local, national and even international level. 1516-B S. Lamar Blvd.
This establishment has been run by music lovers, for music lovers, for 25 years. The store's employees are all passionate musicians, and whether you’re there for shopping, repairs or lessons, someone who knows exactly what they’re doing—and probably way more than you—is there to help you on every step of your journey to become the city’s next Willie Nelson, Gary Clark Jr., or fill-in-the-blank member of Wild Child. 1402 S. Lamar Blvd.
Founded as the Austin Civic Theater in the ‘30s, ZACH is the oldest continuously running theatre in Texas, and though it’s a local, nonprofit organization, the shows are anything but community theatre-caliber. In fact, the completely professional productions—which combine to create a year-round season featuring over 600 performances—have inspired the Austin-American Statesman to call ZACH “the city’s liveliest and most polished professional theater.” 1510 Toomey Rd.
Any barbershop where you can enjoy a beer is okay in our book, and at Birds you can sip on a Shiner while you get snipped. The Lamar location is one of six in the city, and offers the same sweet services and perks: killer cuts and color, complimentary booze, and a free wash if you bike there. With a vibe this cool and a staff this talented, we can pretty much guarantee that your haircut will be one appointment you’ll always keep. 2110 S. Lamar Blvd.
While some might argue that the Kindle and iPad render real books practically irrelevant, we beg to differ, and there’s nothing like a literary treasure hunt at Half Price Books. Come in and browse their selection of used books, records, magazines and more—all available at bargain prices. And as for the books currently taking up shelf space in your home? Well you can donate or sell those to the store as well. Sharing is caring, y’all. 2929 S. Lamar Blvd.
While you might not be able to afford high fashion, you don’t have to settle for Forever 21. For the boutique experience without the crazy-high boutique prices, look no further than Strut, where you can find on-trend women’s clothing, shoes and accessories for prices so reasonable, you can afford to stay stylish all year long. 2200 S. Lamar Blvd.
Sunroom’s self-proclaimed focus is to bring established designers and brands into the Austin marketplace, and at this tiny shop you’ll find a highly curated collection of women’s jewelry, clothing and accessories, along with a small selection of menswear, home goods and miscellaneous items. 2324 S. Lamar Blvd.
Despite its location on South Lamar and Bluebonnet, this weekly pop-up event actually falls under the umbrella of the Barton Creek Farmers Market, and is the second of two locations where the market takes place. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine, vendors—local farmers, artisans, and more—come out to peddle their organic produce, grass-fed meats, specialty foods and various art and knick-knacks. 2323 S. Lamar Blvd.
If Mr. Natural were a person, he’d be a jack of all trades, as this 100% vegetarian establishment serves as a restaurant, bakery, juice bar and health food store. From fresh juices and supplements to meat substitutes and yoga and meditation classes, you’re sure to find something delicious—and healthy—to benefit your body and soul here. 2414 S. Lamar Blvd.
No one has ever described a trip to the pharmacy as fun, but at People’s Rx the errand is as enjoyable as it could possibly be. For over 30 years, the Wellness department has been helping ailing Austinites with a holistic approach to healing and a focus on empowerment through education. And not only does People’s provide remedies and consulting services, but they operate a deli at the pharmacy as well, where there is a whole menu full of healthy, organic options. That’s what we call preventative care right there. 3801 S. Lamar Blvd.
Specializing in soups, juices and smoothies, the Soup Peddler is pretty ideal for those with, say, broken jaws, but with offerings this flavorful, even those with the ability to chew are sure to enjoy. Sign up for a weekly menu—which includes soups, entrees, sides, desserts and salads, and can be delivered right to your door—or stop by the store itself to pick up something to enjoy then and there. 2801 S. Lamar Blvd.
Want to eat healthy on a budget? Never fear, Sprouts Farmers Market is here. Their slogan—“It’s healthy eating for less”—alludes to their mission, and the store’s selection reflects that ideal as well. Here you’ll find every food item on your grocery list—or, even better, a healthy alternative—along with vitamins and supplements, body products and more. Think your typical supermarket…but, you know, without all the stuff that will kill you. 4006 S. Lamar Blvd.
The co-op’s second location on South Lamar is likely the best place in the neighborhood to find unusual groceries and grab a delicious lunch on the go. A larger version of the original, this Wheatsville offers all the things that made its sister store successful. Think health food in bulk, interesting products from local businesses, an extensive selection of vegan and gluten-free options, baked goods, organic produce, and just all-around atypical items. And for a quick and tasty meal, there's also a deli, where you can get their famed tofu po’ boy or stuff yourself for cheap with the best deal in town: rice and beans starting at only $1.50. 4001 S. Lamar Blvd.
-Contributed by Sam Sumpter