You generally don't survive long on South Congress if your restaurant isn't top notch, and that's exactly why Second Bar & Kitchen isn't going anywhere. Seriously, take a good long gander at the above photo and try to tell us that that doesn't look like the best damn Irish Coffee you've ever laid eyes on. Though we can't reveal every carefully guarded component that goes into this concoction, we can assure that you will love it. At Second Bar, they don't so much make an Irish Coffee as finesse it into existence with the kind of care you'd expect to be reserved for members of nobility.
* See our full list of Where To Get Hot Cocktails in Austin.
COZY UP AT ONE OF THESE BARS:
Photo Credit: The Golden Goose
2034 S Lamar Blvd
Though The Golden Goose moved in to take over Horseshoe Lounge, the spirit of local neighborhood hang-out remains the same. However, instead of keeping it THAT old school, Golden Goose offers up an extensive selection of spirits and handcrafted cocktails. Try the “Pickle Drip”: Pickle juice and Dripping Springs vodka served martini style.
603 Sabine St
Tucked into Sabine along the river resides the Waller Creek Pub House - Austin's newest Americana bar and grill. Highlights include an extensive beer selection of over 30 beers on tap, largely craft beers and stand-alone spirits accompanied by great gastropub food and cool music floating from the speakers. Try any of your favorite local ales or some of the harder to find brews.
75 1/2 Rainey Street
This beautiful vintage bar brings new meaning to craft cocktail bar. The brainchild of three Los Angeles ex-pats and cocktail veterans, Half Step boasts a carefully executed mixology menu flaunting the latest techniques and ingredients without the pretentious attitude. Try the: beautiful “Prescription Julep,” a refreshing blend of rye, cognac, mint and sugar.
* See a list of The Best New Places To Drink in Austin.
RUN AROUND AND PLAY:
Photo Via Playland Skate Center
8822 McCann Dr
There's no time like the present to polish all those skills that are completely useless in real life! Show off your Pacman prowess (and BYOB!) at Pinballz Arcade, put little kids to skeeball shame at Main Event or combine your love of food, booze, and entertainment at Punch Bowl Social.
8940 Research Blvd
Located at 8940 Research Blvd. (near Burnet & 183) Pinballz offers a classic arcade experience with over 60 video arcade games and the largest selection of solid-state Pinball Machines to play in the country. Space Invaders, Street Fighter, Mario Kart, they've got it all. Take a virtual tour at PinballzArcade.com.
979 Springdale Rd
You can now go bouldering indoors in East Austin. It's like rock climbing, without using ropes or harnesses. You don’t need to have previous experience, and typically if you can do other sports, you can boulder. Pretty much all you need is a pair of climbing shoes. Find out more at Austin Bouldering Project.
SPEND SOME QUALITY TIME AT THE CINEMA:
Photo Via Mandy Earnshaw
713 Congress Ave
In its 100 years of existence, the historic Paramount Theatre has had its fair share of excitement, hosting thousands of live events and movies ranging from vaudeville acts, classic singer-songwriters, comedians, and movie premieres.
Seeing a movie at Alamo Drafthouse is different than just about anywhere else. They do things their way, which includes kicking out guests who do annoying things like talk or text during the movie. They also show a diverse selection of compelling films, with a food and drink menu that pairs perfectly with them.
2nd Street District
It's safe to say that Violet Crown Cinema is the nicest place to see a movie in town. It's a little pricier but worth every penny. Located on West 2nd Street, the theater serves up delicious cocktails and food in a cozy atmosphere.
CATCH A COMEDY/IMPROV SH0W:
Photo Credit: Coldtowne Theater Facebook
4803-B Airport Blvd
As far as alternative comedy goes, Coldtowne Theater is one of the more happening spots in Austin. They've got a ton of eclectic, silly, and plain hilarious shows going on pretty much every day of the week. They've also got an enlightened policy on bringing your own beer to their venue.
8120 Research Blvd
Cap City is the most reliable place in Austin to catch touring comedians in their natural environment. The north Austin venue consistently books some of the best comedic talent currently out there, so head on over and get to laughing.
Local performance venue The Institution Theater has been bringing the laughs to Austin for years with their sketch shows, improv classes, and offbeat performances. Local talent fills the roster with weekly shows poking fun at everything from the Austin community, ladies nights, politics, and the 1970’s.
LOUNGE AT SOME LOCAL COFFEE SHOPS:
Photo Via Thunderbird Cafe
2200 Manor Rd
If you’re looking for a friendly spot to enjoy a good cup of joe, look no further than Thunderbird. The coffee is direct trade and they serve up fresh sandwiches, along with breakfast items and treats from local businesses. More interested in booze than brews? You’re in luck: there are 35 taps boasting awesome options. Check out their two locations (2200 Manor Rd. and 1401 Koenig Ln.)
4204 Manchaca Rd
Radio is equipped with a spacious patio and comfortable inside and, although it’s relatively new, is already an Austin staple. On the coffee front, Radio serves Stumptown, which sources the best coffees in the world and maintains a focus on building relationships with farmers. And along with beans, they’ve also got beers, plus finger-lickin’ good tacos, courtesy of the Veracruz All-Natural trailer parked outside. Because this is Austin…and what else are you going to eat?
2000 E 6th St
The people at Cuvée take their coffee seriously, and you can taste this focus and passion in products like their single origin espresso and nitrogenated cold brew. (Not an aficionado? Those terms basically translate to "really awesome coffee.") And while Cuvée coffee itself is in high demand and can be found all over the country, the flagship store--the source of all that goodness--is right here in Austin on East Sixth.
* See our list of The Best Coffee Shops in Austin.
TAKE AN AUSTIN MUSEUM TOUR:
Photo Via Harry Ransom Center
300 W 21st St
Harry Ransom Center is the University of Texas’- Austin library and museum featuring exclusive curated collections of literary and cultural significance. With a permanent art collection of over 65,000 pieces, an astounding book, manuscripts, and periodical collection, films, photographs and traveling exhibitions you can spend days here and still not touch see a fraction of what they have to offer.
1800 Congress Ave
Located just three blocks from the state capital, the Bullock Texas State History Museum is the epicenter of Texas history and legend. Walk through the halls to discover the “Story of Texas” through curated exhibits, statues, and multimedia events.
* Do a lot more exploring with our full list of museums in Austin.
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