Check out this hot list of what’s new and what’s coming up on Austin’s ever-changing dining, nightlife, shopping and culture scenes.
The Brewer's Table. Courtesy of Cultivate PR.
New to Chew
A diverse group of restaurants made their delicious debuts in 2018, including Suerte, which features elevated Mexican cuisine and a patio overlooking East Sixth Street. Anthem bills itself as a Tex-Asian pub (with tiki drinks!) on Rainey Street. Sour Duck Market is a one-stop shop, rolling a bakery, restaurant and bar all into one delicious destination. Lin specializes in Asian home cooking and dim sum. The Brewer’s Table combines a wood fermentation brewery with a wood-fired kitchen that whips up American eats. And Hank’s is an airy coffee shop, restaurant and bar with a shady patio. Find more notable Austin dining experiences.
Arlo Grey at LINE Austin. Credit Sydell Group.
Exciting restaurants have recently opened in several acclaimed Austin hotels. Arlo Grey made its debut at the brand new LINE, with cuisine by Top Chef 10 winner Kristen Kish that melds French and Italian traditions with Central Texas ingredients. Latin-influenced dishes are on the menu at Ciclo in the revamped Four Seasons Hotel Austin, a collaborative effort of Four Seasons Chef de Cuisine James Flowers and world-renowned chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval. James Beard Award nominated Chef Grae Nonas is at the helm of Carpenters Hall in the boutique Carpenter Hotel, offering Austin faves like breakfast tacos and kolaches.
Olamaie. Credit Julia Keim.
James Beard Award Nominees
Several Austin restaurants received prestigious James Beard Award nominations in 2018. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine, Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye (named Chef of the Year at the 2018 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards) and Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie were all nominees for Best Chef: Southwest. Laura Sawicki of Launderette was a semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. And Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King Brewery was a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional.
Home Slice Pizza. Credit Julia Keim.
Some of Austin’s favorite eateries opened new outposts in 2018, including a new Easy Tiger Bake Shop in North Central Austin and a Home Slice pizzeria in North Loop. A second iteration of local French-Cajun cafe, Épicerie, is set to open in spring 2019 at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria.
Family Business Beer Co. Credit Julia Keim.
You’ll find no shortage of breweries and pubs in beer-loving Austin. Stop by The Brewtorium, a friendly neighborhood brewpub featuring award-winning handcrafted beer and modern pub grub designed to complement the house brews. Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden features specialty coffees, craft beers and cocktails, food trucks and live music in a dreamy garden setting. In Dripping Springs, Family Business Beer Co. offers a kid-friendly tap room with live music, food trucks and craft beers ranging from lagers to barrel-aged stouts.
Courtesy of Treaty Oak Distillery.
Sip a spell at Austin’s welcoming distilleries. Desert Door Distillery in Driftwood is the country’s only sotol distillery, crafting a distinctive Texan spirit that you can sample in the modern Tasting Room (try the earthy Desert Door Original). Treaty Oak Distilling is planning a nationwide expansion of its gin and whiskey spirits. Head to the source in Dripping Springs for a Saturday afternoon tasting of its gin and bourbon offerings on a 28-acre, state-of-the-art distillery/ranch. Be sure to try a unique bourbon-based beverage at the Cocktail Lab, or stop by the new Alice's Restaurant for a sit-down bite. Real Ale Brewing Co launched Real Spirits Distilling out of its Blanco tap room in 2017. Stop by for a tour and tasting of its Texas Hill Country Signature Whiskey, Grain to Glass Gin, and the very limited first batch of its Single Barrel Whiskey.
Dean's One Trick Pony. Credit Chase Daniel.
Toast your trip with a classy cocktail. At Dean's One Trick Pony, sip a craft cocktail like the Black Cherry Old Fashioned (bourbon, black cherry syrup and burlesque bitters) as you watch the city go by. She’s Not Here is a new Downtown dazzler, with charming decor inspired by 1920s hotel lobbies and colorful tropical drinks. Last Straw also cops a tropical attitude, serving “vacation by the hour,” with tiki drinks like the Scorpion Bowl that’s meant to be shared.
Arts & Culture
Ellsworth Kelly, Austin, 2015 (West façade). ©Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin.
Austin’s arts and culture scene is thriving. The Blanton Museum of Art recently unveiled its new permanent exhibition Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a 2,715-square-foot stone building with brilliant colored glass windows and a wood totem sculpture. From July 14-Sept. 29, 2019, the Blanton presents Jeffrey Gibson: This is the Day, featuring the latest works from this genre-bending artist, including beaded wall hangings, paintings and a new video. The Bullock Museum presents WWI America from March 16-August 11, 2019, telling the stories of a divisive America through original artifacts, images, music, hands-on exhibits and multimedia presentations. From Sept. 14, 2019 through Jan. 19, 2020, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center presents The Sorcerer’s Burden, showcasing 11 international artist whose works represent the intersection between art and anthropology.
Give your wallet a workout at Austin’s mega-shopping destinations. New shops have popped up at Domain NORTHSIDE, including Amazon Books, Ray Ban, Steve Madden, Theory, TravisMathew and LAVISH Kitchen + Bath. Coming to South Austin in 2019, St. Elmo Public Market is a planned mixed-use development that will include shops, restaurants and bars, a hotel and event spaces. Early tenant announcement include locally owned spots like Family Business Beer Co., Lick Honest Ice Creams, Mignette (new dining concept by Olamaie Owner and Executive Chef), Salt & Time, Texas Hill Country Olive Oil and more.
Music & Entertainment
Austin Bold FC. Credit Carlos Barrón.
There’s always something going on in Austin. Celis Brewery has expanded its space, adding a new beer garden and live music venue. The kid- and dog-friendly outdoor beer garden features a second bar for savoring Celis’ Belgian-style ales. The new stage-on-wheels hosts concerts and events. Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is known as Austin’s premier destination for world-class motorsports, big-name concerts and exciting events year round. But beginning in March 2019, you can also catch professional soccer action at COTA as Austin Bold FC makes its debut. The team will play against United Soccer League challengers in COTA’s newly built 5,000-seat stadium.