Get ready to fill your social calendar with even more exciting places to eat, drink and be entertained in and around Austin. Check out our hot list of what’s new.

Beverages and several dishes from Nido restaurant at The Loren
Nido at The Loren. Credit Mackenzie Smith Kelley.

NEW RESTAURANTS

Sip specialty cocktails at Idle Hands, then head to the Not a Damn Chance Burger window out back to order a double Wagyu beef burger topped with cheese, jalapenos and special sauce. The smash burger joint, which opens at 6 p.m. daily, is a new concept dreamed up by Michelin-starred Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and pro skateboarder Neen Williams.

The elegantly appointed Loren at Lady Bird Lake opened Nido, a new restaurant and cocktail lounge on the hotel’s rooftop. Enjoy exceptional service and expansive lake and Austin views while dining on seasonal fare served at breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.

A trio of new places will satisfy your cravings for Mexican and Latin American food. A seafood restaurant with inventive Mexican touches, Este is housed in a distinctive blue building on Manor Road. The menu offers traditional favorites like ceviche, roasted chicken and fish tacos. Or try creative dishes that include the habanero-spiced Dover sole.

Successful restaurateurs Ryan Samson (executive chef at neighboring Vespaio) and Daniel Brooks, owner of Licha’s Cantina, teamed up to open Chapulín Cantina on trendy South Congress Avenue. From-scratch Oaxacan dishes such as moles, seafood tostadas and adobo-marinated pork pair perfectly with over 150 mezcals and tequilas for a wonderful explosion of flavors.

open faced taco from Nixta Taqueria in Austin Texas
Nixta Taqueria. Credit Jacob Lerma.

Pooches are welcome at the casual Nixta Taqueria, where you order at the counter, pay with cards only and can sit outside. The restaurant is the brainchild of chef Edgar Rico, winner of the 2022 James Beard Emerging Chef Award and an honoree on TIME magazine’s TIME100 Next list of global rising stars. Must-tries include the breakfast and lunch tacos, duck carnitas, and the enchiladas laced with potato-and-chorizo puree.

Chef Choo beautifully presents the Sando (Japanese for sandwich) in boxes at Choo Sando. Incredibly soft milk bread is layered with fillings such as egg salad, breaded pork and shrimp, each complemented with sauces, slaws or vegetables. Order your Sando box ahead of time. You can also select sushi and sashimi from the grab-and-go counter.

For a tasty fusion of ramen and Texas barbecue, visit BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya, helmed by chef-owner Tatsu Aikawa and culinary director Tako Matsumoto. Clever combinations include pimento cheese with takuan and wasabi, and roast beef with anchovy broth, avocado and an ajitama egg.

For a jolt of caffeine and great bites like avocado toast, potato hash and carrot cake, try  Proud Mary Cafe Austin, which serves them all up with friendly vibes. It’s the Australia-born company’s second U.S. outpost.

Patrons at Blue Lacy at the chic Origin Hotel Austin in the Mueller neighborhood can sip coffee and order from a diner-style menu of comfort foods like meatloaf and fried chicken. Or head to the pet-friendly outdoor patio and enjoy spirits, beers and appetizers.

Get your sweet fix with a visit to Chi Ndika’s Luv Fats, where the main ingredients of the vegan ice cream are avocados and coconut milk. Tantalizing flavor combinations include lavender-blackberry jam, caramel-rosemary and, in a nod to the owner’s heritage, Kenyan chai. 

Silhouettes of men and women sitting in front of a backlit bar under glowing red orb lights.
Howards. Courtesy of Howards and Rosie's.

NEW DRINKING SPOTS

The allure of the flagship Sans Bar in East Austin is that it’s a welcoming spot to gather in a booze-free social setting. Founder Chris Marshall says Austin’s first sober bar is all about being a place where people can make connections while drinking zero-proof cocktails, wine and beer.

If you’d rather hoist a pint in a sports setting, you’ll love Skinny’s Off Track Bar. Go old school at this ‘70s vibe sports bar and order a Manhattan, martini or tequila sunrise while watching televised baseball, basketball, and college and pro football games. Munch on corn dogs, chicken wings, Italian beef and more pub food faves.

People sitting on a patio of what looks like a French bistro.
Rosie's. Courtesy of Howards and Rosie's.

Head to 1130 S. Sixth St. for two new Clarksville experiences. Howards Bar and Club and Rosie’s Wine Bar share a building, but have little else in common. DJs command attention while spinning dance beats on select nights at Howards, where shorts and flip-flops are not the look. If you prefer a more intimate setting, wander into Rosie’s, where the international wine list is long and the small plates embrace Spanish, Portuguese and French flavors. Want a secluded spot to sip wine? Snag a seat on the patio.

Head to Stinson Yard on Menchaca Road and try the drinks at Lulu’s, owned by a Latina mother-daughter team. The Mexican-inspired menu includes create-your-own agua frescas and cocktails with names such as The Lola (mixed with vodka), Palomita (featuring tequila) and Señor Mezcal. Live music is a bonus on select evenings, and dogs are always welcome on the patio.

Spirited and warmly decorated book store.
Vintage Books & Wine. Credit Amanda Hoffman.

ARTS NEWS

Pop in to Vintage Bookstore & Wine Bar and settle into a comfy couch at this independent, family-owned bookstore. Read poetry, debate a book’s merits with local Book Club members, listen to live music or hear an author speak. Snack on items artfully arranged in a charcuterie grazing box while sipping a glass of wine or beer.

Another indie bookstore to check out is Reverie Books, which offers a brick-and-mortar storefront in addition to online services. Searching for antique or banned books alongside mainstream bestsellers? Want to meet an author or attend a reading? This will be your new favorite South Austin place.

Don’t miss the experience of being surrounded by 28,000 dazzling spheres of light at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Through Dec. 30, 2022, Bruce Munro’s Field of Light exhibit showcases the beauty of solar-powered fiber optics that glow along a .75-mile walking trail through gorgeous gardens.

The Contemporary Austin, the city’s acclaimed modern art museum, has introduced a wonderfully inclusive way to explore its Laguna Gloria grounds. The Laguna Gloria Accessibility Project included the installation of an ADA-compliant ramp that winds through the entire 14-acre site, allowing full access for everyone to both the gardens and outdoor sculpture park. Meander the walkway while admiring Laguna Gloria’s lush landscaping, towering outdoor sculptures and scenic Lake Austin views.

Man bull riding with bull bucking.
Austin Gamblers. Courtesy Andy Watson, Bull Stock Media.

LATEST ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS

Make it a one-stop night at side-by-side Brushy Street venues Parish and My Oh My. At My Oh My, order your go-to drink and hear DJs play world music – from African beats to hip-hop classics and Latin grooves. Next door, at Parish’s new location, see bands, tribute artists and even comedians onstage. Check Parish’s events calendar and get your tickets in advance.

Don’t expect to find chess players at Chess Club, an intimate space at Seventh and Red River streets. Instead, hear legends-in-the-making perform live music, watch DJs spin tunes and join the dance crowd in this nightclub that debuted during SXSW.

Just a short walk from Lady Bird Lake you’ll find Electric Shuffle, known for its libations, weekend brunches and high-tech electric shuffleboard. Pair a craft cocktail with pizza and sliders, or platters meant for sharing. If you’re with a group, consider splurging on The Celebration Package that includes a magnum of bubbly and 10 cake pops for dessert.

The Pitch lives up to its promise of food, fun and fútbol in the Parmer Pond District, home of the Austin FC pro soccer training center. Watch games in the beer garden or at Parmer Field, reserve a court to play pickleball, or drop in on movie nights. You can order food and drinks from four restaurants and two bars. Start your day here with the Coffee Club from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Whimsical indoor putt putt greens.
Courtesy of The Dirdie Birdie.

Become a fan of the city’s top bull riders — the Austin Gamblers — one of eight teams in the country competing in the Professional Bull Riders series. Cheer for your favorites as they ride bucking, twisting bulls and earn points that propel them up the rankings. Watch the team compete at home in the Moody Center arena.

Make plans now to attend the ATX Open, a prestigious professional Women’s Tennis Association tournament, held from Feb. 27 through March 5, 2023 at Westwood Country Club. It’s the first event in the new 1,500-seat stadium built exclusively for tennis. Buy tickets for daytime or evening events to see top players from around the world play exciting matches.

Practice your putting skills! A new 12-hole miniature golf course is one stroke closer to opening at The Domain. The Austin-themed indoor attraction, The Dirdie Birdie, will also feature a restaurant and bar.