South by Southwest 2022 is right around the corner with sessions starting on Friday, so get ready for an action-packed 10 days. The tech, arts, film, music and culture festival attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees every year, so why not get creative when you get your grub on?
When looking for a place to eat in Downtown Austin, here's a few tips:
- Check inside the nearest hotel
- Look up in the high-rises
- Look for large patios
- When in doubt, head east!
Whether you’re attending the conference or just want to be near the action, these restaurants are in close proximity to all the festivities.
Analog Bar + Bites | 301 W 17th St.
Located inside the Hilton Garden Inn Austin University Capitol District, Analog was created with inspiration from the city’s many food trucks.
With an interior bar, covered patio and rooftop patio with views of the Capitol, there is plenty of room to spread out after a day at the festival.
The restaurant serves dishes inspired by Texas culture, like fried green tomatoes, triple barbecue sliders and cocktails made with Texas-local Tito’s Vodka. During the festival, Analog will offer a special late-night menu available from 10 p.m.-midnight, including salted caramel popcorn, rosemary cashews, shrimp cocktails, dill pickled green beans and salami and brie sandwiches.
Corinne | 304 E Cesar Chavez St.
Serving upscale American comfort food, Corinne is one of the best areas for people watching after the festival with one of the largest outdoor patios on West Cesar Chavez Street. From the breakfast pecan praline french toast or housemade biscuits, to truffled bucatini or crab croquettes for later in the day, to craft cocktails to close out the evening, Corinne is open for all occasions.
Fareground | 111 Congress Ave.
With two full-service bars and six restaurants to choose from, Fareground is an upscale food court with options for everyone.
Choose from an array of noodles and potstickers at Little Wu, Israeli street food like falafels and schnitzel sandwiches at TLV, James Beard-nominated pizza and salads at The Market, plus more James Beard-nominated American fare like chicken sandwiches, burgers and salmon bowls from Henbit.
Every day at 5 p.m. at DRINK, you can find $4 house cocktails, beers and wines. Fareground also has weekend brunch offerings and is steps away from the Austin Convention Center.
Old Thousand | 1000 E. 11th St.
If you find yourself on the east side, don’t miss out on Old Thousand, a mix of Chinese food and Texas flavors. Though you can get brisket fried rice or General Tso’s chicken, the menu is also very vegetarian/vegan friendly with options like mapo tofu or the Buddha’s Delight noodle bowl.
Unwind with a gin-based Red Lantern cocktail, given a red hue by hibiscus, cherry heering and cranberry bitters. Check in on Sundays for chicken and waffle brunch!
Reverly Kitchen + Bar | 1410 E 6th St
Another east side option, Revelry’s specials will keep you fed and its spacious patio will give you a break from the crowds. On the menu are crispy chicken sandwiches with house pickles, angus beef burgers, Bavarian pretzels and more.
Its daily weekday happy hour, running all night Monday and from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, will get you $5 off wells and certain appetizers, $2 off house cocktails and wine, and $1 off beer.
Walton’s Fancy and Staple | 609 W 6th St.
(Walton's Fancy and Staple)
Your one-stop shop for a quick breakfast and latte, Fancy Lunch combo or flowers on the way to SXSW, Walton’s Fancy and Staple has you covered. Walton’s opens at 8 a.m., early enough to stop by on your way to the fest, and normally closes at 4 p.m. but stays open later from Thursday to Saturday for its 5:30-7:30 p.m. happy hour.
Stop by early in the morning for a breakfast taco or challah french toast, grab a gourmet sandwich for an afternoon pick-me-up or indulge in some $6 sips for happy hour.
Zanzibar | 304 E Cesar Chavez St.
Located in the same building as Corinne, the Austin Marriott hotel downtown, Zanzibar is a tropical oasis seven stories above the ground. With a lush rooftop terrace and pool to enjoy tiki cocktails or small plates beside, the bar has its own street-level elevator on San Jacinto Boulevard to take you straight up.
Through Monday-Wednesday of SXSW, Zanzibar will host a “Tiki & Chill” happy hour from 4-6 p.m., or you can pop in on Sunday for the “Sunday Staycation” special with tropical mimosas and $7 small bites.
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As Texas navigates reopening restaurants and bars safely, al fresco spots provide the perfect place for long-quarantined Austin residents. Some of these favorites are open only on the patio, others are allowing customers to eat to-go orders in the space, and a few are full service—the details are subject to change. This is not an all-inclusive list, but here they are, in no particular order:
Upscale seafood fare is served under striped umbrellas on the tree-lined porch, with dogs allowed and an unfettered view of South Congress foot traffic.
Address: 1400 S. Congress Ave.
Serving craft cocktails with names like Riki Tiki Tavi and Lucid Dreams, Whisler's is a favorite on the city's East Side and is currently only open Thursday-Sunday for patio service.
Address: 1816 E. 6th St. (Photo: Whisler's)(Whisler's)
3. 77 Degrees
Exotic cocktails and tasty small plates are only a small part of the draw for this rooftop oasis in the Rock Rose section of the Domain, offering cushy seating, fans with misters and views of the action below.
Address: 11500 Rock Rose Ave. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
4. Iron Cactus
Serving 100 tequilas in a turn-of-the-century building, this Mexican food restaurant's gorgeous and popular rooftop overlooks on historic Sixth Street.
Address: 606 Trinity St. (Photo: Iron Cactus)
This charming Greek eatery on South Lamar sports a relaxing front courtyard covered in shade trees and drenched in an Austin-hippie-meets-Mediterranean-village vibe.
Address: 2050 S. Lamar Blvd. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
A converted house with porch and yard on the city's East Side serves interior Mexican cuisine in a setting that kind of resembles a chilled-out house party in Mexico City.
Address: 1306 E. 6th S. (Photo: Licha's Cantina)
Beer, wine, coffee and cafe food meet a distinctly local vibe in the laid-back courtyard, a neighborhood favorite just east of I-35.
Address: 1400 E 38th 1/2 St. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
8. Posse East
Drink a beer, grab a burger and watch your favorite sports from a safe distance on the patio in this university-adjacent sports bar, a local favorite for nearly 50 years.
Address: 2900 Duval St. (Photo: Posse East)(Posse East)
One of Austin's food-truck-turned-restaurant success stories, this little haven on the East Side serves some of the city's most popular Turkish fast food - wraps and falafel shots and local beer.
Address: 1311 E. 7th St. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
10. G'raj Mahal
Another food-truck success story, this Indian food joint has been a staple on Rainey Street for more than a decade and boasts a patio in the shade surrounded by decorative bicycle wheels and great people watching.
Address: 73 Rainey St. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
Sit on the covered front porch with your buddies and your pups at this South Lamar favorite, with a full bar and menu that includes one of the best Chicago dogs in the city.
Address: 2108 S. Lamar Blvd. (Photo: Black Sheep Lodge)
This iconic South Congress restaurant and beer garden serves interior Mexican fare and boasts a full bar, house-made tortillas and excellent SoCo vibe. Its small front porch and the Oak Garden next door are both open.
Address: 1412 S. Congress (Photo: Guero's)
13. Culinary Dropout
This hip spot on the edge of the Domain's North Side plaza offers a spacious covered patio lined with white leather benches and tables with plenty of room between them, serving food and drinks in a casual but cosmopolitan setting.
Address: 11721 Rock Rose Ave. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper III)(Charlie L. Harper III)
This iconic three-level club downtown sports many cool indoor spots, but it made this list for its stellar rooftop, with cush seating, shade and views of the skyline.
Address: 412 Congress Ave. D (Photo: Speakeasy)(Speakeasy)
15. Jo's Coffee
A SoCo staple for decades, the window service and covered patio and sunnier street-side seating give a funky summer-camp-cantina feel to one of the city's trendiest urban neighborhoods. Don't forget the photo op with the iconic "I Love You So Much" message painted in red on its green north-facing wall.
Address: 1300 S. Congress Ave. (Photo: Jo's Coffee)
If you're dying for a date night and looking for a romantic outdoor space, this dreamy Italian eatery in the hills of Northwest Austin boasts beautiful views and elegant fare on its comfortable patio.
Address: 6203 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. (Photo: Siena Ristorante)(Siena Ristorante)
17. Hula Hut
A longtime Lake Austin favorite just west of downtown, the Hula Hut (and its neighbors along the lakefront) beckons with a decidedly summer vibe; the pina coladas and coconut shrimp are a bonus.
Address: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. (Photo: Hula Hut)(Hula Hut)
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