It’s that time of year again, SXSW. As the barrage of visitors pour into our streets, restaurants, and hotels, you may be wondering where to go to escape the crowds. Whether you’re an OG Austinite, or just staying for the weekend, this guide will help you navigate the chaos that is SXSW.
Austin Community Manger, Luci, has helped us write a road map for Yelper’s local favorites that will show you some little-known spots that are off the beaten path. Skip 6th street and head to where the locals go! Click here to save and follow this bookmark collection on the Yelp app. Let’s get down to business!
Las Trancas – Las Trancas combines Austin’s favorite things – tacos, food trucks and cheap food. “There’s nothing fancy about this food truck on busy Caesar Chavez st, but the food here is on point. Tacos are simple but perfect… Topped with onion and cilantro.. So good!” – Geoff S.
Laundrette – The East Side is booming with inventive, New American flavor, but skip the main drag and go to Launderette, which would be easy to miss if it wasn’t for the pink, neon sign! “We almost ordered the entire menu. Each dish kept getting better and better. I am officially blown away- and cannot wait to return!! – Jess B.
Kitty Cohen’s – You can’t go wrong with a bar that has glamor shots of Bruce Willis on the walls, but add in stunning cocktails and a pool and you may never wanna leave! “You walk into a 70s-80s style beach house which houses the bar and a great list of unique mixed drinks and wine or beer. Outside there are umbrella-covered tables and a little kitty pool to soak your feet in on a hot day. ” – MJ M.
Radio Coffee & Beer – Is it a coffee shop? Is it a bar? No one really knows, but what we do know is that Radio Coffee & Beer is one of South Austin’s most loved, local favorites. “This is my coffee joint! I bring my laptop here and grab an Americano or a latte (3-5 bucks depending) Good prices, friendly staff, never had an issue getting a table inside. Great beer selection and has Veracrus tacos and free WiFi in the afternoon” – Lauren B.
Picnik Austin – Health nuts rejoice, your Austin diet doesn’t have consist of queso exclusively, you can get fresh, quality food at Picnik. “Picnik features healthy fat gluten free foods and coffee drinks that taste amazing. It’s all Paleo like the breakfast taco, small but filling with a warm almond flour tortilla, grass fed sausage and pasture raised egg. My brain exploded with health fairies all day long.” – Christine A.
Backbeat – Don’t be thrown by it’s posh, modern look, Backbeat is a great spot to grab a quiet cocktail with friends. “OH BOY. Backbeat is my JAM. I went on a Friday night around ~10pm. Surprisingly not too crowded. I am obsessed with their menu. The seasonal drink menu – awesome. The full bar menu with cocktails for each liquor type – double awesome.” – Sujin Y.
Royal Jelly – The food at Royal Jelly is inventive and classic at the same time. You wouldn’t expect the culinary masterpieces that come out of the kitchen, which makes this place a hidden gem. “This restaurant is the epitome of chill and great food. They have an outside patio with picnic tables underneath trees. The inside of the restaurant is lit by romance and closeness. – Abel R.
Yard Bar – If you’re missing your furry friend on your trip to our city, stop by Yard Bar to check out the local pups, grab a cold one and snack on their impressive menu! “What a cool freaking concept. Austin people love beer and Austin people love their dogs (adopt don’t shop). Put the two and two together and you get a hopping place that draws a crowd, two-legged and four-legged alike.” – Avery K.
The Factory – Cafe With A Soul – Put down your phone, you won’t find wifi at The Factory. Come to detox from social media, but stay for the great coffee and endless conversations with the locals. “I simply adore this place! I love the artsy whimsical vibe. The bathroom is behind a bookcase, rotating art, mix and match of cafe type seating, couches, swing chairs and a patio.. there are so many cool things going on here.” – Amy D.
Deep Eddy Cabaret – You can’t find a better dive that still caters to the neighborhood. Deep Eddy is a blast from the past with a dark interior, weathered barstools, and cheap beer. “I really like the vibe of Deep Eddy Cabaret. It’s hard to find a good, chill dive bar that has genuine character near downtown Austin. The staff is super laid back and friendly and the drinks are reasonably priced.” – Stacey B
Mozarts Coffee Roasters – Stunning views and coffee are Mozart’s specialties and they deliver on both. This is the West Side’s most breathtaking coffee shop. “This one of my favorite coffee shops in Austin where they serve great coffee and food items. You can sit inside or outside with a view of Lake Austin” – Paul D.
Nau’s Enfield Drug – Nau’s is one of Austin most beloved staples. Take a step back in time and visit this no-fuss soda fountain with vintage charm! “Step into history and have some breakfast or a great hamburger or an old fashion shake or fountain soda. This place is off the beaten path and it’s definitely NOT for everyone. The staff at Nau’s Rx provide and unparalleled style and class of customer service.” – Will P.
Parlor and Yard – Whether it’s bar games you’re into or great cocktails, Parlor and Yard has a ton to enjoy downtown without the crowds. Their spacious interior and patio with faux-grass is a far cry from the other bars around. “Stopped in for drinks and was pleasantly surprised by the game room, fake grass outdoors, and the ping pong table. My Moscow Mule was nicely made and the music was a nice touch. Keep up the good work Parlor and Yard!” – Gerrud W.
L’estelle House – L’estelle House is a secret-garden like spot in the heart of Rainey Street. You might miss it if you were walking by, but seek it out and find a gorgeous, inspired menu and prosecco on tap. “Sitting in the yard under the shade trees in the evening was a delight, and the food was marvelous. I enjoyed two burger sliders that were incredibly flavorful, and homemade french fries that were, “to die for.” If I lived on Rainey Street, I would be there every day.” – Carolyn A.
Alta’s Cafe – This cafe is an easy walk from almost anywhere downtown, but will transport you to a magical place with some of the best views that Town Lake has to offer! “Alta’s is a small, beautiful cafe located next to the lake. There isn’t much space inside, but lots of patio space outside looking right over the lake.” – Sarah S.