A departure from the nearby shot bars (Maggie Mae’s if you must), Swan Dive serves strong, properly mixed classic libations to handlebar mustaches looking for live folk, bluegrass, swing, soul, or jazz when night falls.
Snagging a reservation is an accomplishment at Olivia, home to a polished, local-centric menu. The best bet is brunch: Order pink champagne mimosas, picnic fried chicken with house-made gherkins, and potato salad.
West Sixth is like East Sixth (bar, bar, pizza, bar) without the fist pumps, jock barf, and stickiness. Kung Fu Saloon has free Skee-Ball and excellent Sunday Funday specials to help you pick up where brunch left off.
Ancient, lazy oaks overlook the art and rock ’n’ roll-themed Hotel Saint Cecilia. The estate is more secluded than sister spot Hotel San José but has equal quirky, retro, quintessentially Austin charm.
New, dark, and vaguely British, Haddingtons serves the city’s best non-BBQ pork (shank, shoulder, double bone-in chop). Portions are small, so order the duck liver mousse and the lamb pot pie. We won’t tell.
Make a reservation at one of SoCo’s many amazing restaurants, then stroll to Hotel San José, sit outside in the arbor-covered courtyard, order a michelada, and look over to the next table. Chances are we’re at it (in spirit). Oh, and the rooms aren’t too shabby either.
Gourdough’s on South Lamar fries pansy-free pastries. Order the Slow Burn (habanero pepper jelly, cream cheese topping) or the Flying Pig (bacon, maple syrup icing) and a wheelbarrow to help you back to your car.
Austin’s best vintage is at Feathers Boutique on South Congress. Despite the climate, it stocks pristine fur stoles and capes, and most cost less than a Benjamin. A tip: Hit SoCo’s First Thursday for local artisan pop-ups, late hours, free drinks, and live music (naturally).