The Driskell Hotel. The elegant hotel has a 100+ year history and is the subject of many stories of political balls, Presidential sleep overs and even a haunting or two.
We had a beautiful room with crazy high ceilings and super comfortable beds. The location ended up being so perfect that after we dropped the car off with the valet we didn't need it again until we left town. I will say that we found the cabs in Austin to be possibly the least reliable and hardest to find than most any other city. And we had a few particularly sketchy drivers on top of that!
Peché had been recommended to me by more than a few people and it was obvious why. The space is large and just about half of it is taken up by a gorgeous, long, dark wood bar. The bartenders were very friendly and the drinks, like my fig Manhattan, were delicious. And they have this totally cool ginormous absinthe fountain!
La Condesa. High-end Tex Mex was exactly what we were looking forward to for our first Austin dinner and this did not disappoint! I only wish we had been able to eat our way through more of the menu. Next time!
The next day we explored 6th Street before walking over to the state capitol for a free guided tour. This was a really fun and informative experience. Our guide was a college student and had lots of stories about the history of Texas, the six countries who have ruled it, battles and the way the state is run now. The building and the grounds are really pretty and as with everything else in Austin, it was just a short walk from the center area of 6th and Congress.
We finished up and headed over to Midnight Cowboy, found the appropriate buzzer, and were let in through a cruddy looking metal door into a very dim and pretty cocktail parlour.
Barley Swine. It is very popular (for good reason) and they don't take reservations. Faced with an hour+ wait we decided to check out the (very few) neighboring bars. First up was Henri's Cheese & Wine were we had a really delicious charcuterie platter to stave off our hunger. Next we sauntered over to the Horseshoe Lounge in search of a margarita but found only very cheap beer on tap paired with fluorescent lighting. Not to be deterred we walked over to La Feria for slushy regrets. Luckily the restaurant buzzed and out table was ready.
With such a short amount of time in town we forged on for a nightcap at Bar Congress. This swanky bar is actually part of the trifecta of Congress restaurant and Second Bar & Kitchen, all housed in the same multi-use building.
Franklin BBQ for a little brisket and ribs brunch. Everyone says this is the best brisket ever. Everyone says you have to go early because they sell out every day. Everyone says you have to wait in line forever. Everyone is right. We didn't get there until almost noon and we waited in line for an hour. And then the sold out sign got slapped on the door.
We had just a short amount of time to kill before Forest dropped me at the airport so we grabbed a cab and headed to check out the SoCo (South Congress) neighborhood. It's filled with funky shops, patio cafes, corner lots of food trucks, boutiques and bars. We could have spent more time perusing, but it was still a good look at the quirkiness that is Austin. There's a reason the city's tagline is "Keep Austin Weird".
All Austin photos are here!