We don't try to hide it - Middle West has a serious love affair with Austin, TX. Live music pours out of something like half the doorways. The art of taco trucks has been perfected and replicated on street corners everywhere (and that's just one drop in the city's culinary ocean.) Funky Austin weirdness sits happily next to sophisticated design perfection and between the two live Austinites of all stripes. It's a city of change and heritage and independence and attitude...and, yeah, we in love.
This past weekend we made what's become an annual pilgrimage to our fave city to do a little scouting for SXSW 2018. We arrived early on a Thursday, took off midday on Sunday, and stuffed the in-between full of all the Austin anyone could handle. We toured venues, offices, hotels, and bars. We logged serious miles on foot, spent late night hours at a few of our favorite locales, and even made it to Soul Cycle (some of us, anyway). While we can't give away all our big discoveries - we thought y'all might appreciate a few of the highlights.
South Congress Hotel - Bruh. This place. Pretty much perfection. From the restaurants to the rooms to the pool to the secret bar that Matthew McConaughey hangs out in - they did not fuck around when they built this place. Huge shout out to our new pal Meredith for giving us the full tour of their facilities. We'll definitely be eschewing Airbnb when we make our next visit.
David Ramirez at Waterloo Records - A chance to see an Austin legend throw a release party at a legendary Austin record store? Yep, we weren't passing that up. It had probably been 10 years since we had seen a true record release show at a store (where have you gone Tower Records) and, man, was it fun to relive that "hear it live" excitement. Coolest part was the age span of the audience; there were 70 year olds getting down and teenagers actually buying cds. Totally Austin experience.
The Food- Can't narrow this down to just one spot. The previously mentioned taco trucks were visited multiple times (Veracruz All Natural is life changing). We also hit up old standbys that still blow our minds like Launderette and Elizabeth Street Cafe (that Pho.) Then we made some brand new favorites at spots like Grizzelda's and Kinda Tropical. Needless to say we're all on strict new diets this week and can't even look at food.
Native Experiential Hostel - Always on the cusp of the new cool, Jamie brought us to this spot and we could barely believe our eyes. It's like no hostel any of us have ever experienced before complete with bar, restaurant, and the "Romper Room" that sleeps ten more than comfortably.
Volcom Garden - The lesson with this one is always RSVP. We happened upon this event at Volcom's new store in East Austin while scrolling thru DO512.com and luckily we immediately sent in our names to be put on their list. Speed ahead six hours and we were being ushered past a block long line and into the open bar event that featured a half pipe, photo booths, break dancing, and multiple musical acts. It was one of those only in Austin nights that we mistakenly thought only occurred during SXSW.
Our list could keep going for days, but honestly we need a nap. Thanks Austin for never failing to remind us why we heart you so much. See you in March.