With the premature spring weather comes the eminent fever of South By Southwest – a condition that drives you to take in as many artists, panels and parties as humanly possible without passing out from a serious case of FOMO. This can become pretty overwhelming and in most cases, you’re going to need proper sustenance. So instead of raiding the nearest 7-Eleven, take a peek at our guide for SXSW 2015 and treat yourself to the brisket, brews, and bold flavors that make up “cowboy country” and the ATX.
BENJI’s CANTINA (716 W 6TH ST.)
Between expertly blended margaritas, seared scallops, and savory fajitas that play on traditional recipes, Benji’s is your go to for a little south-of-the-border surf and turf. For SXSW, executive chef Blake Keely and his crew will be debuting a Show Stopper Torta (Slow Roasted Turkey Breast w/ Applewood Bacon + Avocado + more) and they’re pairing it with the ultimate festival add-on: a $4 Happy Hour.
CONTAINER BAR (90 RAINEY ST.)
Simply put, Container Bar is America’s first shipping container bar. Designed by North Arrow Studio and Hendley Knowles Design Studio, Bridget Dunlap’s new space is equipped with lounge spots, a patio, and a courtyard, and it compliments its aesthetic with a reputable list of beers and bubbly. In terms of tunes, Container is also set to host Culture Collide x Hard Rock’s showcase throughout SX Music.
CRAFT PRIDE (61 RAINEY ST.)
To be completely honest: JT and Brandy Egli’s Rainey St. establishment is the best place to chug a cold one. The bar is still a safe haven for locals and their drink list will introduce you to 50+ all-Texas taps, including ambers, scotches, blondes, and double IPAs. In other words: it’s a home brewer’s utopia.
FLAT TRACK COFFEE (913 E CESAR CHAVEZ ST.)
Need a mid-morning pick-me-up but can’t stand the thought of listening to hungover biddies trying to order an Ariana Grande? Well, Flat Track is the metal-fab, muscle car-obsessed joint that you’ve been searching for. The minimalist coffee shop thrives on offering their clientele a simplified yet modern experience – pushing a streamlined menu of whole beans, classic espressos, and single origin blends.
FRANK (407 COLORADO ST.)
Situated in between 4th and 5th St., Frank’s has it all. They’ll always be the go-to for “SXSWeiners”, but it’s an overwhelming chore to ignore their waffle fries, frito pies, wedge salads, premium cocktails, and veggie/gluten-free menu. Just prepare to be adventurous – their Jackalope dog is a life-changer.
HALF STEP (75 1/2 RAINEY ST.)
If you need to trade in your cold beer for a cocktail, then Half Step Bar should be a part of your spirited excursion in the ATX. The low-key lounge prides themselves on their crystal clear block ice and eclectic features – like their Tequila Ocho Ginger Paloma and Tequila Ocho Margarita which will be offered on draught during SXSW. Prefer an old-fashioned? Be sure to try their Floradora or Ginger Paloma.
LA BARBECUE (902 E CESAR CHAVEZ ST.)
What’s better than juicy, fall-of-the-bone ribs and mouth-watering, award-winning brisket? The boys and girls at La Barbecue have built in a second smoker and extended their hours of service to feed the masses. They’re also taking SXSW Music seriously this year with The Yard (March 18th & 19th) – an outdoor rock n’ roll jamboree with The Most Definitely and Wind-Up Records.
MAGNOLIA CAFE (1920 S CONGRESS AVE)
Fact: stacks cure all. Especially that mid-afternoon hangover which is why places like Magnolia are a little slice of southern heaven. The cafe embodies warm diner vibes and resistance to their Gingerbread Pancakes is futile. The same can be said for their “Chicken And Egg Dish” which is jalapeno cornmeal pancakes with shredded ancho chicken, eggs, pico de gallo, sour cream, and black beans.
RUBY’s BBQ (512 W 29TH ST.)
A praised establishment since 1988, Ruby’s offers steroid and hormone-free brisket that’s slow cooked with oak wood in brick and mortar pits for about 24 hours. If you are looking to add some spice to your smoke, their BBQ pinto beans and vegetarian jambalaya add a Cajun kick that’s worth a second groan.
STUBB’s BBQ (801 RED RIVER ST.)
As everyone knows, Stubb’s is Stubb’s. The grill masters at the BBQ establishment aren’t up to anything outlandish during SXSW – outside of their must-see parties/showcases – but they will be serving up “the best damn brisket in the state”. Their slow, post oak smoked, dry-rubbed slabs (above) will hose you with meat sweats and they’re the perfect companion for their pinto beans, spicy pollitos, and fried okra.
TINY PIES (5035 BURNET RD.)
The state of Texas is know for it’s smokers but you can’t forget about their desserts. Rosedale’s Tiny Pies made its mark on OPRAH Magazine’s O List in 2012 and their decadent desserts are beyond addicting. They’ve transferred their old family recipes into a delish mix of sweet (Pecan & Chocolate Brownie) and savory (Veggie Pizza) creations, and even four-packs of Austin-themed cherry/blueberry pie pops.