Austin is a popular destination for work conferences, weekend get-aways, extended vacations, and straight-up moving. I can’t open Tinder without at least 5 matches messaging me: “I’m in Austin for the first time. What should I do here?” Fear not, 30-year- old-man-petting-a-tiger-in-your-default-photo, I’m here to help.
My favorite piece of advice to give to newcomers is to start at Whisler’s Tavern on east 6th, then work your way west. There’s so much to do, and it’s all within walking distance! Grab a pricey cocktail, and compensate for the cost by eating from East Side King’s Thai-Kun food truck. It’s practically attached to the bar. A favorite of mine is the oh, so spicy Waterfall Pork. If Whisler’s isn’t your thing, save a few bucks by starting just a little further down the road at Liberty Bar. There you’ll find cheap beer, and another popular East Side King location. Pro-tip: Try the crispy beets. Now, keep walking west…
You’ll pass by the famous Qui, which you should consider eating at if you recently won that billion dollar Powerball, and hit Hotel Vegas. This place is great for dancing, meeting exceptionally drunk individuals, making horrifying one-night-stand-related choices, and is ripe for people-watching on their back patio, which is shared with 2 other bars. Fun fact: Paul Qui, owner of Qui, is a Top Chef winner, and also owns those aforementioned food trucks. I’m not advertising for the guy, but all of his food is truly amazing. So, pick your Paul Qui spot based on your budget. It’ll be good at any tier.
Now, it’s decision time. You can cut across the street, and round the corner at Cisco’s to visit White Horse (which is a mix of hip and honky tonk), or you can keep going in the same direction down 6th Street. I’m not a huge country fan, not even ironically, so I don’t really make this detour, but a lot of people do. Do you want to get your ‘Texas’ on? Go nuts. Otherwise, if you continue west, you’ll be coming upon a mediocre-unless-you’re-drunk food truck park, and even more bars!
For cheap, strong pours I recommend Violet Crown Social Club, which is connected to the famous Via 313 Pizza. If you prefer a more ‘fancy’ type of drink, then swing by East Side Show Room, which has expensive-yet-good food as well. As you continue, you’ll see more restaurants, and no less than 8 staggering drunks asking you for cigarettes. Reader, beware! If you go too far on this path (past IH-35), then you will find yourself on Dirty 6th, which is the “true” 6th Street, and the one puking frat guys, Bourbon Street fans, and lost tourists love. Mufasa says it best: