Austin, Texas has seen incredible growth over the last decade, in both the number of new residents and new businesses opening their doors. In particular, the area on South Lamar within walking distance of the Alamo Drafthouse has seen an explosion of hip bars and restaurants. I’ve witnessed this first hand, since moving to the neighborhood in 2009 and seeing something new and exciting pop up every couple of months.
Now with so many things to eat and drink on South Lamar, you no longer have to go downtown to 6th street, the warehouse district, or Rainey Street to get your nightlife fix. If you want a low-key night out, you can park once on South Lamar, then walk to more than a dozen restaurants and bars within 2 blocks of each other. What’s better, all of the parking is free and you don’t have to deal with huge crowds.
So the next time you want to have a fun night out without the hassle, consider restaurant hopping or a bar crawl on South Lamar using the guide below to plan your night out:
South Lamar Bar Hopping: Starting points
The following are all excellent places to start your night off right with a delicious dinner before your night of drinking. After all, you need to fortify your stomach for the onslaught come!
Ramen Tatsuya (1234 S Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78704) – Ramen Tatsuya is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin. You can’t go wrong slurping up the hearty tonkatsu noodle soups that feature decadent pork broths or enjoying the lighter miso, chicken, or vegan ramen options. Tatsuya is a great restaurant to lay down a solid foundation for a night out, not to mention a solid spot to enjoy sake, craft beers, or their specialty cocktails. Be prepared to wait in line if you come during prime hours, but it’s worth the wait.
Delicious (1100 S Lamar Blvd #1105, Austin, TX 78704)
This self-service, farm-to-table restaurant, bar, and high-end grocery store combo is an excellent place to enjoy a delicious gourmet sandwich, salad, or even scallops or poke salad. And because you can consume any bottle or six-pack you buy from the market in the stylish, self-service common dining area, you can enjoy some excellent booze on a budget while hanging out in a cool-looking, laid-back space, making this a great place to start your night out on South Lamar, especially if you’re hanging with a large group.
Odd Duck (1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)
This farm-to-table trailer turned brick-and-mortar restaurant is arguably the one that started all of the recent development on South Lamar. Serving up very creative shareable plates, excellent cocktails, and great beers on tap, Odd Duck has earned it’s reputation of being a must-try restaurant among all Austin dining establishments. The menu changes regularly depending on what’s in season, so make sure to check the Odd Duck website before you head over.
Alamo Drafthouse (1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)
If you want to catch dinner and movie before your night out on South Lamar, the Alamo Drafthouse serves up respectable food, awesome popcorn, and a huge beer list. The desserts aren’t half bad either if you’re in the mood for a salted caramel milkshake or even some milk and cookies. Just remember to arrive 45 minutes before your movie starts, as the parking deck can get a little bit crazy at times.
Shake Shack (1100 S Lamar Blvd #2100, Austin, TX 78704)
The NYC burger joint has made it’s way to the corner of South Lamar and Treadwell to serve up tasty burgers, shakes, beer and wine to get your night out started.
Maudies Too (1212 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)
An old Austin Tex-Mex standby known for its fajitas, chips and salsa, queso, and powerful margaritas that can get you in the mood for bar hopping.
Vox Table (1100 S Lamar Blvd #2140, Austin, TX 78704)
For a special occasion, Vox Table serves up high-end, New-American cuisine. The restaurant serves up creative small plates featuring farm-to-table ingredients that you can pair with potent cocktails or and extensive wine list.
Cantine Italian Cafe (1100 S Lamar Blvd #2115, Austin, TX 78704)
Cantine serves up decent Italian food in a clean, modern setting. In addition to food, they have a nice wine selection and an espresso bar, if you want to load up on caffeine to power you through a night of drinking.
South Lamar Bar Hopping: 2nd Stop
There’s only one place on the 2nd stop of this eating and drinking tour, because Backbeat is a hidden gem that everyone needs to check out at least once.
Backbeat (1300 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)
Located directly next to Ramen Tatsuya (the buildings literally touch each other), this upscale establishment boasts an Instagram-worthy bar, cozy booths perfect for medium-sized groups, and a rooftop deck with a view of the Austin skyline. Opened by the same crew that brought you the highly acclaimed drink.well bar on North Loop, Backbeat serves up some of the best high-end cocktails in town in addition to elevated bar food (try the homemade chocolate) if you want something to nibble on. They’re open til midnight most nights, making this a great second stop.
South Lamar Bar Hopping: Late night spots
While not as well known for their food as earlier stops on the tour, these last few spots are fun spots that stay open late, so you can party on into the early morning.
Gibson Bar (1109 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)
This auto-garage-turned-bar with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating is a great spot to end the night because it’s open late. And if you’re still hungry, you can grab some tasty late night eats til midnight from the award winning trailer Luke’s Inside Out, which features a quite decent and rabbit sandwich.
HighBall (1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)
The Highball is an excellent place to see a show, grab some drinks, eat some bar food, or sing your heart out til 2AM in one of their eight themed karaoke rooms with full service. So go ahead, belt out your favorite Journey hits in a Super Mario Bros-styled singing lounge (but remember to reserve 2 weeks in advance).
Saxon Pub (1320 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)
The Saxon Pub is an old-Austin dive bar known primarily for live music. On any given weekend night, you can listen to tunes til the early morning while soaking in the laid-back Austin vibes.
This guide is part of the 2017 City Guide made by bloggers in the Austin Food Blogger Alliance. Check it out to learn more about for the best places to eat in Austin.