Time Out Love Austin Awards 2018: the winners
Since rules are meant to be broken at the irreverent Holy Roller, which opened to much fanfare last summer, you can eat indulgent brunch dishes until close every day. Nosh on playful picks like the Time Bomb (warm apple butter, shaved ham and thyme streusel on an apple bun) and yellow-cake pancakes topped with fried chicken and sriracha butter. Weekends still reign superior: Visit chef Callie Speer’s Sunday School Brunch and choose from “seven deadly sins” pastries and cocktail specials before confessing your sins in the neon-lit confessional in the back.
Scoring a seat at this cafe built out of an old cathedral is tough, but both the coffee and food are worth the effort. Whereas most coffee shops happily peddle reheated breakfast tacos, Cenote takes pride in prepping them fresh using locally-cured bacon from Flying Pig, as well as offering more elaborate brunch dishes like kale scramble. Coffee is served in French presses or pour overs, and after dark they transform into a solid drinking destination with eight wines by the glass and seven all-local drafts.
Runner-up: Radio Coffee & Beer
The Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar is arguably the best place to catch a flick in Austin. What makes it so isn’t necessarily its proximity to the many bustling businesses flanking it, or the fact that it’s adjacent to the Highball, a popular karaoke bar. It’s really that it’s the Goldilocks of ATX movie theaters: it ain’t too fancy, the drinks and food are friggin’ delicious and there are nine screens featuring current, classic and special event screenings, including the annual mini-film fest, the 24-hour Butt-Numb-A-Thon held each December. Any true Austinite can confirm—nobody beats Alamo Drafthouse.
Runner-up: Violet Crown Cinema
It's no wonder y'all love this spot so much: The cavernous Red River staple hosts specialty dance nights all week, including Tuesgayz, Grits N Gravy Thursdays, Footloose Fridays and New Noise Saturdays. This isn’t a spot for the faint of heart—the music is loud and the dance floor is crowded—but you can always escape to the spacious patio when in need of some fresh air.
Runner-up: Cheer Up Charlie's
The non-profit ZACH Theatre is Texas’s longest continuously running theater, having entertained Central Texans since 1932. In addition to classic plays and musicals on the mainstage, ZACH also offers a theater program geared specifically towards families, introducing young'uns to Austin's vibrant theater scene.
Runner-up: Bullock Texas State History Museum
Barton Springs Pool, Austin's outdoor gem, is a swell time on almost any day—even the cold ones! (It’s true: the year-round average 68-degree water actually feels warmer when it’s brisk out). Our advice when visiting your most loved landmark: arrive early (no later than 8:30pm)—because of overcrowding in the past, the city now limits the capacity to 750 people at $3 a pop. And if you’ve ever wanted to channel your inner wolf and howl at the top of your lungs without fear of judgment, the pool's lunar parties are for you!
Runner-up: Mount Bonnell
Cheer Up Charlie’s welcomes everyone, no matter how you self-identify. The best local and national musical acts and performance artists (drag shows here are tops) can be found performing on Cheer Up Charlie’s stage, which backs up to a spectacularly illuminated rock wall, or in the more intimate indoor space. Need a drink? The bar offers unique signature cocktails like the Golden Ticket (whisky, kombucha, lavender bitters, candied ginger) and the Spicy Cuban (rum, mango juice, elderflower liqueur, and habanero).
Runner-up: Rain on 4th
Just over a decade in, the Mohawk has become one of the most reputable places for musicians to perform—and one of the most loved locales among live music fans. The latter is in part due to the main outdoor area’s multi-tiered design: While braver, rowdier fans flood the ground level in front of the stage, others seeking a more laid-back feel can occupy three balcony levels including a rooftop patio and a bird’s-eye, side-stage viewing space. Even when there’s no live music, the Mohawk is mainstay happy hour haven.
Runner-up: ACL Live
You'll find Rustic Tap connected to the Hoffbrau, one of Austin's oldest family-owned restaurants where steaks come drenched in butter and the prices won't make you have a heart attack. Rustic Tap is a sunny extension of this institution, a large patio offering over 20 beers and cocktails along with corn hole, Jenga and beer pong—perfect for Sunday Funday. A couple stages serve as the perfect place for up-and-coming (and established!) bands to share their material; be sure to check Rustic's calendar for their next show.
Runner-up: Moontower Saloon
We don't blame you for loving Zilker Park so much: As the home of the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, the Trail of Lights, summertime’s free Blues on the Green concert series, plus dozens of other outdoor activities, Zilker is an ATX institution. Throughout the year, you can explore the sprawling playground, stroll through the stunning Umlauf Sculpture and Zilker Botanical gardens, rent a canoe or kayak the tranquil waterways (including Lady Bird Lake). Plus, you can tour the grounds on the Zilker Park Train or frolic on the open green fields—perfect for a casual Frisbee or soccer game.
Runner-up: McKinney Falls State Park
Chef Pablo Gomez brings his Spanish roots to South Lamar with El Chipirón, a bright, airy eatery that focuses on pintxos (think higher-end tapas like octopus ceviche). Sit at the curved marble bar, and nibble on Manchego and Idiazabal cheeses, jamón ibérico ham and beet salad, or try one of the larger items, like squid-ink meloso rice. Regardless of whether you have a snack or a full meal, one of the bar’s seven Spanish gin and tonics is a necessity.
This is a place you’ll want to browse endlessly with your friends. Part trendy gift shop, part apothecary, you can find trendy trinkets while bathing in their lovely scented space. The vibe is fun, with on-trend clothing and fabulous accessories. Pick up small things for your home like a “boss babe” nameplate or a neon planter. While you’re there, pamper yourself at their salon or just pick up a couple of chic products from Shu Umera, Mario Badescu, Kevin Murphy and Oribe.