Austin is alive and weird in an old auto repair shop on Hewitt. From the street, there’s nothing to suggest anything remotely exciting could exist beyond Resident's abandoned warehouse facade. But through the side gate, a twinkle-lit, cacti-peppered patio buzzes with 300 or so Downtown denizens. It’s a scene straight out of Austin’s Eastside, where food trailers and outdoor imbibing reign supreme. In keeping with that theme, a revolving lineup of food trucks crank out comfort grub while craft beer and draft cocktails curated by Randy Tarlow (Liquid Alchemist) flow from a 1950s Spartan trailer-turned-bar.
The drinks, we might add, are as funky as the setting. Ever tried an old fashioned made with sweet potato vodka? There’s plenty of wine and even a few boozeless options (Mexican coke and cold-brew coffee) to sip on as well. On the patio, a profusion of picnic tables and a thoroughly chill atmosphere make it easy to settle in. But the block party doesn’t end there—the musically-inclined head inside. Once a restoration warehouse for vintage Woodies, the high-ceilinged space has been converted into a dark, industrial performance venue featuring a DJ booth and an intimate stage for up-and-coming talent handpicked by Spaceland Presents vet Duncan Smith. Club-goers stay hydrated with a bevy of artisanal concoctions dreamt up by Tarlow, and the banquettes along the perimeter are perfect perches from which to people-watch—especially on themed nights. Inside and out, there’s little not to love about Resident.
Good for: An easygoing neighborhood spot for knocking back tasty drinks al fresco, then boogying down to all flavors of indie, rock and soul. Gather your friends, coworkers, lover, your mom (yes, even she’d dig this place) for a long night of drinking and eating to your heart's content. Once you’ve stepped into the sprawling space, you won’t want to leave.
The scene: There’s an eclectic clientele here thanks to the diversified lineup, from psychedelic jazz to comedy. It keeps the crowd interesting. Young and old gather inside and out, some dressed up and others totally casual. All are welcome, no matter the musical taste or drink preference. Plus, no one’s judging if an empty dance floor is calling your name.
Drink this: The winner on our visit was the Oaxacan Razerblade ($12)—a combination of mezcal, orgeat, lime and bitters, prepared sharp or dull. In other words, spicy or mild. Resident’s most out-of-the-box beverage is their twist on an old fashioned, not-so creatively named the New Fashioned ($12). Old Forrester bourbon, Corbin Sweet Potato liqueur, brown sugar and toasted pecan bitters are pre-batched, letting all those great flavors sit and mingle. The resulting flavor is like Thanksgiving in your mouth—more savory than sweet, and strong as hell. Another gem on tap is the unapologetically sweet Hewitt Street ($12), which takes rum, Fernet Branca, coffee liqueur, orgeat and black walnut bitters to create something wholly unique. It’s the kind of boozer you’ll want as your last, before promptly hitting the sack. Don’t miss out on the amazing selection of craft beer, from local staples like Arts District Brewing’s Velveteen Rabbit Oatmeal Stout ($7) to Coedo's Shiro Hefeweizen ($15) hailing from Japan.
Our tip: Both bars (inside and out) serve the same booze, due to duplicate sets of tap lines. Cocktails and beer are accessible whether you prefer to take in the fresh air or soak up the live music.