As an Austin local, I’ve witnessed firsthand how this once college-centered city has morphed into a piquant metropolis. What’s different about our city is that it’s nuanced with one-of-a-kind eateries that are something to experience all on their own. Hipster food trucks, dim-lit taxidermied whiskey bars, boho-chic tapas restaurants, vying bbq joints, and the recent sprout of secret rooms make Austin a gluttonous wonderland for restaurant aficionados. Add great conversation, unique menus, and tasty libations to some of these interesting atmospheres, and you have several top Austin places to make a lasting impression.
As a techie, you’re bound to feel a certain kinship to the local food scene here. In Austin, techies are foodies— they almost go hand in hand thanks to the city’s colorful history. After Dell and the SXSW technology conference catapulted Austin into the global limelight as a world-renown tech hub, an explosion of hip restaurants and bars soon followed. This lively tech ecosystem is what drove entrepreneurial restaurateurs from all around the world to set up shop here. Today, Austin’s reputation for its palate-pleasing bars and eateries is right up there with its music and tech scene.
Although the city is most famous for its food trucks (there are about 4000 of them), there’s been a surge of brick-and-mortars popping up all over the city. Dressed in bespoke elements that reflect the city’s creativity, uniqueness, and innovation, you’ll find many places to liven up your client meetings and company outings. Here are just a few local places that we at Vertify are proud to claim. While folks seem to think we eat, sleep, and breathe data integration, Vertifites also have a passion for integrating work with our love for Austin’s food scene.
Top Austin Places to Wow Your Clients and Colleagues
#1: Eberly: Austin is known for its casual vibe, but if you’re looking to switch things up for more upscale digs, Eberly is a bit swankier than your typical Austin hangout— sans the stuffiness you’d find at a high class bar. Folks there are actually open to Austin-friendly small talk. The place itself, forged from an old print shop, is a great conversation starter. Your clients and colleagues can’t help but to be amazed by the intricate detail and steelwork in the restaurant. The bar, which is the focal point of the restaurant, was deconstructed from the famous Cedar Tavern Bar in Greenwich Village, NY and installed in Eberly. Here, you’ll find working professionals letting loose and enjoying some of Eberly’s specialties like Old Fashions and raw oysters. That’s just the beginning. There’s also interesting takes on classic food dishes for the main course. For more private gatherings, ask about their rooftop and secret meeting rooms.
#2: Mozart’s Cafe: Aside from being one of Austin’s most well known landmarks, you’re bound to run into familiar tech startup faces here. We like to begin some mornings here sharing application integration talks with clients while overlooking the lake and sipping on bottomless coffees and cold brews. We may even catch a peak at a barista roasting coffee beans. For a small bite, Mozart’s bakery offers both sweet and savory treats like quiche, galettes, croissants, fruit tarts, cinnamon rolls, and a wide selection of other pastries. And if you’re ready to move on to a heartier meal, we can walk right next door to Hula Hut for some tasty Tex- Mex.
#3: South Congress Cafe: If you’re looking to take guests out for lunch or dinner, there’s no place like Austin’s main strip, especially for out-of-towners who have yet to get a taste of Austin. Head to South Congress Cafe for an amazing happy hour with $3.00 margaritas, mojitos, bloody marys, and mimosas between the hours of 3pm and 7pm. For dinner, may we suggest their signature jalapeno venison meatloaf paired with a glass of whiskey (Pappy van Winkle is our favorite) or a full-bodied red vino? After we get through a couple of glasses and some chit chat about Vertify’s iPaas features, we like to stroll down South Congress and check out live music at Guero’s Oak Garden or visit the many specialty stores on the strip, like the Big Top Candy Shop.
#4: Whisler’s: Looking for a fun vibe without feeling cramped in? Head over to the east side of Austin, currently the most progressive part of the city. Whisler’s is close enough to downtown, but because it’s not as well known as other places, it isn’t as overcrowded. Eclectic-chic from head to toe, this E 6th destination has lots to stare at and take in. Craft cocktails are made to perfection and though they can get pricey, you can always take advantage of its generous happy hour when you’re hosting a bigger group. And when your crew gets hungry, don’t fret. In true Austin fashion, you’ll find a few food trucks close by to save the day; there’s even one in the backyard: Thai-Kun.
#5: Houndstooth: This central Austinier favorite promises good vibes to start your morning off— complete with specialty coffees, pastries and breakfast tacos (featuring an Austin favorite Taco Deli) at both their downtown and north Austin locations. With so many cool cafes in Austin, what makes this one different? Houndstooth is like Peet’s in the Bay Area where you’re likely to cross paths with the who’s who of Austin startups. And when you walk up to the counter to order your coffee, you’ll get the feel of premier bartender-like service, similar to trendy mixologist bars. The baristas here have been training for years and their passion for delivering excellent coffee and service shows. The seating area is very spacious and airy, so you won’t have to worry about your guests feeling cramped.
#6: Garage: If you like hidden and a little offbeat, the Garage is a gem in downtown Austin literally nestled inside of a parking garage. What used to be the garage manager’s office has been transformed into this cozy, intimate setting. You’ll find knowledgeable staff concocting on-the-menu drinks and even custom cocktails for those with particular palates. It’s perfect for hosting clients and coworkers after dark. One must have insider knowledge to find this place, so your guests will be impressed with your Austin navigation skills. If you want to grab dinner beforehand, Capital Grill is in walking distance and offers an excellent selection of food, wine, and craft cocktails. Though Capital Grill isn’t as original as our prior picks, we love taking clients here for quiet meeting time. It’s also close to other awesome downtown locales.