SIR 2019 attendees can get a true feel for Austin without having to spend money driving or riding to far-flung destinations. Short walks from the convention center will put you in the heart of what makes Austin great.
Interventional radiologists at the Austin Radiological Association put together their list of favorite attractions to help you enjoy the best of what’s available in the capital of Texas.
“The trick is keeping everything local,” said Ravi J. Jhaveri, MD. “Austin prides itself on local, unique and weird kinds of things. The music is great, the food is great and the people in Austin are just fantastic. They’re outgoing and they care about people who come to their city.”
The ABCs of BBQ
There’s very little bad barbecue in Austin, Dr. Jhaveri said. It’s just a question of which one suits your own personal taste. Here’s his list and commentary (by the way, he recommends ordering the brisket—moist over lean—and sausage).
FRANKLIN BARBECUE (900 E 11th St.)—The king of Austin barbecue is Aaron Franklin. He’s been the one who made boutique barbecue famous. People will stand in line for two or three hours.
GEBBY’S BBQ & CATERING (80 Rainey St.)—The owner is a catheter rep. He has a truck, and it’s not one of the names that comes up on all the barbecue websites, but everybody I’ve ever taken there loves it. He may be my favorite. His pulled pork is the best anywhere, and the chicken is really good, too.
IRON WORKS BARBECUE (100 Red River St.)—It’s cool because it’s super-old. It’s also right next to the convention center.
LA BARBECUE (2027 E. Cesar Chavez)—Barbecue served inside a sophisticated converted gas station called the Quickie Pickie.
VALENTINA’S (11500 Manchaca Road)—It’s a ways from downtown Austin, but it’s awesome Tex-Mex barbecue.
STILES SWITCH BBQ AND BREW (6610 N. Lamar Blvd.)—It’s named after an 1800s railroad stop (side note for movie buffs: the restaurant’s location in Central Austin was used for The Emporium in “Dazed and Confused”).
Dr. Jhaveri enlisted one of his Austin Radiological Association colleagues, Rainer N. Poley, MD, to suggest some other can’t-miss restaurants in Austin:
BANGERS SAUSAGE HOUSE & BEER GARDEN (79 & 81 Rainey St.)—House-made sausages and more than 100 craft beers on tap.
JEFFREY’S (1204 West Lynn)—A cozy, sophisticated place.
JUSTINE’S BRASSERIE (4710 E. 5th St.)—An essential Austin French Bistro.
KEMURI TATSU-YA (2713 E. 2nd St.)—Japanese Izakaya (informal Japanese pub) meets Texas barbecue.
MICKLETHWAIT CRAFT MEAT (1309 Rosewood Ave.)—East Austin trailer serving some of the best barbecue, with free beer in line.
ODD DUCK (1201 S. Lamar)—Modern Austin staple.
OLAMAIE (1610 San Antonio St.)—Elegant Southern fare.
PITCHFORK PRETTY (2708 E. Cesar Chavez)—Hill Country cuisine with local ingredients, some sourced from its backyard garden.
SUERTE (1800 E. 6th St.)—Fun, modern take on interior Mexican food with local ingredients.
UCHI/UCHIKO (Uchi: 801 S. Lamar Blvd.; Uchiko 4200 N. Lamar Blvd.)—Austin’s classic take on Japanese
VIA 313 PIZZA (1802 E. 6th St.)—Delicious Detroit-style pizza.
Live music—The Fab Five…
“If I’m going out in Austin, I’ll look at these five places first to see who’s playing,” Dr. Jhaveri said.
CONTINENTAL CLUB (1315 S. Congress Ave.)—No matter what night you go to the Continental Club, there’ll always be good blues—you really don’t even have to look to see who’s playing. They’ll have big headliners every now and then, but mostly there are a lot of the local Austin Blues guys.
THE SAXON PUB (1320 S. Lamar Blvd.)—It’s a little farther away, but it’s a true local place. They’ll usually have two or three sets a night. It’s a smaller place with great music.
STUBBS (801 Red River St.)—It’s a barbecue place, but it’s also about live music and has two places for performers. The outdoor spot gets a lot of headliners and bigger names. Stubbs indoor is a more intimate place presenting more artsy people or acts trying to break out.
MOHAWK (913 Red River St.)—If you’re into hard rock or edge music, the Mohawk is awesome.
EMO’S (2015 E. Riverside Drive)—It’s kind of a venue for specific people (its own website says Emo’s “always will be a little rough around the edges”). It’s in East Austin, a little farther away from the convention center.
… Plus a bonus pick
ACL LIVE AT THE MOODY THEATER (310 Willie Nelson Blvd.)—This is where they shoot the long-running PBS program “Austin City Limits.” The theater is more for headliners, and you’ll likely see some really big-name people there who are coming through Austin.
Here are some of Dr. Poley’s favorites:
C BOYS HEART AND SOUL (2008 S. Congress Ave.)—Another classic spot for live music in Austin.
DONN’S DEPOT (1600 W. 5th St.)—West Austin dive with live music nightly.
GARAGE COCKTAIL BAR (503 Colorado St.)—Hard to find, but worth the search.
ROOSEVELT ROOM (307 W. 5th St.)—One of downtown Austin’s great cocktail bars.
HALF STEP (75½ Rainey St.)—Cozy cocktail bar on Rainey Street.
LOBBY BAR, SOUTH CONGRESS HOTEL (1603 S. Congress Ave.)—Handcrafted cocktail program along with a full bar.
WHISLER’S (1816 E. 6th St.)—Fun East Side spot with great cocktails, outdoor space and an upstairs mezcal bar.
WHITE HORSE (500 Comal St.)—Classic East Side bar with live music and dancing nightly.