Tasty new eats in the central city for hungry ACL fans
Reviewed by Gracie Salem, Fri., Oct. 12, 2012
Liberty TavernHilton Austin, 500 E. Fourth; 493-4901
The recently revamped Liberty Tavern inside the Hilton Hotel (on the Fourth Street side, facing the Convention Center) should be a hopping spot during ACL, as it's open all but five hours of the day, serving Texas-style breakfast (6-11am), lunch (11am-5pm), and dinner (5-10pm), plus a 9-11pm happy hour and a great list of bar snacks. Hilton smartly remodeled the space to include an enormous bar and stage for live music. High ceilings and comfy booths facing out onto Fourth Street make for a great place to hole up and nosh, whether staying at the Hilton or not. Several of the cocktails have a decidedly Austin twist, like the Lady Bird, with Tito's Vodka, a blackberry puree, St. Germain, and a splash of Prosecco, or the Hill Country Storm, with Treaty Oak Rum, lime juice, ginger syrup, and club soda. There's a fun Modern Mule, a yummy play on the increasingly popular drink, as well as the house drink, the Liberty Lemonade – local Dripping Springs Vodka, Paula's Limoncello, lemon, and simple syrup – sweet and delicious. The beer list features tons of Texas breweries, as well.
The dining menus mostly read like straight hotel fare, but some ingredients stand out as Austin-inspired. For breakfast, enjoy migas or Fredericksburg jalapeno sausage. Tamales, stuffed peppers, baby back ribs, and "Texas-style" queso adorn the Bar Bites list, while a Lone Star burger can be had all day, with red chile barbeque sauce, crisp jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, and fries served with chipotle ketchup. My favorite offering here is the Beer Dinner: a flight of five Texas-made beers, a full pound of red chile spiced pork shoulder, and spaetzle with caramelized onions, all for $32.75. After a long day at Zilker among the throngs, I could lean into that number with ease.