Five Austin Bars With Great Food
Get cool drinks and tasty snacks in one place
Austin's got a spectacular snacking scene, but we're better known for our music. Fortunately for us all, the best live music often comes with dinner on the side. Whether it's a post-show stop at a food trailer park, a between-shows break at a gas station taco truck, or drinks and dinner at a bar where musicians use their drink tickets for paninis, you've got to fuel that audience somehow – how else are we going to gather the courage to dance? Because we're the live music capital of the world (suck it, Nashville), here are some of our favorite spots to chow down while we get down.
The Skylark Lounge2039 Airport, www.skylarkaustin.com
Full disclosure: Skylark was the inspiration for this list. With their affordable well whiskey, rotating slate of wholesomely talented dad bands, and pizza slinging relationship with the temporarily closed Ladybird's Austin Kitchen (sigh), Skylark has always been our ideal of an Austin music venue: no-nonsense, high-quality, and just a little divey. They've since moved on to weekend barbecue, but the tunes and whiskey remain, and hey, there are worse things to pair with your Lone Star than brisket and hot links, right?
Pueblo Viejo (at North Door)502 Brushy, www.puebloviejoaustin.com
Sadly, the tacos at Pueblo Viejo's North Door outpost are a little too substantial to eat one-handed while shimmying at a live show or, better yet, one of their fantastic monthly cumbia nights, but you can always take a break to refuel with a breakfast taco or two. Pro tip: While the saucier tacos are delicious (especially the Tico – those black beans are out of this world), the Quesadilla Sincronizada is much easier to consume without dripping on your dancing shoes.
Chopped & Skewed* (at Stay Gold)1910 E. Cesar Chavez, choppedandskewedatx.com
Longtime resident trailer Toaster recently moved to its new home at 2207 E. Cesar Chavez in the Eastside Food Park. It’s still serving delicious food. The trailer at Stay Gold is now Chopped & Skewed, featuring classic American dishes with a pan Asian twist, all served on a stick. You’d be so lucky to eat their Japanese version of Mexican street food favorite, elotes, Sambal chicken and waffles, and the very best peppers, shishitos (also on a stick).
King Bee Lounge1906 E. 12th, www.fb.com/king-bee-1462071510718466
You knew there'd be at least one pizza venue, right? No food is better bar food than pizza. At King Bee it's tavern style, thin-crusted and buttery, cut into squares that give you perfect little right angles of bread to eat. Their classic cheese is probably the gooiest, ooziest, meltiest, cheesiest pie in town, and all of these pizzas are enormous. Try the new Hawaii 512, which dresses up a controversial classic with pickled jalapeños, spicy brisket, and red chili pecans. Paired with some stand-up comedy or a low-key dance night and a couple of alcoholic slushies, a night out at King Bee is a grownup version of the best pizza party you ever had.
Africa Night (at Sahara Lounge)1413 Webberville Rd., www.saharalounge.com/africa-night
So, technically, it's only once(ish) a month, but Africa Night at the Sahara Lounge still deserves an honorable mention for being one of the best and most uniquely Austin ways to spend a Saturday. Eight bucks at the door, and you get a buffet of delicious homemade food (those spicy meatballs!) and a night of judgment-free boogying to infectious global beats provided by their house band Zoumountchi, on an intergenerational dance floor where nobody cares about your garlic breath. You really can't ask for more than that.
Editor's Note: This piece originally described Toaster as Stay Gold's on-site trailer; we have since updated the story to include Toaster's new address and the new food truck at Stay Gold.