ICYMI: The Tavern

An Austin O.G. gets a menu makeover and retains its paranormal presence

Photo by John Anderson

In what might be one of the oldest spots featured in this column, the Tavern deserves a mention not only because they've worked hard to revamp the aesthetic and the menu, but because you'd be remiss to not consider walking straight from Zilker Park to the 12th and Lamar double-decker locale after you peace out of the ACL Festival. Plus, October is all about celebrating the spookier side of life, right?

There are plenty of brand-new, big-screen televisions, so on popular game nights they've got specials galore, but let's be clear: What you should be ordering is the straight-up German pub fare (hello, Oktoberfest) like the Spaetzle Mac 'n' Cheese with house-made spaetzle, beer cheese, toasted breadcrumbs, and chives (definitely add the chicken and bacon if you're into that). Also try the sausage and sauerkraut bites made with savory ground sausage, cream cheese, and sauerkraut (to brighten the balls of glory) – they're lightly breaded, fried to golden perfection, and served with an array of sauces. You can't go wrong with any of the burgers, and what are you doing with your life if you don't order the pretzel sticks?

As if the full bar with plenty of brews on tap, multiple mini-patios, cozy low ceilings, and dark-stained wooden everything isn't enough, consider a visit (or return) simply to bask in the presence of otherworldly energy. That's right: This spot – originally converted from a private residence in 1916 to a tavern that's been running ever since – is home to Emily, a young spirit that hangs out in the upstairs bar (our favorite part), whose existence is confirmed by paranormal investigators and frequently featured in all sorts of podcasts and ghost tours and, well, séances and such. Regardless, the Tavern (and maybe its inhabitants) welcomes you for any sort of evening.

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