HOME > Chowhound > Austin >


Mature 40 yr old Couple Looking to Drink!

My husband & I are in Austin for the week, halfway through a multi-month cross country drive. We've just decided that we are in need of one of those afternoons where you settle in somewhere for a few hours, drink some great draught beers and wine, nibble some yummy food and catch up on reading The New Yorker all while getting nicely tipsy. And do note, I say 'tipsy' not 'slobbery falling down drunk' :-)

Any suggestions?

Local beers definitely a plus - we're not snobs (PBR cans sometimes are found in our hands) but do like dark beers and complexity. Same goes for wine - reds, mostly, and interesting ones that aren't Cali fruit bombs. As for food, we have one omnivore and one vegetarian. Taking Asian and Mexican out of the mix (not so good w/ wine...) maybe Mediterranean Italian? Or good fresh & local & seasonal American cuisine?

Staying on South Congress near HomeSlice Pizza, and looking for walking distance - although we are NYers and so walking can mean upwards of a mile or two. Thinking that opens it up to Downtown and even the Eastside.

Thanks in advance for your help in our quest!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'd recommend spending some time on the patio at Perla's

    1. Perla's, Second, Enoteca.

      1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

      1. If 6:00 isn't too late to get started, I'd suggest Barley Swine. It's about 1-1/2 miles from where you are, but fantastic for this sort of thing. Olivia might be a good option, as well.

        If you want to stay closer to home base, I think the Enoteca suggestion is my favorite so far. I haven't been blown away by the food at Perla's or Second (I loved my one meal at Congress, Second's sister restaurant, but that's not going to fit your current needs).

        1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

        Barley Swine
        2024 S. Lamar, Austin, TX

        5 Replies
        1. re: Optimista

          Here is my suggestion: Get a cab and haul your buns over to Zilker Park. Take your bathing suits and a cooler full of Shiner Bock, and hang out at the park all afternoon, read, swim, drink to your hearts content, then put on some clothes and head over to Corazon (you can walk if you don't mind, its about 1 1/2 miles I'm guessing), on 5th and Lamar) Eat their yummy food, drink some wine, then when you are finished put your walking shoes back on and walk about 4 blocks West on 5th to Donn's Depot . Its a blast for the over 40 crowd (alright you might still be a little young for Donn's Depot, but you should try it). Chris Gage plays tonight and there might be some dancing to go along with the reasonable priced drinks and the great music, not to mention the friendly people! When you are finished, get a cab back to South Congress, You will love the evening, guaranteed--its a real Austin kind of afternoon and night!

          Donn's Depot
          1600 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78703

          El Arroyo
          1624 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78703

          1. re: gntlmn6464

            A word of warning.
            You won't be able to bring your cooler or whatever to Barton Springs (i'm assuming that is why you'd put on your bathing suits). They don't allow food or drink around the Barton Springs Pool of any kind.

            1. re: TroyTempest

              I don't think they allow any kind of alcohol in a city park in Austin.

              1. re: sqwertz

                It depends. Generally, if there is a pool or rec center there, no. But for instance, Auditorium Shores is a park and you can have alcohol there. And I have taken wine to the Zilker Hillside Theater, even though the entire park is no alcohol.

                1. re: 23451bum

                  I've taken it to Zilker Hillside, too. But it is technically illegal, though they turn a blind eye to it, unless you are disorderly.

        2. Haddingtons might be nice down on 6th... good noshes, very good beers and very very good mixed drinks. I've never sat on the patio myself, but it does have one...

          1 Reply
          1. re: cpencis

            +1 for Haddingtons. Serious cocktails and a special beer list.

          2. We'd considered Perla's but it seemed a little 'too-too' for what we're thinking. I like the idea of Haddington's -- the kind of laid back gastro-pub feel would be great.

            Any opinions on The Good Knight or Backspace?

            3 Replies
            1. re: jdubboston

              Pick somewhere to start. You really need to get going! If you don't like your first pick, go somewhere else. Maybe you'll enjoy checking out a number of spots. Cheers.

              1. re: jdubboston

                Haddington's just did a massive overhaul on their menu (classic French is the word), though the drinks remain. Pretty certain that they close for two or three hours b/n lunch and dinner service.

                The Good Knight's comfy, though they lost my favorite bartender to Second. I've also had a few odd experiences sitting outside of it.

                Backspace remains on my to-try list . . .

                1. re: bubbleboy79

                  After a dinner downtown, sipping a Bat-ini and hanging out watching the bats escape the LB lake bridge during dusk on a balcony or a hammock at the 4 seasons / trio is tough to beat if you enjoy a touch of posh and a beautiful garden to catch a bit of tipsy and "wild america" with. I find the drinks are more expensive but the pours much better here than other places. The lake edge garden here is prime, and just over the bridge and east a couple blocks from your spot. On a weeknight you'd have the place much to yourselves.

              2. If you want a taste of Austin's diversity I highly recommend the Crow Bar on S. Congress. I am 42 years old and have fallen in love with this place. The owner prides himself with infusing his own vodka and gin with herbs. I have tried Oden's Breath and Moscow Mule which are refreshing cucumber concoctions; Lavender Haze made with the house infused lavender gin, and then for the adventurer- I am not sure of the name but it is a pineapple, lime, strawberry syrup mixture with a muddled jalepeno. . . not sure of the liquor but it is pure wonderfulness!!!
                I am not a fan of Bloody Mary's but the mixer he makes smells like the most incredible salsa, I have been told it gets high marks.
                Very relaxed, casual patio to people watch!

                1 Reply
                1. re: sheroxwithfood

                  Damn, I've been craving good Bloody Mary's.

                2. So after much back-n-forthing, we've figured out the later part of the evening: planning to settle in at the Odd Duck food truck on Lamar with a lovely bottle of bordeaux we purchased at the Wine Merchant. Now we just need someplace (relatively) nearby to start things off around 3 or 4pm. Anyplace with good draft brews around there?

                  Planning this all for tomorrow (Thurs the 26th), just FYI.

                  And thanks for all the suggestions so far - hubbie has focused in on the Odd Duck, but otherwise Haddingtons looked great. I wish the Crow Bar was closer!

                  Odd Duck
                  1219 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jdubboston

                    You can't go wrong with the Odd Duck. I have never tried it, and don't know when they open, but the Gibson is right next door. I can verify that it looks like a bar from the outside

                    Odd Duck
                    1219 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                    1. re: jdubboston

                      Crow Bar is worth a cheap cab ride : D

                      1. re: jdubboston

                        The Gibson is more focused on wine and cocktails, but they do have some local beers (and Pearl cans for a buck.) A few blocks south down the street is Black Sheep Lodge, which has an excellent draft selection. http://www.blacksheeplodge.com/

                        1. re: jdubboston

                          Well Reds porch isn't very far frim there and soooo Austin for the view, people watching and an excellent local beer selection...and you can play washers in the shade

                        2. Wish I'd seen these last two suggestions! Oh well - we had a great afternoon anyhow, with a little public transportation experience thrown in. :-)

                          To start things off, we decided to trek downtown and visit Ginger Man. We arrived about 4pm and settled at the bar. The bartenders were extremely helpful and generous with tastes as we figured out what we were in the mood for. The new beer from locals Franconia (a kolsch) is amazing, BTW! After a couple of beers, we wandered back out into the sun over to Colorado and caught the #3 bus. It was a perfect straight shot, only three stops, to Odd Duck. Perfect!

                          We managed to snag a table in the shade, opened our bottle of wine (which we'd kept cold with freezer packs in our bag) and ordered a few courses, one at a time. My husband had the pork sausage with the duck egg and announced it perfection. He also had the lamb shank over grits which was a bit too rich for him. I had the two vegetarian items on the menu. The salad was phenomenal. The veggies with rice was a tad boring, but had a pretty strong vinegar taste that was overwhelming everything. I finished off with a 2nd serving of the salad and was happy :-)

                          We then slowly rambled (stumbled?) home, with a quick stop at Bouldin Coffee for espressos. Once home, we broke into cherries we'd bought that day at Whole Foods. All in all, a great afternoon. A lovely celebration of our anniversary!

                          We've been in Austin for the week and are really enjoying it. Can't wait for the farmers market tomorrow morning -- I'm holding out for Bola's Pizza!!

                          Odd Duck
                          1219 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jdubboston

                            I live near where you're staying, and I hope you will work dinner at Vespaio into your plans. I've been going there since they opened and they have a great atmosphere for what you describe. The only problem is they don't open until 5 and the only beer on tap is Peroni. But you've been to GingerMan, so maybe you're in the mood for wine or a cocktail from some skilled but unpretentious bartenders. Either way, get some drinks, read, and order something from the menu that looks good. You will enjoy. Really.

                            1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

                            1. re: jdubboston

                              Sounds like a lovely day! Did you try Bola? It's my favorite.