Cool Places in Austin (Vol. 1)

I have now officially been in Austin for 1 year and about 2 weeks. Over the past year I have had some major things happen in my life: I adopted a dog (who I had for 7 months and then re-homed, womp womp). I celebrated 2 years of love and togetherness with my partner. I hit the 1-year mark at my job (complete with a raise, woop!). And I’ve made some really interesting, lovely friends.

But one of the best parts about being in Austin is the nonstop adventure of discovering cool places to drink, dine, play, or chill.  I am certain that I am not the hippest Austinite, and I don’t have a long list of super-secret-cooler-than-cool places in this city. But I will, nonetheless, offer a list of some of my favorite spots in this (mostly overrated) neat, little city. Without further ado…

1. Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery
Wonderful place to get a nice variety of local craft beers, including house-brewed selections. The atmosphere strikes a nice balance between trendy and laid-back. Tucked inside of a multi-use (live, work, play) complex, there is plenty of parking and plenty of cool, unpretentious patrons in this bustling north central location. The best thing about this place is its cooperative business model: collective ownership, democratic decision-making, and ethical business practices. I am glad to support a business that pays its workers living wages, provides health insurance, and brings bombass beer to the community!

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2. The Herb Bar
This little gem is tucked away in a cute neighborhood just off of the famously eccentric S. Congress St. It is an interesting oasis of alternative healing modalities, natural body products, spiritual this-and-that, and an impressive array of loose herbs and teas. Whether you’re into this sort of thing or not (I am), you are bound to find something really cool and enjoy the good vibes from the staff.

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3. The Goodnight
Grown and sexy bowling and games. A casual, swanky spin on a classic outing. Great for a double/group date! Really a neat place.

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4. Bookwoman
Feminist bookstore. Small but full of great gems (books and otherwise) that celebrate women of all sorts. Also features a good selection of books about “green” living, writing, spirituality, and queerness. They even host special events with authors and musicians.

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5. Whole Foods at The Domain
My newest favorite spot. It’s even better than the glorious Whole Foods downtown (5th and Lamar)!!  This beautifully-designed store makes for a surprisingly fun shopping experience. Juice bar, coffee bar, sushi bar, salad bar, hot bar, olive bar, oyster bar, fresh pizza, deli sandwich bar, and more! Tons of indoor and outdoor seating. There’s even an outdoor stage, a foodtruck, and cozy seats with little fire pits. An awesome addition to North Austin!

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6. Roll-On Sushi Diner
Great spot in the North Burnet area. Colorful and lively atmosphere. Traditional sushi options and creative departures that barely qualify as sushi but delicious nonetheless. Great place for a relaxed and filling dinner.

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Stay tuned for Vol. 2 of Cool Places in Austin!


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