A perfect night in Austin isn’t complete without some great food and live music. (This is the Live Music Capital of the World, after all). So whether you prefer to listen to tunes on a patio or in a state-of-the-art concert hall, we've got it all planned out. Here's exactly where we would choose to catch a show in Austin, and where to eat before on a budget.
The Venue: The Continental Club
This famous bar on South Congress Avenue was once a supper club in the 1950s, but the 200-room venue is still rocking today: from country to swing, there’s something on every night, and even legend Robert Plant has recently graced the stage. Most tickets are only $5 to $10 at the door.
Where to Eat Before the Show: Hopdoddy Burger Bar
A two-minute walk away from The Continental Club, Hopdoddy is a staple on South Congress Ave (and you don’t even have to give up your parking spot). Try their Good Night/Good Cause burger, piled high with cheddar, caramelized onions, and BBQ sauce, and they’ll donate $1 to a local charity, too ($8.25).
The Venue: ACL Live
Prefer a concert setting to a bar? You can catch big names (Blondie, Diana Ross, Two Door Cinema Club this year) at the 2,750-person live music venue on Willie Nelson Blvd, home to the live taping of PBS’s Austin City Limits music series. Prices usually match the names, but the venue is state-of-the-art, and you can score tickets under $65 for many shows.
Where to Eat Before the Show: Irene’s
It’s just a 10-minute walk or three-minute drive from the very Instagramable Irene’s on West Avenue, where you can get everything from chicken pot pie ($15) to chocolate blackout cake with bourbon-ganache frosting ($7).
The Venue: The Blackheart
Pass by this whiskey bar and you might mistake it for someone’s home, save for the sign out front. It’s part of possibly the coolest (or should we say weirdest?) street in Austin: Rainey Street, where an unassuming row of historic houses are actually bars. This one tends to draw a young professional crowd to its house-party-like atmosphere, with two stages and a patio that make for an intimate performance, and a whiskey selection that includes rare bourbons and scotches. Best of all, there’s no ticketed entry.
Where to Eat Before the Show: G’raj Mahal
Also located on Rainey Street, this trendy Indian food restaurant is just a two-minute walk away from The Blackheart. (Trust us, finding parking on Rainey is a struggle — so once you do, you shouldn’t have to give it up.) Sit on the back patio and order the tikka masala ($14) and soak up the joint’s southern hospitality.
The Venue: Mohawk
The name comes from the Native American tribe and not the hairstyle, but seeing one wouldn’t be out of place. This live music bar on Red River Street hosts indie musicians and local talent on indoor and outdoor stages, plus, they’ve got a daily happy hour and over 100 local craft beers. Tickets are usually $8 to $12.
Where to Eat Before the Show: Stubb’s Bar-B-Q
Stubb’s is a great music venue in itself, but its barbecue is also the talk of the town. Come for the Sunday Gospel Brunch, and for $26.95 you’ll get grits, brisket, fried catfish, a Bloody Mary bar, and a soulful show. Since it’s on Red River Street, you can make your way over to Mohawk in just two minutes.
The Venue: Blind Pig Pub
Love it or hate it, you don’t get the full Austin experience without diving into the chaos on Sixth Street (think: Bourbon Street in New Orleans) for a night, and this two-story dive bar is a good taste. We like this spacious rooftop for its city views, live music, and its position for some of the best people-watching in the city. Bonus: there’s no cover charge.
Where to Eat Before (or After) the Show: Voodoo Doughnut
Sixth Street may be the scene of some regrettable actions, but grabbing a doughnut from Voodoo isn't one of them. The dessert heaven, just two-minutes walking from Blind Pig Pub, is open 24/7, perfect for a snack after you catch a late-night show.