An Insider’s Guide to SXSW

Love it or hate it, SXSW is around the corner. The annual festival makes Austin the top destination for tech, music and film, bringing thousands of visitors and even more traffic to the city. While we love the tourism for our economy, locals must fight through the crowds to get to their neighborhood hangouts. Fortunately, Red Fan has created a meal-by-meal guide to surviving the South by buzz while still getting quality eats and drinks for locals and visitors alike.

8 a.m.: Wanna hear a joke? Decaf.

Patika Coffee is the early morning place to be. Located on South Lamar, this Austin favorite brews exceptional coffee and features a relaxed environment with a selection of delicious baked goods and snacks to wait out the downtown crowds. Away from the hustle and bustle, Patika also offers wine, charcuterie and cheese plates in the evenings, so it’s a win-win in our book.

9 a.m.: A Proper Austin Breakfast

When in Austin, you eat breakfast tacos. It’s the law. While Torchy’s does reign superior in Austin, the lines will most likely start wrapping around the block during the fest. Do yourself a favor and head to Cherrywood Coffeehouse near UT’s campus. The unassuming coffee shop offers some of the most delicious and filling breakfast tacos in the city.

11 a.m.: Slice, Slice, Baby

While we love Home Slice and all of its warm cheesiness, it is a madhouse during South by. Pinthouse Pizza has multiple locations away from South Congress where you can get a delicious traditional or meat lovers pizza with half the wait. Plus, the draft beer selection is impressive.

1 p.m.: BBQ Pit Stop

Franklin BBQ is the mecca of Austin. I’ve lived here for a year and am still afraid to attempt the restaurant during off season. So, it’s best to assume that waiting in line for Franklin’s is a nightmare during the fest. Instead, check out one of Austin’s newer barbecue options, LeRoy and Lewis outside of Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden. Nestled in a neighborhood right off South First St., the food truck offers meats, sides and desserts away from all of the crowds. Also, Cosmic’s patio is an Instagram-worthy setting with an original Willie Nelson woodcarving and a man-made pond.

5 p.m. A Speakeasy Experience, because, wine not?

Firehouse Lounge has an allure of being one of Austin’s coolest speakeasies. Located in a hostel downtown, many aren’t aware that the lobby bookshelf actually turns into a fully stocked bar and lounge. This is a great place to go for a fancy cocktail or their Lonestar and Fireball shot special, if you’re feeling spicy and dangerous.

9 p.m.: Nightcap

Located at Sixth and Colorado, Garage Cocktail Bar may be the most secluded establishment in the downtown area. Entering through the public parking garage, the metal door in the back turns into a chic cocktail lounge with handcrafted drinks and elited bartenders. The Indian paintbrush is an Austin (and personal) favorite.

Bonus: A Brewery Tour

Forgo the downtown area all together and get in with Austin’s brewery scene. If you’re feeling adventurous and have made a friend with a car, take a short ride out to Jester King Brewery for an afternoon in the hills.

No matter what you choose to do or where you choose to go, we’re glad to have you in the city we all love.

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