Exploring Austin’s Rainey Street: Live Music, Nightlife and More

Funky bungalows, string-lit patios, clusters of food trucks, high-end cuisine, live music, craft cocktails and cold beers — Rainey Street is quintessential Austin. 


Monk's Momo.
Monk’s Momo. Photo credit Monk’s Momo.

Not that long ago, Rainey Street was a little residential block lined with weathered bungalows. Today, it’s one of the city’s hottest dining destinations. Whether you’re staying at the Hotel Van Zandt or not, make a reservation for dinner at Geraldine’s. Be sure to try their Birds, Bubbles & Blues brunch, known for its spicy fried chicken. Bon Appétit favorite Emmer & Rye may well be one of your top dining experiences in Austin, thanks to the chef’s creativity and commitment to seasonal, local fare. You wouldn’t know it from the name, but Anthem specializes in Tex-Asian fare plus inventive cocktails. Vive la France at L’Estelle House, a little walk-up kitchen and yard with French eats and a charming patio. You may have noticed that food trucks are kind of a thing here in Austin. Try some square-cut, Detroit-style pizza from local fave Via 313 at Craft Pride. Or get a little adventurous with Himalayan and Nepalese dishes and dumplings at Monk’s Momo. Wine fans will love that The Drafting Room has wines on draft, while beer snobs will definitely be astounded by the 100+ craft beer taps at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden


Bangers Sausage House Beer Garden.
Bangers Sausage House Beer Garden. Photo credit: Bangers Sausage House Beer Garden.
Little Brother Bar.
Little Brother Bar. Photo credit: Little Brother Bar.

Half Step is the destination for cocktail aficionados, taking great care in serving the perfect version of any drink you dare to call. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself buying a bag or three of Little Lucy’s Mini Donuts, served on site until 2 a.m. Texans are fiercely proud of their state and Craft Pride’s impressive Texas craft beer menu illustrates that point. A Rainey Street original, Lustre Pearl will hook you up with a bottle of Lone Star Beer and fun yard games like cornhole and ping-pong. Both Lucille Patio Lounge and Bungalow have expansive backyards and tons of seating for your pals, plus a hammock for max relaxation. Little Brother Bar is indeed little. Don’t expect a seat, but do visit for the retro VHS tapes lining the walls and the cold brews. Clive Bar can be anything you want it to be — it can feel swanky, with its flickering candles and dark woods, or it can be poppin’ with people crowded around tables. It also has a tiny on-site mezcal bar, called Bar Illegal, open on Fridays and Saturdays. If you’re on the hunt for live music, try to catch boy band covers from PDA on Thursdays or soul on Sundays at Icenhauer’s. Or grab a ticket for one of the block parties at Container Bar, a bar built entirely of shipping containers. 


Chingona Fest Texas.
Chingona Fest Texas. Courtesy of Chingona Fest Texas/Hustle for the Cause.

Austin has a rich Latinx and Hispanic history. Find out more by walking the Tejano Walking Trail, a 4.9-mile, 24-stop path. Visit the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, which preserves and fosters Mexican-American and Latinx culture, and attend the annual Chingona Fest Texas. Support contemporary artisans at Corazón Sagrado Collective. Go to visitaustin.org/corazon for more ideas. 


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