Munchies

8 of the Coolest (and Weirdest Places) to Eat and Drink in Austin

Austin is a paradise where you can play chicken shit bingo, waterski up to a bar, and eat top-notch Indian food in a convenience store. Stay weird, indeed.

by Munchies Staff
Dec 22 2016, 4:00pm

There's a reason they say to "Keep Austin Weird" instead of "Make Austin Weird": It's already weird. And that's a really, really good thing. See, in Austin, you can drink cheap bear while waiting to win a game of bingo based on where a chicken chooses to take a shit (funner than it sounds). You can learn to dance at an old country-Western dance hall, then eat dim sum while listening to Wu Tang Clan, and then go waterskiing and jet right up to the bar for a drink afterwards. This is a weird and wonderful city, and we wouldn't want it any other way.

For tips on where to drink fancy cocktails, eat on the cheap, or grab the city's best breakfast tacos, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Austin.

Chicken Shit Bingo at the Little Longhorn Saloon: First time in Austin? Confused as to why it's so weird and great? Head to the Little Longhorn Saloon and you'll understand. Every Sunday at 4 PM, keep your eyes peeled for Terry, who will run out to a picnic table at random, only to be swarmed by locals and out-of-towners alike. Pay her a $2 donation for a ticket, buy yourself a $2 Lonestar, and wait for one her chickens to shit on a pool table-sized bingo board to win some cash. Word to the wise: If you do win, it's always a good idea to buy the entire bar a round. God Bless Texas.

The Broken Spoke Dancehall: When you first drive up to the Broken Spoke, you may feel like you've stumbled onto a movie set. The gargantuan condos that have sprung up on both sides of the 52-year-old Texas Dance Hall make it seem like an apparition in the middle of poorly planned modernity. But rest assured, the spirit of Texas swing is alive and well inside its hallowed doors. Order a Chicken Fried Steak dinner, watch some of Texas' finest Two Step on the dance floor, and be sure to tip the band. After filling up on enough liquid courage (in the form of $2 Lonestars, naturally) you can sign up for nightly Two Step lessons Wednesday through Saturday. You'll be doing the Cotton Eyed Joe in your sleep in no time.

Dart Bowl: Ask any Austinite what the perfect bowling food is and they'll say enchiladas; they're obviously thinking about Dart Bowl. Rent a lane, drink some beers, and order the legendary cheese enchiladas, smothered in Dart's special chili and onions. For some extra protein, add on a fried egg and you'll be scoring turkeys in no time.

Matt's El Rancho: It would be considered sacrilege to leave Austin without trying queso, so it's practically a right of passage for every visitor to try the "legendary Bob Armstrong dip" at Matt's El Rancho. Order a large "Bob" (hot, melted Velveeta-like cheese with guacamole and picadillo) with a Janie's Margarita to eat on the patio on a Thursday evening, and let yourself be serenaded by Mariachi Jalisco.

Ski Shores Café: The best possible way to arrive at this Lake Austin institution is via boat after a day of waterskiing. This burger shack on the water first opened in 1954, and though it's now under different ownership, not much has changed. You can pull up dockside and spend the afternoon chowing down on Kahuna burgers and taking advantage of their drink specials while watching the sun go down. It's an instant vacation within the city limits.

Supper Club at Dai Due: Chef Jesse Griffiths was one of the first in Austin to utilize local produce and game back in 2006 with his farmers' market stand and pop-up supper clubs. Now his brick-and-mortar space in East Austin houses a butcher shop (all meats are sourced from local ranchers and broken down in-house) and an inviting dining room where Austinites go to try the best of what's grown around them. Brunch is killer, but check out the nightly supper club. Each night is dedicated to a specialized menu; Questlove is a major fan.

Sunday Dim Sum at Wu Chow: Wu Chow has gifted Austin with some of the best soup dumplings in the country. It's always a fun, buzzy spot for Sichuan dishes at night, but Sundays mean Dim Sum. Sit back, relax, and listen to co-owner CK Chin's Wu-Tang-heavy playlist as you order copious amounts of beautifully-crafted soup dumplings, shumai, and broccoli with oyster sauce.

Whip In: Stop by this convenience store off Interstate I-35 to find one of the finest selection of craft beers and wines in Austin, as well as some top-notch Indian-fusion cooking. Sit at the bar and order a local draft beer, samosas, and a "Kashmir Frito Pie," a take on the Texas classic with cilantro chutney.

For more of the best spots to eat, drink, party, and explore in the city, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Austin.