It seems like just yesterday I wandered into Lustre Pearl for the first time. It was the only bar in the neighborhood at that point, and offered an escape from downtown that was as equally refreshing as their cheap beer served in complimentary coozies.
The street has evolved tremendously since then, and while I loved it as a secret hideout from the rest of Austin, the growth has introduced a diverse offering of both food and drink.
We started the concept of this post as a ‘complete guide to Rainey Street,’ but then thought it might be more rewarding to create a scavenger hunt-style checklist of unique things to do at each of our favorite bars/restaurants on the block.
While we advise against trying to conquer all of these in one day; if you complete the checklist, post pictures (or it didn’t happen) to Instagram with the hashtag #365RaineyStreetChallenge and tag us @365ThingsAustin — we’ll send you a free copy of 100 Things To Do In Austin Before You Die, and give you a shoutout for your accomplishments.
- Bar 96 – Make a sports bet with a friend then watch the game here. Simply watching any UT Football game also qualifies.
- Half Step – The other drinks on the menu will look amazing, but ask for the Bartender’s Choice. He or she will take a moment to discuss your likes and dislikes, then create something from scratch, right before your very eyes. Bonus points if you come up with a witty new name for your concoction.
- Bungalow – Take a photo in front of the (slightly less famous than its Congress relative) “I hate you so much” wall.
6. Clive – One of the Rainey originals, Clive still has one of the most beautiful bar interiors on the street. Order an Old Fashioned or a glass of wine; take it out to the patio- rinse and repeat.
7. Icenhauer’s – The titles on their drink menu are all girl’s names. If your name is listed, order that. If it isn’t, cover up the side of the menu that lists ingredients, and order the name that speaks to you the most.
Bonus: There’s also a delicious off-menu cocktail named The Ashley. It consists of Hatch Chile Infused Espolon Silver Tequila, Mango, Red Pepper Simple Syrup and Fresh Lime Juice. When in doubt, order this.
8. The Blackheart – Blackheart was recently named one of the top 20 bourbon/whiskey bars in the country. Ask the bartender for a recommendation and enjoy the free live music that starts at 9pm every night of the week.
9. Lucille – Come here thirsty, then ‘like’ Lucille on Facebook for 20% off your total tab (weekdays only).