The best way to spend NYE is surrounded by friends and with the lowest possible expectations … know that before jumping into this list! The lines for downtown venues are long, the covers are high, and there are thousands of people roaming the streets who apparently do not consume alcohol the other 364 days of the year.
That being said, it can be the pinnacle party of the holiday season with the right people, and the right venue. To help you with the latter, we’ve put together a list with ten options that will help you create a memorable farewell to 2016.
Speakeasy is great for ringing in the New Year due to the sheer size of the place. It’s basically three venues in one, which makes staying at the same bar for roughly four hours a lot more enjoyable.
Speakeasy will have a band in the main bar, and DJs in the Kaberet Room and on Terrace59 (the rooftop). Tickets start at $49, but I’d recommend spending a bit more to ensure access to the rooftop, which has a great view, and might even allow you to catch the fireworks over Lady Bird Lake.
This year’s festivities on Auditorium Shores include live performances from Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shinyribs, and almost two-dozen other artists. There will also be food trucks on-site, activities for the kids, and the grand-finale fireworks show at 10 p.m.
This is a great event for families and couples that are looking to avoid the downtown madness, but still want to get out and do something memorable on New Year’s Eve. For an added bonus, admission is free!
If you want to enjoy the mild winter weather in Austin underneath the oaks, look no further than Banger’s. This year they’re smoking Prime Rib, and hosting live music, and a complimentary toast at midnight of Miller High Life (the Champagne of Beers).
No cover to get in, and the party starts at 6 p.m.
Austin’s favorite soul band, The Nightowls, will rock the indoor stage at Stubb’s with an opening performance from Derrick Davis Band. The $60 ticket includes a champagne toast and a complimentary buffet!
The tagline for this party is “don’t go downtown,” and Jason and Deb of 101x are giving you plenty of reasons to avoid the area completely. In addition to the standard amenities at The Goodnight (bowling, karaoke, ping pong, pool, and more), this party is also all-inclusive!
That means the $100 ticket gives you access to free games, a full bar, $5000 in casino game chips, and free appetizers.
Tag this one in the ‘memorable NYE’ category. In addition to roller skating, the 4th annual bash also includes costume contests based on 80’s attire, a balloon drop at midnight, and it’s BYOB! Tickets start at $45.
The CultureMap Tastemaker Awards is an annual celebration of the top talent in the restaurant and bar industry, shining a light on the people and places that make Austin’s dining scene so special.
To honor new restaurants that have hit all the marks — great food, service, and ambiance — and continue to impress local diners, 16 of the best new restaurants in Austin will go head to head in CultureMap’s annual Tastemaker tournament. The results are in your hands as you decide who will be crowned Best New Restaurant of 2016.
As part of the 2016 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, vote for your favorites in the bracket-style elimination challenge now through May 16. Voting for the first round ends on May 7.
Welcome to 365 Things Austin’s Cocktail of the Week program. We’ve partnered with our friends at Sourced Craft Cocktails to announce a new cocktail (available for delivery in Austin) each week. Whether you’re looking for a fun date night at home, or hosting a party that your guests won’t soon forget, Sourced delivers EVERYTHING you need to make mixologist-worthy craft cocktails.
Originally crafted by Australian born Sam Ross at the famous Milk + Honey lower east side NYC bar, this cocktail will fix whatever ails you!
The Penicillin combines luscious, soothing flavors of honey, fresh ginger, and hand squeezed lemon juice fortified with a healthy dose of blended Scotch whisky. Shaken and poured over a flawless, hand cut artisan ice rock, we finish this life saving remedy with thin pour of Islay Malt to top with a wood smoked aromatic fragrance.
Go ahead, the doctor will see you now!
Johnnie Walker – Black:
The iconic squared bottle isn’t the only thing smooth…this premiere spirit takes Scotch from the four corners of Scotland and blends together into silky pure amber gold. Perfected in 1909 and exclusively featuring whiskies with a minimum of 12 years aging, this rich, complex Scotch offers the perfect balance of dark fruits, sweet vanilla and it’s signature smokiness.
The “medicinal properties” of our Penicillin may/may not be found in Mr. Walker’s Black Label. They are absolutely found in our homemade Honey/Ginger Syrup. Locally sourced Austin honey is combined with richly muddled fresh ginger to deliver velvety goodness…to use the technical medical term.
Fresh Lemon Juice:
We hand squeeze fresh lemon juice every single morning. You’re busy, we’ve sourced the absolute freshest product possible to help you add the acidity to this balanced cocktail.
Islay of Scotch:
Ahhh, the secret…we love sourcing the secret ingredient for you. After pouring your medicine over the perfect hand cut artisan ice rock we provide, we help you with a heady “aromatic.” What, you ask, is an “aromatic” for I thought we were drinking? Glad you asked…this wood smoked smell is placed right on the top of the rock so as you take each sip your nose alerts your brain that we’re now in the comfort of a roaring fire and well on our way back to health!
Join us at Austin Beerworks on Wednesday, January 27th for a celebration of sausage. The “Kings” of the Austin sausage scene will be onsite providing off-menu sausage creations in a friendly competitive format. Tickets are limited to 250 and will go fast.
Included in the $24 ticket price:
Samples from all eight sausage purveyors
Micklethwait, Salt & Time, la Barbecue, Smokey Denmark, Dai Due, Frank, Freedmen’s, Easy Tiger and Banger’s
Three Austin Beerworks Drafts Includes a glass to take home
The smooth sounds of The Urban Achievers Brass Band
One voting card to nominate your favorite sausage offering You get to pick the winners!
Must be 21+ to attend. Please consider using Uber or Lyft to and from the event!
The best-burger-in-Austin debate kicks up more dust than a West Texas tornado. Even suggesting something on the topic spurs heated debates amongst family members, and some of the nastiest comments we’ve seen on our Facebook page.
Hopdoddy however, always seems be in the conversation, and it’s definitely one of our favorites.
On January 18th, the Austin-born burger bar will open its third area location in Round Rock. Coincidentally, it’s also MLK day, so if you’re looking for something fun to do on your day off, get there early and be one of the #first to try the new location.
Pro-tip: Seating at the bar is first come first served, so if you’re solo, or a party of two, you can often skip the line! Don’t forget to tip your bartender for the privilege.
When: January 18th at 11am
Hopdoddy Round Rock
2800 N. I-35
Round Rock, TX 78681
We’ve teamed up with Austin Rubel and www.SoundPan.net to bring you a playlist to jam out to in preparation of this year’s ACL music festival. Keep in mind that the lineups are slightly different for weekends one and two, and this playlist includes artists from both.
This list is useful for catching up on bands that you haven’t listened to in a while, and hopefully it also provides some insight into a few artists you have yet to discover.
Only two short years ago, one could count pizza delivery options in Austin on two hands. The choices were those inedible national chains, or Gatti’s/Austin’s Pizza, and a few others (we still love you Conan’s).
Oh, how the times have changed. With Favor Delivery, pizza is a few clicks away from anywhere that offers take-out. In fact, a large pie from my favorite shop for thin-crust, East Side Pies, was the first Favor order I completed.
I included a few newcomers on the list, so hopefully there are a few places you haven’t tried. Take into consideration that your favorite spot might not be on the list purely because it’s not in the Favor delivery zone. Or it could be that we haven’t tried it! Feel free to hit us up on Facebook with your recommendations.
As mentioned above, if you’re a fan of thin-crust, look no further. ESP sources local ingredients whenever possible, and that extra level of care is reflected in the quality of their cracker-thin pies. (Why is this pizza on rocks? I don’t know either)
There’s a new restaurant on West 5th Street and we love it so much we’re willing to forgive the fact that Houston had it first! Liberty Kitchen opened at 5th and Pressler earlier this month (next door to Tacos-n-Tequila), and while the menu is seafood-forward, you’re going to need more than one visit to fully comprehend everything that Liberty has to offer.
The space itself is beautiful and pays homage to both the Texas coast, and the Lone Star State in general, but it’s the exceptional food and superlative service at Liberty that really sets it apart.
The menu is a bit overwhelming at first glance, but the staff is uncommonly knowledgeable and happy to help guide guests through the various sections. Deciding where to begin is the hardest part! Our suggestion is to start cold… if you’re into oysters; they’ve got ‘em from the gulf and beyond.
Regardless of what section of the menu you decide to explore next, be sure to order the Deviled Egg Trial— Trust us on this one!
Deviled Egg Trial
We tried several other remarkable dishes, including Lulu’s Sicilian Seafood Salad, which is one of the best salads I’ve had in Austin, and a surprising personal favorite (suggested by a very friendly Chef named Crash), the Point Judith Squid & Sausage Stuffing.
Point Judith Squid & Sausage Stuffing
Other menu highlights include the 40oz to Freedom Gumbo, and the immensely popular Shanghai Salt & Chile Fried Lobster.
Shanghai Salt & Chile Fried Lobster
Still on my wish list: The King Crab and Cheddar Mac & Cheese, several of the daily specials, and the entire brunch menu. As I said before, Liberty Kitchen will take more than one visit to conquer, and I’m up for the challenge.
After rolling onto Austin’s after-work sports and social scene last year, Major League Bocce returns for the spring season with weekly league play at Alamo Pocket Park in East Austin and Little Zilker Park in South Austin.
Registration is open now through April 27th for the eight-week spring season that begins during the first week of May. 365 Austin readers who use promo code BALLS10 will save $10 off their spring season registration.
Major League Bocce Spring Season 2015
The East Austin Division will roll Wednesdays from May 6th through June 24th. This division plays games at East Alamo Pocket Park off of Manor Rd. at 6:30pm and 7:30pm. Players toss traditional red and green 110mm boules, under the lights if necessary. After games players walk to a nearby sponsor bar to continue the party.
The South Austin Division gets crazy with glo-bocce balls that light up on Thursdays at Little Zilker Park (at Zilker Park Elementary School). Participants at this division play between 7pm and 9pm and head to a South Lamar sponsor bar after games.
At the end of the season, all teams make the single elimination play-off tournament. The champions from each division will face off against each other as part of a joint end of season party and blow-out!
Bocce-Curious? Read on to learn about the game.
Bocce is an ancient game often associated with older Italian gents, but this game perfectly serves the goals of the happy-hour set. Bocce is ideally played with a ball in one hand and a beverage in the other. It is casual and competitive. Both men and women are on equal footing in this sport and age is never an issue.
No experience is necessary to win at Major League Bocce – besides competing in a weekly match, players can take home new friends, ball-jokes to last a year or the standing to call themselves a regular at their bocce sponsor bar.
365Things readers get $10 off the $60 registration fee when they use the promotion code BaLLS10 to join. Create a team, join a friend’s team or sign up without a team and the fine folks at Major League Bocce will set you up with some deboccerous teammates.