SXSW 2018 Restaurants and Bar Guide

During South By Southwest (SXSW) it is incredibly hard to find a place to dine or drink that isn’t packed or doesn’t have a private party. That is not to say you can’t find something during SXSW as Austin has a people to restaurant ratio of 634. As Austinites we wanted to put a list together of restaurants and bars to dine or hideout at during SXSW in surrounding downtown Austin as well as downtown proper. For your viewing pleasure here are some restaurants and bar suggestions to help make your SXSW experience easier!

South Congress, South 1st and South Lamar Districts

Most people who visit Austin usually check out the South Congress (SOCO) District and the South Congress bats. Unfortunately, during SXSW the street is packed especially with the infamous Continental Club and other live music performances throughout the street. If you don’t mind the wait you can visit Homeslice, Guero’s, South Congress Café, Vespaio, Enoteca and many others. There is also a new hotel, South Congress Hotel that also has a bar and two American restaurants. If you want to avoid the crowds South 1st and South Lamar districts have some great restaurants and bars that may not be as packed. Below are a few alternatives to South Congress.


Threadgills offers soul food like fried green tomatoes and chicken friend chicken. Threadgills is massive however it is also a music venue so it gets packed during shows. Lunch, till March 14th, will be pretty easy to get seated. After that there will be live music during the day and night. Some of the shows are free so check out their live music line up by clicking here. They have a private parking lot and located at 301 West Riverside Dr., Austin, TX.

Phoebes Diner:

Their cuisine features an upscale type of diner with dishes like SOUTH FIRST Tator tots that include red-eye gravy, Swiss cheese, fried egg, pickled chiles & guacamole. This is just one of their amazing dishes they serve and to view their full menu click here. You can make a reservation or walk in but know there will be a wait. Note they are only open till 3pm. Phoebes is located on Oltorf and South First.

Wine Belly:

Wine Belly Offers Spanish-Mediterranean style food and an internationally-curated wine list. Though it may look small from the entrance they also have a back area and a patio. It is located right next to Phoebes on South 1st and Oltorf.

Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. (ABGB):

ABGB offers craft beers with 6 always on tap and various other beers on draft changed out throughout the year. They also have ciders and wines plus a great food menu that consists of fresh pizzas, salad, sandwiches, small plates and pasta specials. They are located at on Oltorf in between Lamar and

Toss Pizzeria & Pub”

Though Homeslice is well known Pizzeria in Austin it gets hard getting a table there without a wait. Toss Pizzeria & Pub features large 20” New York-style pizza. They have a full-bar with 10 Texas draft beer options and craft cocktails all made with hand-squeezed juice. Their restaurant is spacious and they have a private parking lot.  Located at 2901 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704 (South. 1st St. District).


Backbeat is a two-story bar that includes a cocktail lounge and rooftop patio in the South Lamar district. They have a happy hour and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Backbeat can also accommodate private parties and events ranging from 8-150 people. Limited on-site parking is available, with extended parking options behind the building near Lamar Square Drive. Located at 1300 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78704.

St. Elmo Brewing Company:

St. Elmo Brewing Company features a bar, beer hall, spacious outdoor beer garden and their resident food truck, Soursop. Soursop Food Trucks serves Pan Asian cuisine like fatty pork, thai chicken wings and  La Koreanita burger St. Elmo Brewing Company also features pour-over coffee, housemade mineral water, and soda. It’s Located at 440 E. ST. ELMO ROAD, AUSTIN, TX  78745. It’s more south, just over Ben White, but the commute to Congress Ave. is still reasonable plus it won’t be as crowed as downtown.

Downtown and UT

If you can’t escape downtown there are still some great dining and drink options to hideout at during SXSW 2018. Restaurants near the Austin convention center are always packed and the wait is long. Rainey Street’s restaurants and bars for the majority are booked with private parties throughout SXSW. Below are some options that may not be as packed.


Eureka offers craft beer and small-batch spirits. Their American menu consists of gourmet burgers, signature plates, salads, and desserts. Eureka, though located on Sixth Street is half a mile from the convention center and more distance from Rainey Street so it’s less populated. The restaurant in very spacious and I went here a few times last SXSW and it was easy to get a seat, plus they offer group seating. They are located at 200 East Sixth Street, Austin, Texas.

The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen:

Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen is a casual neighborhood restaurant that offers a vast menu that consists from small plates to entrees. They have an extensive wine list that also includes wine flights. Though it’s located on Sixth Street it’s on the opposite end and more than a mile away from the convention center. What makes Grove unique is they take few reservations so patrons will always have a place to sit plus they have a year round patio. Located at 800 West Sixth Street, Austin, TX.

Café Josie:

Café Josie serves America cuisine like Smoked Meatloaf, Smoked Poblano Hummus, and Fried Chicken and Biscuit. Walk-ins are welcome as they keep a portion of the dining room and patio available just for walk-ins. Café Josie is located at 1200 B West 6th Street, Austin, Texas and open for dinner only. Note: Z’Tejas Mexican Restaurant is also located within a block of Café Josie but there is usually a wait. Not a good option if you wanted to be seated immediately.

Clay Pit:

Clay Pit features Contemporary Indian Cuisine like Samosas and Tandoori Chicken. It is located near UT in the historical “Bertram building” and the restaurant is pretty spacious. It’s located close enough to all the SXSW action but far enough from the major crowds on 6th Street, the Convention Center and Rainey Street. Located at 1601 Guadalupe St. Austin, Texas.

ATX Restaurants Worth the Wait

If you don’t mind the wait here are a few options that may test your patience waiting for their scrumptious food during SXSW but worth the wait. Some take reservations and some you just have to show up early before they open and wait in line for a couple hours.

Franklin Barbecue:

Franklin Barbecue is one of the best BBQ places in Austin and known for their brisket but also has sausage, ribs, pulled pork, and turkey. Doors open at 11 a.m. for lunch only and will remain open till they are sold out, normally 2or 3pm. There is a line that starts before they open as early as 9am if not earlier. Good news is you can now preorder here: Franklin’s is located at 900 E. 11th, Austin, TX 78702 on the east side.

La Barbecue:

La Barbecue brisket, spicy sausage, giant ribs, and various different sides. If Franklin’s line is too long here another downtown BBQ spot but you will have to wait in line for La Barbecue as well. The line wraps along the far wall, and there are outdoor canopy tents for the times the line extends past the doors. It’s located 2027 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX.


Moonshine Grill is classic American comfort food that includes such dishes like The Original Moonshine ” Corn Dog” Shrimp®, Chicken & Waffles and Ranger Cattle Texas Wagyu Meatloaf. You can make a reservation but if not the wait was normally an hour or so during lunch and dinner times. It’s right across the street from the convention center and on the way over the Rainey Street. Located at 303 Red River Street, Austin, Tx 78701.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya:

Ramen Tatsu-Ya is a ramen Japanese soul food restaurant on South Lamar. It is one of the BEST ramen shops in town but they have a long line every day, rain or shine! Located at 1234 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX.

The Domain

If you’re trying to stay away from downtown during SXSW The Domain outdoor mall up north offers several high-end restaurants and hotels. To check out the list of what dining and hotel options are available visit their site at

There are so many restaurants I wanted to add to this list but the list got so long I’m not sure people would read a 3000K article. We may post a part two of this article with more dining and drinking options during SXSW 2018 if we have time before the festival. See all you SXSW attendees Friday, I can’t wait!


Source: SXSW, Threadgills, Café Josie, The Domain, Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Moonshine Grill, Franklin BBQ, La Barbecue, Eureka, Claypit, The Grove, ABGB, St. Elmos Brewery, Backbeat, Toss, Winebelly, Phoebes