Rocked-out rockabilly, vintage dancing queen, pure country two-stepper, off-the-wall zoot-suiterâin Austin, anything goes. A blue oasis in a red desert, Austin has earned its keep as the South's most beloved laid-back music scene, a hot and hilly hub where individual style extends from a way of dress to a way of life. If you're heading there for SXSW it's imperative to know where to shop, where to eat, and where to hang this week when the city comes alive and stays awake for a week of non-stop live music. See CH's review of Factory People here. For the rest, read on.
Some of the greatest local businesses can be found living in old Austin homes transformed into spaces that are comfortable, contained, and incredibly personable. South Austin's Kick Pleat (pictured below left) is no exception, displaying the top independent women's designers in an open, friendly, downright homey space.
910 South First Street
tel. +1 512 445 4500
Vintage shopping for men and women at a store that's less like your granny's attic and more like an urban boutique. This is the place to come for one-of-a-kind party wonders, be it a Polynesian mini-dress, a killer set of suede zip-up boots, or a combo of both. (Pictured above right.)
1700 B South Congress Avenue
tel. +1 512 912 9779
What's an urban wardrobe without a little noir? Or in this case, a lot of it. Another South Congress favorite, Blackmail narrows the choice to one color, but opens the doors wide to interesting designs, textures, and compositions. (Pictured left.)
1202 South Congress Avenue
tel. +1 512 326 7670
In Texas, Mexican food is an obsessionâbeans, tortillas, guacamole, chips, margaritas, and hot, hot, hot salsa. At El Chile, you get all this, a commitment to quality flavors and ingredients, and a nice patio where you can enjoy it.
1809 Manor Road
tel. +1 512 457 9900
South Congress Café
Shopping on SoCo can be hard work. But happy hour may be the best reward, especially when Mexican Martini's, $3 Mojitos, and Queso Flamado con Rajas are involved.
1600 South Congress Avenue
tel. +1 512 447 3905
A dark, slightly disheveled, but decidedly artsy ambiance makes this outdoor/indoor hangout the best spot for a martini, a chat, and some awesome style sitings.
900 Red River Street
tel. +1 512 457 0900.
The Scoot Inn
An eastside establishment that was recently revamped by the owners of the Longbranch Inn, the Scoot Inn has an incredible tree-shaded backyard and an impressive roster of shows for the week.
1308 East 4th Street
tel. +1 512 478 6200