Austin So, 2nd Street has become something of an upscale adult playground over recent years. We put together a nice, grown-up crawl that starts and ends at the Willie Nelson statue. You'll begin with a nice group shot with Willie, maybe pretend to strum his giant bronze guitar. At the end of the night, you can either say polite goodnights or round up the troops for a more... creative take with Austin's living legend.
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Happy Hour: TRACE at the W 200 Lavaca Street You've got to love the idea of drinking at a swanky hotel bar -- it gives the illusion of having lots of disposable income while sipping on discounted premium liquor. Luckily, TRACE has a very generous happy hour; weekdays from 5-7pm and weekends from 3-5pm, and depending on your crew you can hook up $4 Texas beers, $5 Texas spirits, $6 wine, and $7 TRACE craft cocktails. We like the Brother's Quarrel, made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, St. Germain, ginger, pineapple juice, and scotch. Don't get too crazy though, the night is young.
Dinner: Lamberts BBQ 401 W 2nd Street What's on the menu for dinner? Barbecue, but this time you won't be sitting at a picnic table with white bread and butcher paper. You will be at Lamberts gentlemanly digs and you will feel the vibration of the upstairs music venue. Start out with the crispy wild boar ribs flavored with honey, sambal, and blue cheese, then get down on some oak-smoked Black Angus brisket rubbed with brown sugar and coffee. Then finish that off with Lamberts Baked Mac & 3 Cheeses and wash that down with a Western Spark -- a refreshing mix of Weller 12yr bourbon, lemon juice, fresh mint, and bubbly wine.
After-Dinner Drinks: La Condesa 400 W 2nd Street Now the short walk to La Condesa will feel like a long walk because, well BBQ and mac and cheese, but when you arrive, head straight to the bar. Order the El Cúbico (whole leaf tobacco-infused Cazadores reposado, vanilla-infused brandy, lemon, grilled pineapple juice, mezcal essence, volcanic-saffron-infused salt rim). That description will blow your Instagram followers' collective minds posted underneath a Valencia-fied image of the golden, boozy nectar.
Dessert: Second Bar + Kitchen 200 Congress Avenue It's a complexing phenomenon that, even when you think you couldn't eat another bite, as soon as someone sets down a creme brûlée, your stomach suddenly makes a little room. You'll want to fill that space with Second Bar's strawberry shortcake, served with cornbread ice cream and fresh basil.
Keep the Party Going: Living Room Lounge at the W 200 Lavaca Street Now for all logical purposes you are going to head back to the W, not only because you parked close by but also because their swanky Living Room Lounge is where your crew is going to round home base. Not in "that way" -- not yet, anyway. They have five plush loungey areas to choose from: The Tequila Bar, The Living Room, The Records Room, The Patio, or the Secret Room which is lit only with glowing red lights. Finish off your evening with a Jade Gimlet -- a $15 concoction of Hendrick’s gin, Green Chartreuse, ZICO coconut water, basil, simple syrup, lime juice, and slice of cucumber. Because coconut water has electrolytes and you'll need them.