Very shortly after we arrived in Austin, someone gave us a great tip. “Find the best happy hours,” they said. You can eat on the cheap and still get to enjoy a flavorful menu of fantastic foods in some of the best Austin restaurants. So….we are making our way around the city doing that, but here are three of our very favorite places (so far). After a productive work day or one weekend when you want to brave the traffic and drive downtown, you might want to check them out (if you haven’t already!).
The W Hotel in Austin has this restaurant called TRACE. I don’t know where it got its name, but if you want to trace (find, discover) a happy place, you can do it here. It’s sleek and sophisticated. Very, very relaxing. We ordered a cheese board that was incredible, and we also enjoyed a decadent small loaf of bread with soft and spreadable flavored butters.
Plenty of happy hour drink selections, an appetizer menu like you’d find in the swankiest of spots, and a French-door view of Austin’s 2nd Street district make TRACE at W Austin worth the drive downtown.
The Four Seasons
We’ve been to the Four Seasons for happy hour many times. The food is fantastic, but it’s the combination of food and location that hits the wow factor. Two choices – food from the bar menu inside the Trio restaurant – or sliders from the grill outside. Either way, you’re golden. Happy hour at the Trio is from 5:00 to 7:00, with $5 off the bar food items (the Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Snapper Ceviche are our favorites) and $8 wines by the glass. If you choose to sit outside instead, you will be treated to great live music while you use your manners and sit in the comfy outdoor furniture. I say use your manners, because we always have to resist the temptation not to s-p-r-a-w-l out. However, there is a hammock in the trees for your enjoyment. Just don’t send the kids a selfie of you in it. That’s probably not cool.
Vince Young Steakhouse
Vince Young Steakhouse was our first happy hour choice after moving to Austin. It’s still our favorite. We’ve tried almost everything on this menu. Why not? Everything is $10 from 5-7. The padded round booths are just the right setting for intimate conversation and sharing menu choices. We’ve taken out-of-town guests to Vince Young’s. This was also where our son-in-law asked if he could marry our pride and joy. Champagne toast! And then, when we were all teary and on a love-high, we stepped outside to the distinct sound of a horse-drawn carriage, which just happened to be empty. We hailed the driver, got in, and celebrated the momentous occasion with a downtown ride. (I’m telling you – there’s a lot here that’s just plain storybook.) Back to Vince Young’s. Really, you can’t beat it. The service is amazing, and they remember your name and what you order and how you like your brisket burger cooked. Ahhhh.
Do you have a happy hour recommendation? What’s your favorite #beatthetraffic spot? Feel free to share a comment below.
Encouraging intentional adventure,