GUIDE: The Best Places to Catch Your Fave Celeb in ATX

While events like SXSW and Austin City Limits Fest draw floods of celebrities to Austin, it doesn’t mean that the city doesn’t play host to famous folks throughout the rest of the year. From the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel downtown to Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, here’s a cheat sheet to spotting a celebrity in the Music Capital of the World on any given day.

Stephen F.’s Bar & Terrace at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel 

Standing tall next to Austin’s iconic Paramount Theater and located in the heart of downtown, Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace offers a hot spot for celebs looking to stop by for late-night cocktails after major events or shows. With ideal views of Austin, along with creative cocktails, an incredible whiskey selection, and delicious bites, Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace also features a private lounge area, The Whisper Room, perfect for celebs looking for more private outings — complete with its own terrace overlooking downtown Austin, elegant tableside cocktails, and a full cigar selection. Notable celeb visits include the likes of Austin native Matthew McConaughey, David Spade, Charlize Theron, Eva Mendez & Ryan Gosling, Lance Bass, Joan Rivers and more.

The Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, TX

Photography courtesy of Kenny Braun.

Photography courtesy of Kenny Braun.

Originally founded over half a century ago in 1967, The Salt Lick has become one of the most popular and successful BBQ restaurants in the country. With three locations across Texas, including an expansive vineyard and multiple private event spaces at the original location in Driftwood, The Salt Lick offers guests, including celebs, chefs, musicians, and tastemakers from around the world a place to relax and enjoy some of the best BBQ while they visit Austin and Central Texas. Well-known guests and endorsers have included folks like David Letterman, Neil Patrick Harris, Anthony Bourdain, Adam Richman, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos, Kyle Chandler, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Willie Nelson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ron Howard, U2, Matt LeBlanc, Ron White, Robert Rodriguez, Portugal. The Man, and countless others such as current and past elected officials like former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Circuit of The Americas 

COTA Tower

COTA Tower

As the only purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for all classes of racing, Circuit of The Americas welcomes celebrities from all over to experience high-adrenaline racing year round, and heading to the track is a surefire way to spot celebrities in Central Texas. The MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas at COTA has seen celebs including Keanu Reeves, Channing Tatum, and Kyle Chandler. Race fans like Gerard Butler, Gordon Ramsey, Lindsey Vonn, Venus Williams, Bill Clinton, Matthew McConaughey, and Gayle King among many others have been spotted at the Formula 1 Pirelli United States Grand Prix. Jesse Metcalfe and Colt McCoy ushered in the inaugural IndyCar Classic at COTA this year.

Kemuri-Tatsuya

Puff Puff Pass and Matcha Painkiller.  Photography courtesy of  Julia Keim.

Puff Puff Pass and Matcha Painkiller. Photography courtesy of Julia Keim.

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, from the Tatsu-Ya Family behind acclaimed concepts Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Domo Alley-Gato, and DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, offers ample comfort and adventure for guests seeking both. The Texas-influenced Japanese izakaya has achieved national acclaim, including Bon Appetit Best New Restaurant in 2017, Restaurants of the Year 2018 in Food & Wine, as well as a Best New Restaurants James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist — and has become a hot spot for celebrities like Patton Oswalt, David Chang, Dan the Automator, and Action Bronson, especially during SXSW.