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.


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. 

Riders at Debut of MotoAmerica Express ‘New Hope’ for Series

Written By BA Snyder, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine

MotoAmerica, the new home of the AMA Superbike Series will feature three of its five classes during the weekend of Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas and it’s the prime opportunity for motorcycle manufacturers to showcase their sport-performance, production based models. But more than the race itself and those that may not be initially drawn to the fast moving machines speeding around the track over and over again; these pilots ranging from the 600 series to the 1000, bring unique stories, styles and backgrounds that influence the progression as well as industry obstacles often faced by teams.

At the Grand Prix Facility this weekend motorcycle riders might vary in their paths to CoTA; but the majority of these athletes competing at the track demonstrate traits of resilience, dynamism, and most are defying all odds. MotoAmerica riders are bringing a new age style to the series as the partnership is making their 2015 debut with AMA Superbike Series.

Competitors in the MotoAmerica series such as Marcel Irnie, pilot in the SuperStock 1000 class & seventeen year old Kaleb de Keyrel, competing in the SuperSport 600 class, share stories of different paths in progression of their racing careers but similar decisions and obstacles faced. While both remember growing up and choosing between Motocross and road racing, Irnie references his days back roaming the roads of Thailand on a bike..shortly followed by a quick “Survived that.” comment…and continued to ride over 18,000 km in four months state side…shortly followed by an additional “Survived that too.” The SuperStock pilot was commonly referred to by Canadian police on the
street as ‘The Nightrider’. Not just surviving but thriving from a career start at three years old, De Keyrel faced early on financial decisions choosing between Motocross and road racing. Never participating previously in road racing, in 2009 the De Keyrel family close knitted and a team in their own, traveled down to Texas to watch the young pilot dominate race after race making a natural decision to ultimately switch over permanently on the road race series.

While most MotoAmerica riders have picked up the sport early in their lives, not all share that same journey. Take Josh Gallusser, AMA Pro
SuperSport rider and owner of Twisted Wrist Racing who didn’t grow up racing, but instead experienced a couple of track days here and there and borrowed buddies bikes that led eventually to an opportunity where those established recognized a natural talent and skill developing in him. After progressing from club level to expert level, Gallusser commented that he has always started late in the season, but still managed to acquire his professional license in 2013 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. “What most people don’t realize is that what it comes down to is the more races you enter in, the more points you can acquire. Each year we face budget issues and regardless if I’ve started late in the season, I’m quickly moving up in the leader boards.”  While competing in 2013 at the New Jersey Showdown, Gallusser impressed by obtaining 24th and 26th place on what friends have referenced as a ‘pogo stick’ of a bike. Gallusser says he “road thru it.” Again, a consistent trait seen in the athletes of the AMA series.

“I’m a rookie, I’m new. In addition, I’m old.. but what I have going for me is I’m here and I’m grateful to be here.”
- Josh Gallusser, AMA Pro SuperSport Rider, Twisted Wrist Racing

Some are calling the new MotoAmerica series a ‘new era’ in road racing.  Riders, Gallusser, Irnie & De Keyrel all agree this debut means ‘new
hope’ to prove themselves, ultimately evening out the playing field amongst large sponsored pilots & those talented up & coming teams.
More rounds would ultimately create more opportunity and momentum for budget restricted crews and a world level of promotion could be huge for those trying to move past a simple online presence… and even potentially a bigger spotlight in North America. The three riders find
their largest fan base is overseas in Europe, Asia and South America.  Marcel Irnie hopes to increase his popularity state side this year,
creating more opportunity for himself, teammates and the series.

Saturday & Sunday’s forecast includes heavy rain and possible thunderstorms, but while lightening and dangerous conditions could postpone upcoming races, rain isn’t feared by all pilots of the MotoAmerica races. Both De Keyrel & Irnie feel the rain is a natural stabilizer and welcome the wet conditions hoping it enhances the race.

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