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. 

Where to Celebrate National Tequila Day on July 24

National Tequila Day is celebrated on Tuesday, July 24 and we’ve got the skinny on where you can enjoy this high energy celebration.
Hotter Melon Margarita at Yuyo

Hotter Melon Margarita at Yuyo

What better way to turn up the heat than with Yuyo’s new specialty cocktail in honor of the holiday: the Hotter Melon Margarita. Made with tequila blanco, watermelon, lime, aji Amarillo, and served with an el chile rim, this cocktail is guaranteed to be a delicious addition to your National Tequila Daycelebration plans. The drink will be available for purchase July 19 through July 24 at Yuyo on Manor Road. During happy hour on National Tequila Day (July 24th 4:30pm – 6:30pm), it will be offered at a discounted price of $8.
Popsicle at Stephen F. Austin Hotel

Popsicle at Stephen F. Austin Hotel

Join the Stephen F. Austin Hotel and Playa Real Tequila in celebrating National Tequila Day at the Tacos y Tequila Fiesta from 6 to 9 pm! Eat for free — With the purchase of a cocktail come complimentary small bites including empanadas, beef tacos and churros. Samples of Playa Real Tequila will be served out on the hotel’s terrace overlooking Congress Avenue, with craft tequila cocktails and boozy popsicles available for purchase.
Real Playa Sunrise at Guild

Real Playa Sunrise at Guild

Paloma at Guild

Paloma at Guild

Guild, which serves progressive American seafood, is offering $8 cocktails during its happy hour from 5 to 7 pm. Two tequila cocktails included are:
Real Playa’s Sunrise with Playa Real tequila, pineapple juice, and Luxardo syrup
Paloma with Sauza tequila, lemon, grapefruit juice, and soda
Margarita at Fresa's Chicken Al Carbon

Margarita at Fresa’s Chicken Al Carbon

Fresa’s offers a variety of Margaritas and tequila drinks at the restaurant’s South First St. location in Austin. During happy hour from 3 – 6 pm, the restaurant will offer $2 off all aguas frescas, beer & wine, margaritas (and margarita mix) as well as all botanas including chicken flautas, jalapeño poppers, guacamole, and queso.
Ranch Water at Ranch 616

Ranch Water at Ranch 616

With over 40 types of tequila, 7 kinds of mezcal, and a selection of 13 margaritas, Ranch 616 is the perfect place to celebrate National Tequila Day. The restaurant’s classic Ranch Water features Hornitos Reposado, Citronge and lime juice served on the rocks with a Topo Chico mineral water to add that bubbly fizz. Additionally, Ranch 616 will be offering a special “Buy One Get One Free Margarita” featuring a $9 margarita with Cazadores tequila. The special will be running all day on 7/24.
Remember, it’s important to always drink responsibly.