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. 

SXSW Hot Spots — Where to Eat and Drink

InFluentials, with SXSW just around the corner we’d like to share a few of Austin’s must-eat and drinks that are a short walk or drive from downtown Austin or SXSW venues, like film screenings at ZACH Theatre.


Houndstooth Coffee (Downtown Frost Bank Tower location)

Location:  401 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

Hours: Mon through Fri from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat and Sun from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Phone: (512) 394-6051 

Downtown location situated in the heart of SXSW, perfect for a morning kick-start or afternoon pick-me-up. Houndstooth serves espresso beverages, brewed coffees, and teas. The downtown location will offer a limited-time drink for SXSW, the 9 Iron, a coffee take on the Arnold Palmer made with fresh lemonade and turbinado simple syrup. 

The downtown location will also offer a Patio Bar from March 10-14, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Espresso drinks as well as black coffee, iced coffee and the 9 Iron will be available, along with tacos and sandwiches.

Houndstooth Coffee is a locally owned and operated business. Since opening their first cafe in 2010, they have fueled the growth of community in Texas. While many places serve great coffee, Houndstooth Baristas invite Guests to help weave a vibrant social fabric – the Pattern of Coffee and People. That Pattern is growing, with four current locations in Austin and Dallas, TX, and the most recent cafe opening at the Sylvan | Thirty development in West Dallas. Houndstooth creates a warm and inviting atmosphere in each cafe by focusing on hospitality, the art of conversation and education.


Location: 83 Rainey Street, Austin, TX 78701

Hours: Mon through Fri from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat and Sun from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Phone: (512) 473-0005 

Located down Rainey Street, the popular entertainment district known for bungalow homes turned bars and restaurants, right off of downtown and a hub for SXSW activity. 

Icenhauer’s is a bar and events venue built from traditional “wing and gable” house, renovated in 2010 in collaboration with Michael Hsu Office of Architecture and Franklin-Alan Construction. The bar features handcrafted drinks made from fresh ingredients, all named after important women in Owner Michael Icenhauer’s life. Hosting events like Ladies’ Night, Super Soul Sundays along with live music, bands and DJs, the space also features an indoor bar and lounge, wine room, scotch room and backyard with stage.


Location: 213 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701

Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., daily

Underground cocktail lounge located in the Warehouse District downtown in the heart of SXSW, specializing in classic cocktails. Stop in and toast to great causes; Sellers hosts fundraisers every Sunday night, donating 10% of sales to a different local cause.

Sellers is an ideal destination for locals and travelers alike, offering lounge seating, a great cocktail program, seasoned bartenders, a variety of music entertainment and a private event space. The second bar by Michael Icenhauer / Icenhauer Ventures, Sellers was designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. The space displays glowing bottles that illuminate a rich atmosphere of velvet, brass, and wood, giving Sellers the underground feel of a 1970’s basement lounge in modern downtown Austin. The bar is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily and offers happy hour all day Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.



See all locations here. 

Renowned for their Original Kimchi Fries and build-your-own Korean-Mexican fusion concept, Chi’Lantro is a local favorite with national recognition, having been featured in Food + Wine, Food Network, Cooking Channel and more. Founder Jae Kim also landed a deal for the fast-casual concept on ABC’s Shark Tank this past fall. Find them at any of their five locations in town or at SouthBites.

Based in Austin, TX, Chi’Lantro is an award-winning restaurant, mobile food truck and full-service catering company with a passion for creating diverse, Korean BBQ-inspired cuisine.The name “Chi’Lantro” is a combination of the words “kimchi” and “cilantro.” With the vision to inspire the way people eat and think about Korean BBQ, Chi’Lantro’s founder, Jae Kim, started the company as a food truck operation in 2010 with only one employee. The company is known for its signature dish, The Original Kimchi Fries™– hot french fries with homemade caramelized kimchi, Korean BBQ, topped with fresh cilantro and onion, sesame seeds and drizzled with Magic Sauce. In the last seven years, Chi’Lantro has expanded to five brick and mortars across Austin, a full-service catering department and a homemade kimchi facility.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya

Location: 1234 S Lamar Blvd

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Phone: (512) 893-5561 

With a ramen broth that takes nearly 60 hours to make, Ramen Tatsu-Ya serves up authentic “soul food of Japan.” The shop has received numerous accolades since opening, including Bon Appetit’s “Top 50 Best Restaurants,” #1 in Time Out’s “15 Best Ramen Restaurants in America,” and more. 

In Fall 2012, Chef Tatsu Aikawa started Ramen Tatsu-Ya with chef Takuya Matsumoto and younger brother Shion Aikawa. The duo first met over 10 years ago as hip hop DJs and they remained friends as their lives followed a similar path as sushi chefs. After spending some time at the Michelin-starred kaiseki/sushi bar, Urasawa, in Los Angeles, Tatsu decided to return to Austin in the pursuit of introducing authentic Japanese ramen to Texas. With the help of friends and family, Ramen Tatsu-ya became a reality and soon after opening, the shop quickly became a local sensation boasting national accolades, including Bon Appetit’s “Top 50 Best Restaurants.”

Home Slice Pizza

Location:1415 South Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Hours: Sun and Mon from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wed and Thurs from 11am-11pm; Fri. & Sat.,11am-12am

Phone: (512) 444-7437 

Recognized as some of the best pizza in Austin by locals in Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin,” Austin American-Statesman along with Rachael Ray’s “11 Must-Visit Austin Spots.”

Home Slice Pizza is an independent neighborhood pizza joint serving authentic New York-style pizza—by the pie or by the slice—to nice people like you. We offer our homemade, hand-tossed, bona fide pies for either dine-in or carry out.

More Home Slice

Location: 1421 South Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Hours: Sun through Thurs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri and Sat from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Phone: (512) 444-7437

Home Slice’s takeout/slice place located right next door to Home Slice Pizza — great for late night eats.


Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

Location: 2713 E 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78702

Hours: Wed and Thurs from 5:30 – 11 p.m., Fri and Sat from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, and Sun from 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m., closed Mon and Tues

Phone: (512) 893-5561 

Recently opened in January 2017, the latest concept by the Ramen Tatsu-Ya team has already become a favorite among locals on the east side of town. The Texas-influenced Japanese izakaya was recently featured in Bon Appetit’s March 2017 issue.

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, the newest project from the Ramen Tatsu-Ya team, offers ample comfort and adventure for guests seeking both. A reflection of owner and chef Tatsu Aikawa’s Japanese background and central Texas upbringing, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, inspired by the word “smoke” in Japanese, is a full service, full bar restaurant serving smoked meats, yakitori, ramen and izakaya classics.


Location: 615 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Dining Room Hours: Sun through Thurs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Fri and Sat from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Cedar Tavern Hours: 5 p.m. to close, daily

Phone: 512-916-9000 

Named after a rebellious Austin figure and known for being the home of the historic 150-year old Cedar Tavern bar, which previous resided in Greenwich Village, NYC, Eberly is a local hotspot just outside the downtown area, close to ZACH Theatre and more.

Forged from an old print shop on South Lamar, Eberly is a thoughtful collection of dining, drinking and thinking spaces, offering a welcoming study, a rooftop terrace overlooking downtown and its crown jewel, the historic Cedar Tavern bar of Greenwich Village in New York City. Founded by a group of Austinites, the name Eberly serves as a tribute to Angelina Eberly, a local innkeeper who stood up to President Sam Houston and his Texas Rangers by firing a cannon to stave off a rebellion and preserve Austin as the capital of Texas in 1846. Helmed by Executive Chef Jim Tripi and Executive Pastry Chef Natalie Gazaui, Eberly features Contemporary American cuisine with timeless favorites that incorporate a modern spin. Serving the highest quality fare with an emphasis on freshness, seasonality and local availability, everything served out of Eberly’s artisan kitchen and bakery is made from scratch.

The Hightower to Offer Special Brunch During Annual March Festival In Austin

–      Patrons Can Enjoy Brunch on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18 in Addition to Saturday and Sunday –

To celebrate Austin’s popular festival in March and give festival goers the opportunity to try their mouthwatering brunch, The Hightower will extend its weekend brunch to Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18.

The Hightower’s brunch menu includes a variety of dishes such as chicken and waffles, boudin scramble, mahi mahi ceviche, and sandwich options, plus a popular do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar.

Located in the heart of East Austin and within walking distance of the multiple events and celebrations during the festival, The Hightower is the ideal spot for out-of-towners and Austinites to visit for a meal and drink before starting out the day.

In addition to brunch, The Hightower will offer Happy Hour on Thursday and Friday from 5 – 7 p.m. and its dinner menu from 5 – 10 p.m. Happy Hour on Sunday is offered from 5 p.m. til closing.

Thursday, March 17 through Sunday, March 20

11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

The Hightower

1209 East 7th Street Austin, TX 78702

Where to Dine During SXSW 2016

With SXSW 2016 quickly approaching, we’re thrilled to share a few tasty restaurant options that festival-goers can enjoy during Interactive, Film and Music.

The list below includes places to escape the crowd that are walking distance or a quick 5 minute car ride from downtown Austin. If you’ll be in town, be sure to check out the must-try restaurants below!


Downtown Austin Restaurants


Guacamole Tasting

Guacamole Tasting

La Condesa


400A West 2nd Street
Austin, TX 78701


Mon – Wed, 11:30am – 10pm

Thurs – Fri, 11:30am – 11pm

Sat, 11 am – 11pm

Sun, 11am – 10pm


(512) 499-0300


La Condesa is an award-winning, upscale Mexican restaurant featuring the largest selection of tequila in Austin. Stop by to sip on the Classic Margarita – a local favorite and voted “Best Margarita” by Eater Austin. The incredibly popular off-the-menu chapulines, or fried grasshopper tacos, will reappear during this year’s SXSW – make sure to try them while you have the chance!


Ranch 616


616 Nueces St.

Austin, TX 78701

Mon – Thurs, 11am – 2pm, 5pm – 10pm
Fri, 11am – 2pm, 5pm – 11pm
Sat, 5pm – 11pm
Sun, 11am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 10pm


(512) 479-7616


Ranch 616 is a comfortable South Texas-style Ice House that offers innovative cuisine. Located on West Sixth Street, just blocks away from SXSW venues, the restaurant encompasses flavors from the Gulf of Mexico to the border towns of Texas. Along with prime cuts of Texas beef and chicken, the restaurant serves whole fish and other fresh seafood daily. The perfect destination for drinks, Ranch 616 is known for their Ranch Waters; a heady cocktail of Hornitos Reposado, Citronge and lime juice served on the rocks with a Topo Chico on the side. For lunch, “The Don Combo” is a delight of fried calamari and oysters served with a chipotle tartar sauce.



Restaurants just outside of Central Downtown

Café No Sé


Located at South Congress Hotel
1603 South Congress
Austin, Texas 78704


Sun-Wed, 7am – 10pm
Thurs-Sat, 7am – 12am


(512) 942-2061


Café No Sé, located inside South Congress Hotel, is open until midnight Thursday through Saturday, making the all-day casual neighborhood cafe a perfect spot for late night dining during SXSW. Stop by during breakfast, lunch, or dinner to try the mouthwatering Café Cheeseburger – a double patty Pat LaFrieda beef, thinly sliced Vidalia onion, and house made pickles on a freshly baked buttermilk brioche bun served all-day. Add your own twist with some house cured, crispy slab bacon, make it a triple or enhance with an egg. Snack on the Avocado Toast served on multigrain bread with a soft boiled egg, cremé frîache, and aleppo pickled carrot for a lighter menu option. For a sweeter option and pick-me-up, grab a delicious pastry from the bake shop inside or enjoy the signature Rockman’s Basque Cake all by Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Rockman.


Central Standard


Located at South Congress Hotel

1603 South Congress

Austin, Texas 78704


Sun – Wed, 5pm – 10pm

Thurs – Sat, 5pm – 11pm


(512) 942-0823


Central Standard is a recently opened classic American bar and grill located inside the hip South Congress Hotel. The restaurant features a raw bar, wood-burning hearth, and an extensive wine cellar. Guests can enjoy lunch, mid-day bites, or dinner while people-watching on the expansive wraparound patio overlooking South Congress Avenue. Executive Chef Michael Paley puts his own unique spin on American classics such as the Prime Rib Roast and Striped Bass while Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Rockman whips up a few guilty pleasures on the dessert menu including Coffee & Doughnuts and Chocolate Pudding Cake.



Goodall’s Kitchen


Located inside Hotel Ella

1900 Rio Grande Street
Austin, TX 78705


Sun – Thurs, 7am – 10pm

Fri – Sat, 7am – 11pm


(512) 628-4400


Goodall’s Kitchen, located inside the historic Hotel Ella, features classic American bistro fare and handcrafted cocktails. Guests can escape the SXSW craziness downtown to enjoy dinner in the restaurant’s relaxed bistro-style atmosphere or on the idyllic veranda overlooking the Hotel Ella front lawn. Sit at the bar and sip on Goodall’s Blunderbuss, a handcrafted mix of gin, rosemary, lemon, and prosecco or indulge in the Goodall’s burger, a true must-try with applewood smoked bacon, onion marmalade, and aged cheddar cheese. After your meal, enjoy the chocolate soufflé tart with sea salt, almonds, and olive oil ice cream as a sweet dessert.





1417 South 1st Street

Austin, Texas 78704


Sun – Wed, 11am – 10pm

Thurs – Sat, 11am – 11pm


(512) 326-1999


Located on South First Street, Sway is a short ways off the beaten path and offers a great escape from the central SXSW chaos. The restaurant, overseen by Chef Martin Wilda, is an award-winning, modern Thai restaurant with a menu that blends traditional and innovative Thai techniques and ingredients. Sway’s design is modern, clean, and simple with an entirely open theater-style kitchen and unique communal tables to encourage family-style dining and sharing – a great way to network and make friends with visitors in town for SXSW.



Tips for Traveling During Austin’s “March Madness”

By William Jackson


March Madness is upon us, and that means Austin’s airport will be busier than ever.

The third month of the year is one of the busiest for Austin with events like spring break, Rodeo Austin, SXSW, UIL tournaments and the iHeartRadio Country Music Festival, just to name a few.  Airport traffic increased six percent during March 2013 and 10 million travelers were recorded to pass through ABIA for the entire year.

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has a few tips for travelers to and from Austin to make things go smoother as presented by

Hey Austin, Event Planning Just Got Easier

by Rebecca Rosenberg

Take the pain out of planning with Event Slice. This one new website has tons of ideas for planning your wedding, birthday party, Meetup event or SXSW bash, plus specifics on how to book it.  Resembling the one-stop-shopping experience of travel planning websites like Travelocity, Expedia, and others, Event Slice combines descriptions, stats, photos, and reviews of businesses in all sectors of the event market. 

Event Slice is sorted by city, and it’s all about convenience. If you’re searching venues, then nearby service providers will appear along the sidebar and vice versa. Service providers include florists, photographers, bakers, caterers, DJs, and more.
The platform lets you comparison-shop details about rental cost, availability, location, and ratings, saving countless hours on the phone or driving to in-person meetings. Then, when you’re ready, contact the venue for walk through or instantly book online. It’s totally free.
For venues or service providers, Event Slice is a low cost advertising platform that drives awareness to your business. Registered users can create and easily update a profile with photos or specials.
For more information visit