For everyone who complains that Rainey Street just isn’t what it used to be, Lustre Pearl East is the solution. It’s the original bungalow that was uprooted from Rainey when they needed to make way for condos, but now with more outdoor space and way fewer UT students. Even though it’s further east than most places on this list, it’s worth the extra five minute bike or Uber ride. It’s never too crowded, but there are always enough people to make it feel like a house party you’d actually want to be at.
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Franklin Barbecue has earned a reputation as the best place for smoked meats in the entire country, and rightfully so.
Buenos Aires Cafe, Este
Buenos Aires is a low-key Argentinian spot in East Austin with excellent empanadas. Use it for a casual weeknight dinner.
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Hotel Vegas / Volstead Lounge
These two East Side dive bars always have live music, and share one enormous backyard filled with picnic tables and cheap drinks.
Tommy Want Wingy
Tommy Want Wingy is both a Tommy Boy reference and a food truck at Lustre Pearl on Rainey Street serving lollipop wings with nine different sauces.
Punch Bowl Social
Punch Bowl Social in The Domain is everything you dreamed about as a kid - there’s bowling, skeeball, pinball - along with a bar for the adults.
Suggested by our writers
Loro is an Asian smokehouse from the teams behind Franklin Barbecue and Uchi. And yes, it’s exactly as great as you’d expect.
Le Politique in Downtown Austin is a place to see, be seen, and eat some great French food.
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