As we all become accustomed again to going out and mingling with people, there are adjustments being made, whether we realize it or not. Traffic alone, in Austin, Texas, is massive enough again to increase our stress levels and cause delays in arriving at our favorite places we've missed for over a year.
It's been exciting to revisit my old haunts, and I look forward to trying new ones. Just as soon as I catch my breath. Pun intended.
Here are the cool places I've been to in the last two and a half weeks. They're all open, and most are back to near or total capacity.
Hopdoddy, as you know if you follow me, is my go-to for the type of place where "everybody knows my name." I'm single, so sitting at the bar in a restaurant is also my go-to, and Hopdoddy has the best bartenders. One of them calls me Care Bear, so there's that. Their Doble Fina margaritas with lava salt are the best in town.
Perlas has been open for awhile because they have a large patio facing South Congress. They specialize in fish dishes and a boast a variety of oysters on the half shell. The deck is built around the Heritage Oaks, which rise through holes cut in the deck to provide a generous canopy of shade for diners at the outside tables. Inside, there's bar seating and more dining, with ambient lighting. It's both cozy and modern.
Meet-ups are back in person. "Thinkers and Drinkers" meet monthly at a different bar or restaurant. The one tonight was at Wanderlust Winery, with over 56 wines on tap. You fill your own glass at the taps, and pay for what you pour at around .55 cents per ounce. A bargain and an unparalleled opportunity to try the most wines in one place. "Thinkers and Drinkers" discuss a different topic each time. Tonight's was "Are Movie Theaters Dead?" I certainly hope not. I'm a screenwriter, and invested in AMC before it was the thing to do.
Guero's Oak Garden, the outdoor venue on South Congress next to Guero's Restaurant, is open for business with live music again. On Wednesday's they host Sun Radio Live, with a variety of local live music artists. I was there Sunday evening for country music, and will be there this Thursday for Murali Coryell, one of my favorite original artists who traveled to Austin frequently before the pandemic. I'm so glad he's back.
Baker's Street Pub holds trivia nights on Wednesdays. I've been to two. My team is the Baker Street Irregulars, and we placed around 5th both times. We're working on moving on up, so we'll be back.
It has taken me some time to adjust to the normal again. I still feel like something is missing when I'm not wearing my mask. I'm vaccinated though, so I will continue to experience everything Austin has to offer, and keep you informed.