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Henbit’s pork sandwich
Henbit’s pork sandwich
Henbit [Official]

Where to Eat and Drink Near the Austin Convention Center

Great and convenient restaurants and bars near where many of SXSW’s events take place

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Henbit’s pork sandwich
| Henbit [Official]

The area surrounding the Austin Convention Center isn’t typically thought to be one of the city’s premier food and drink destinations. But in fact, the area, that welcomes guests from all over the world for major events like South by Southwest (SXSW), RTX Austin, and Wizard World Comic Con, is home to a number of restaurants and bars worth a visit.

Here’s Eater’s guide to the best eating and drinking options around the Austin Convention Center. From barbecue to burgers to fruit smoothies to craft cocktails and more, this list has everything covered. There are post-panel drinks at Firehouse Hostel, Neapolitan pizza from Backspace, group-friendly food hall Fareground, great fried chicken from Gus’s, healthy fare from Blenders and Bowls, and much more. This update adds Biderman’s Deli.

For more introductions to Austin, scope out Eater’s complete guide to dining and drinking in the city, as well as Austin’s essential restaurants, hot new restaurants, essential bars, hot new cocktail bars, best happy hour deals, and the downtown neighborhood guide.

If a favorite food or drink destination convenient to the convention is missing, let Eater know through the tipline or in the comments.

With updates by Nadia Chaudhury.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Biderman's Deli

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The Jewish-style deli expanded with a downtown outpost, which means bagels (made by Austin’s best bagelmaker Rosen’s) and schmears and sandwiches with fillings like corned beef, pastrami, and turkey during daytime hours.

Small Victory

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Small Victory shakes up clever cocktails with memorable names and an innovative ice program. Open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., this intimate bar is perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks. Small bites are also available.

Small Victory
Small Victory
Darren B./Yelp

Firehouse Lounge

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Experience classic cocktails and innovative combinations without the pretentiousness at this aptly named hostel and lounge. Located right off East 6th Street, Firehouse sits in Austin’s oldest-standing fire station behind the moving bookshelf. The live music completes the speakeasy vibe.

A bar with people.
Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge/Facebook

Midnight Cowboy

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A reservations-only policy and old-school-inspired cocktails give this speakeasy a unique vibe that stands out from other East 6th Street bars. Even better: there’s a casual walk-in-only back patio.

A cocktail from Midnight Cowboy
A cocktail from Midnight Cowboy
Scott Robertson

The Backspace

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Head to the Backspace for Neapolitan pizzas, cheese boards, and meatballs for lunch or dinner. During happy hour, enjoy half-priced beer, wine, and antipasti.

The Backspace’s pies
The Backspace’s pies
The Backspace/Facebook

Koriente

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For healthy, quick, affordable, pan-Asian fare, Koriente has it covered. The menu includes curries, vegetable-centric combinations, and chicken and fish dishes too. Enjoy complimentary soup with any entree order.

A bowl from Koriente
Koriente
Yummy T./Yelp

Easy Tiger

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Easy Tiger is a surefire winner for groups large and small. Snacks include a housemade pretzel and mustard, a cheese plate, and beef jerky. For heartier options, opt for sausages or sandwiches. Beer options are plentiful. For a morning trek, pick up a coffee and one of the freshly made pastries.

Food from Easy Tiger
Food from Easy Tiger
Easy Tiger/Facebook

Blenders and Bowls

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Craving something on the lighter side? Choose from a number of smoothies and bowl options, in addition to the shop’s token item: acai bowls.

Acai bowls from Blenders & Bowls
Acai bowls from Blenders & Bowls
Blenders & Bowls/Facebook

Vince Young Steakhouse

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Steak reigns at this upscale restaurant, but dishes like crab cake, pork belly, lobster rolls, and bacon mac and cheese are equally as delicious. Don’t skip out on a stellar cocktail or decadent desserts.

Steaks at Vince Young
Steaks at Vince Young
Vince Young Steakhouse/Facebook

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

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Moonshine offers classic American comfort foods like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and chicken fried steak. The drink selection includes bourbon, whiskey, Texas vodka and gin, and scotch.

Chicken and waffles at Moonshine
Chicken and waffles at Moonshine
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill/Facebook

Fareground

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For those looking to cater to different cravings, Austin’s first food hall is the place to go, full of the city’s leading chefs and restaurants. There’s excellent sushi and ramen courtesy of Kome, bowls and cookies at Henbit, rotisserie chicken from Contigo, hummus from TLV, and stellar tacos from Dai Due. The bar serves up a smart list of wine, beer, and draft cocktails.

Dai Due Taqueria’s breakfast tacos
Dai Due Taqueria’s breakfast tacos
Trinh P./Yelp

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

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Famously hot and spicy fried chicken is what you’ll find at the fried chicken chain. Pair the fried bird with comforting sides like baked beans, fried okra, and mac and cheese.

A plate on fried chicken next to two bowls with mac and cheese and greens, next to a bottled beverage in a brown paper bag on a table with blue-and-white-checkered tablecloth.
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken/Facebook

Iron Works BBQ

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Authentic Texas barbecue is Iron Works’s ethos. And just steps from the convention center, locals and visitors alike can sample this restaurant’s famous chopped beef, signature beef ribs, and specialty sauces.

Barbecue from Iron Works BBQ
Barbecue from Iron Works BBQ
Iron Works BBQ/Facebook

Alta's Cafe

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Take refuge away from the bustling downtown area by indulging in a coffee or wine over at the cafe which overlooks Lady Bird Lake.

Alta’s
Alta’s
Alta’s [Official]

Little Brother

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Seek caffeine and booze from what might be Austin’s tiniest bar ever from the team behind Better Half and Brew & Brew. Equal attention and care is paid to the coffee as the cocktails.

Little Brother’s back bar
Little Brother’s back bar
Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

Half Step

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Located in the heart of nearby entertainment district Rainey Street, Half Step offers just a handful of expertly made cocktails. Indoors you’ll find an intimate, lounge vibe; the outside patio offers an airy, casual atmosphere. Opt for the bartender’s choice if you’re feeling adventurous, the patio offers an airy, casual atmosphere.

Half Step
Half Step
Claire McCormack Photography/Half Step/Official

Biderman's Deli

The Jewish-style deli expanded with a downtown outpost, which means bagels (made by Austin’s best bagelmaker Rosen’s) and schmears and sandwiches with fillings like corned beef, pastrami, and turkey during daytime hours.

Small Victory

Small Victory
Small Victory
Darren B./Yelp

Small Victory shakes up clever cocktails with memorable names and an innovative ice program. Open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., this intimate bar is perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks. Small bites are also available.

Small Victory
Small Victory
Darren B./Yelp

Firehouse Lounge

A bar with people.
Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge/Facebook

Experience classic cocktails and innovative combinations without the pretentiousness at this aptly named hostel and lounge. Located right off East 6th Street, Firehouse sits in Austin’s oldest-standing fire station behind the moving bookshelf. The live music completes the speakeasy vibe.

A bar with people.
Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge/Facebook

Midnight Cowboy

A cocktail from Midnight Cowboy
A cocktail from Midnight Cowboy
Scott Robertson

A reservations-only policy and old-school-inspired cocktails give this speakeasy a unique vibe that stands out from other East 6th Street bars. Even better: there’s a casual walk-in-only back patio.

A cocktail from Midnight Cowboy
A cocktail from Midnight Cowboy
Scott Robertson

The Backspace

The Backspace’s pies
The Backspace’s pies
The Backspace/Facebook

Head to the Backspace for Neapolitan pizzas, cheese boards, and meatballs for lunch or dinner. During happy hour, enjoy half-priced beer, wine, and antipasti.

The Backspace’s pies
The Backspace’s pies
The Backspace/Facebook

Koriente

A bowl from Koriente
Koriente
Yummy T./Yelp

For healthy, quick, affordable, pan-Asian fare, Koriente has it covered. The menu includes curries, vegetable-centric combinations, and chicken and fish dishes too. Enjoy complimentary soup with any entree order.

A bowl from Koriente
Koriente
Yummy T./Yelp

Easy Tiger

Food from Easy Tiger
Food from Easy Tiger
Easy Tiger/Facebook

Easy Tiger is a surefire winner for groups large and small. Snacks include a housemade pretzel and mustard, a cheese plate, and beef jerky. For heartier options, opt for sausages or sandwiches. Beer options are plentiful. For a morning trek, pick up a coffee and one of the freshly made pastries.

Food from Easy Tiger
Food from Easy Tiger
Easy Tiger/Facebook

Blenders and Bowls

Acai bowls from Blenders & Bowls
Acai bowls from Blenders & Bowls
Blenders & Bowls/Facebook

Craving something on the lighter side? Choose from a number of smoothies and bowl options, in addition to the shop’s token item: acai bowls.

Acai bowls from Blenders & Bowls
Acai bowls from Blenders & Bowls
Blenders & Bowls/Facebook

Vince Young Steakhouse

Steaks at Vince Young
Steaks at Vince Young
Vince Young Steakhouse/Facebook

Steak reigns at this upscale restaurant, but dishes like crab cake, pork belly, lobster rolls, and bacon mac and cheese are equally as delicious. Don’t skip out on a stellar cocktail or decadent desserts.

Steaks at Vince Young
Steaks at Vince Young
Vince Young Steakhouse/Facebook

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

Chicken and waffles at Moonshine
Chicken and waffles at Moonshine
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill/Facebook

Moonshine offers classic American comfort foods like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and chicken fried steak. The drink selection includes bourbon, whiskey, Texas vodka and gin, and scotch.

Chicken and waffles at Moonshine
Chicken and waffles at Moonshine
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill/Facebook

Fareground

Dai Due Taqueria’s breakfast tacos
Dai Due Taqueria’s breakfast tacos
Trinh P./Yelp

For those looking to cater to different cravings, Austin’s first food hall is the place to go, full of the city’s leading chefs and restaurants. There’s excellent sushi and ramen courtesy of Kome, bowls and cookies at Henbit, rotisserie chicken from Contigo, hummus from TLV, and stellar tacos from Dai Due. The bar serves up a smart list of wine, beer, and draft cocktails.

Dai Due Taqueria’s breakfast tacos
Dai