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Best of Austin: Downtown Winners

March 30, 2022

Every year, Austin Monthly comes out with their highly anticipated list of the best places in Austin for every category you can imagine. Congratulations to the Best of Winners 2022! Here are the downtown places and people that won and how they help keep Austin weird.

Category: Things to Do

Break Out Musician: Blk Odyssy

Blk Odyssy is a funk artist that dabbled in rock before returning to his funk roots to weave in soul, R&B and hip-hop. He signed with Empire recently to re-release his debut album and has been known to perform in our favorite downtown venues like Empire Control Room and Garage and the Parish. He was also the featured artist at one of our Birthday Bash celebrations.

Park Renovation: Waterloo Park

After several years of planning and renovations, we finally watched Waterloo Park open back up to the public with numerous upgrades and additions. The restoration of Waller Creek is a continuing project and the work at Waterloo is a beautiful start. Their renovation included immaculate landscaping, trails, decks, and a natural playground topped off with a beautiful new amphitheater which constantly hosts fun programming in the park.

Category: What to Eat

Burger: Salt & Time

The patty is what makes the burger at Salt & Time so noteworthy. Ben Ruckle transforms his locally sourced, dry-aged steak trimmings each day into 8oz patties. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it- be sure to stop by the Republic Square location to check them out.

Speakeasy: Kinfolk

You might not have known, but the cellar underneath our beloved Moonshine Patio is from the 1850s and is home an original speakeasy from Prohibition that is STILL RUNNING. Enjoy this updated but historic speakeasy, Kinfolk, full of carefully curated whiskeys and spirits while learning something new as you read through the drink menu/historical flow chart.

Category: What to See

Do-Gooder: The Other Ones Foundation

The Other Ones Foundation (TOOF) is one the community partners we support and rely on to help us best serve our downtown homeless community. Here is what Austin Monthly had to say about the Do-Gooder winner, “Founded by Queer Eye hero Chris Baker in 2018, the nonprofit focuses on creating solutions to Austin’s growing homeless epidemic, including arranging extremely low-barrier job opportunities, launching mobile hygiene trailers, and even building a large scale transitional shelter complex. In less than five years, TOOF has paid more than $1.5 million through its work program, provided over 27,000 showers, and moved more than 150 folks into stable housing.”

Mural: The Contemporary Austin

Downtown is so much brighter with the addition of the massive, brightly-colored mural covering the side of The Contemporary Austin. The mural celebrates the life and work of Daniel Johnston and features some of his most famous characters and artwork. The mural was opened to the public on Austin’s newly proclaimed Hi, How Are You Day, a day to have open conversations about mental health and well-being. This project was made possible by No Comply and Vans.

Return to Form: Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez returned to Austin to film his new thriller Hypnotic starring Ben Affleck. A portion of the new movie was filmed in our very own Republic Square park by the courthouse. It was certainly an exciting day downtown full of pyrotechnics and celebrity sightings.

Category: Reader’s Poll

Best Bar: Roosevelt Room won 2nd

Best Bookstore: Book People won 1st

Best Tacos and Breakfast Tacos: Veracruz and Tacodeli won 1st and 2nd respectively in both categories.

Best Brunch: 1886 Café won 3rd

Best Queso: Torchy’s Tacos won 1st

Best Sandwich: Austin Rotisserie won 3rd

Best Vegetarian Food: The Well won 3rd

Best Record Store: Waterloo Records won 1st

Best Wine Shop: The Austin Wine Merchant won 1st

Best Acupuncture: Kung Acupuncture won 3rd

Best Hiking Trail: Lady Bird Lake won 1st

Best Massage: milk & honey won 1st

Best Music Venue: ACL Live won 1st, Mohawk won 2nd, Stubbs won 3rd

Best Musician or Band: Black Pumas won 1st, Go Fever won 2nd, Sir Woman won 3rd (all three frequently play downtown)

Best Museum: Blanton Museum of Art won 1st, The Contemporary won 2nd, Mexic-Arte won 4th


Thank you to everyone who voted for downtown businesses and to Austin Monthly for their careful selections. Please continue to support and uplift these fantastic additions to Austin!

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