Last year I hosted the first “Ultimate Sunday Funday” and it was a relative success, if I do say so myself. So this year, I had to host another over our first three day weekend of the summer – Memorial Day Weekend. Nothing is better than spending time with good friends and then, BONUS, having a Monday off!
While we did this on a Sunday, this path is completely do-able for a Saturday of fun or any day that you have free in Austin. The route gives you a great chance to explore the East Side, which is really coming to life and get a bit off the beaten path, but still has you ending up on a local favorite (even though it’s not technically the east side) – Rainey Street. I planned the outing to be sensitive of the uncertainty of the ride-sharing situation in Austin at the time. I wanted to make sure that we could safely walk between a majority of our destinations.
Stop one: Hops and Grain
We kicked off our afternoon at Hops and Gain, an award winning sustainable craft brewery, which is a favorite of our group. We went on one of the last weekends where they had the buy a glass, get a set of tokens for beer system – the great news is now you can go and buy by the pint! Their taproom is super spacious, filled with lots of communal tables for sitting, playing board games, or chowing down on food from the food truck outside. Grab a pint, sit outside or in, and be sure to try and make one their free tours. What I love about their tours is the focus on sustainability. It adds a unique spin to the tour and their staff is clearly so passionate about the brew and the environment.
Brew recs: The One They Call Zoe is a great intro into the brewery and an easy lager to drink. I’m a big fan of their A Pale Mosaic (love those Mosaic hops) and the Greenhouse IPA. Check the boards for their small batches – the brewers love to test out different versions of their classics!
Stop two: Blue Owl Brewing
Less than a 10 minute walk away is a fairly new brewery on the Austin scene – Blue Owl Brewing. If you’re as obsessed with sours as I am or looking to dive head first into the sour scene, this is your spot. They sour-mash their beers, which they explain exactly what they means pretty well during their tours (sign up in advance online or in person) and on their tasting cards. At Blue Owl, you pay for a glass, which you get to keep, and then 4 generous pours. Their taproom set up is one of my favorites – it’s a bit whimsical with all of the art and owl statues above, and there’s a far amount of seating and standing tables. They also offer an outside patio area with even more seating.
Brew recs: This is sours only spot, so be sure your crew knows that before rolling up. My drink right now is their Little Boss, a Sour Session Wheat, which is a great intro to their sours AND if you love it as much as I do, they can their beers so the party doesn’t have to stop in the taproom! Stouts and sours pretty much sum of my favorite kind of beers, so their Professor Black, a Sour Cherry Stout, is a can’t miss. They also offer limited edition pours for the more adventurous types.
Stop three: Craftsman
Keeping heading down on East Cesar Chavez and you’ll across a group of bars that make for great day or evening drinking. Our group opted to head into Craftsman on our particular day excursion and enjoy the cool, wooden interior and the wrap around patio. Next door is Stay Gold, which offers a great lounge and stage inside and lots of outdoor seating. Across from those is Drinks Lounge. A bit rough around the corners, but plenty of fun. Pool tables and photo booth in the corner that our group has definitely utilized to capture the memories.
Drink recs: Craftsman offers Prosecco on tap. They have a good craft beer and cocktail offerings. If you’re out to explore, definitely grab some craft cocktails and food from the Toaster food truck at Stay Gold.
Stop four: Rainey street – Craft Pride
So now we opted to call a ride share and make our way down the Rainey Street. Rainey Street is lined with a great selection of bars and restaurants, and most of them are in converted houses. While it’s not technically the East Side, it flowed pretty well with our general direction and flow of the day. Everywhere you look is a great patio, great selection of drinks, DJs and live music, and its all walking distance from spot to spot. It’s about a mile from the bars on Cesar Chavez so if you’ve got an active crew and the weather’s nice, it could be walked, but that wasn’t in the cards for us. We headed straight for Craft Pride. Craft Pride was on the first places I visited in Austin and it’s been a favorite ever since. It’s a beer drinkers paradise – the impressive collection of taps feature only Texas beers and it rotates frequently. There’s a bottle shop built right in and I love popping in to pick up some treasures to bring home. Take a peek at their website, linked above, to get a sense of selection you’ll come face. The staff is friendly and helpful and down to help everyone pick their perfect brew. Another gem shares the space – Via 313 Pizza. Order from the trailer in the backyard patio, sit down with your brew and some live music and you’ll see why we all keep coming back.
Brew Recs: If you’re at Craft Pride, strap in for a craft beer adventure. The tap list is nicely divided out into categories so you can zone in for the style you crave and also consider new brews. Cozy up inside or camp out at a table outside. Just be sure you order some of that Detroit style pizza. Seriously.
Craft Pride was the last stop for a lot of our Sunday Funday Crew. Some of the more adventurous types (and the ones who joined in later in the day) kept exploring Rainey Street, but I know I definitely called it a night! Our journey from start to finish was about 7 hours and it was well worth every minute!
If you are interested in learning more about what East Cesar Chavez has to offer, check out this great blog post from Do512 – a personal favorite of mine for a guide on what to do in Austin!
From our Sunday Sunday crew to yours! Cheers to a great way to spend the weekend!