You’re with a large-ish group, you want “real barbecue,” and you don’t want to drive hours or wait in long lines. Cooper’s is a Texas Hill Country BBQ legend that opened a downtown Austin location exactly for situations like this. The setup here involves a fast-moving line where you pick out your favorites from the beef, pork, and chicken options on display. Get a healthy portion of brisket, with some burnt ends. You don’t really need to spend much time on the sides. Focus on what you came for - the meat sweats.
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Alta's Cafe is an under-the-radar cafe downtown that’s right on the trails near the Convention Center in the Waller Creek Boathouse.
ATX Cocina downtown has one of the longest tequila and mezcal lists in the city and serves some great Mexican food.
HandleBar is a Dirty Sixth bar with an inexplicable mustache theme, but the rooftop is great for a big group.
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Lula Mae’s Catering & BBQ
Lula Mae’s Catering & BBQ serves really great barbecue on the East Side of Austin.
Franklin Barbecue has earned a reputation as the best place for smoked meats in the entire country, and rightfully so.
Kemuri Tatsu-ya is serving Japanese/barbecue/Tex-Mex fusion in East Austin, and it’s one of the greatest meals you can have in the city right now.
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Terry Black’s BBQ
Terry Black’s on Barton Springs has a big patio, short lines, and serves some the best Lockhart-style barbecue in Austin.
Lustre Pearl has one of the bigger footprints on Rainey Street, with multiple levels and bars inside.
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