South Lamar Boulevard was cool way before acronyms became a trend. SoLa? SoNo. As the new and spendy spots get a lot of love, we wanted to balance that particular bias with a few favorites that might not get as much buzz these days.
These are the solid spots on South Lamar that can cure your cravings for anything from craft beer and coffee to live music and Mexican food.
Let the bros gather at Black Sheep. Aviary is the lovely spot next door with wine bottles jostling for space, select craft brews, and thoughtful plates. Every day here is different — live music and half-off bottles on Wednesdays, $10 off bubbles and rosé on Saturdays, and all-night Tuesday happy hour. Come here for trivia, movie nights, DJs, and board games.
Opa Coffee & Wine
This patio is still one of the most romantic in town. It's a little oasis from the hustle and bustle of the busy street. Add in a light-strung tree, some swinging chairs, and a large wine selection and it's pretty close to perfect (and your date will think so too).
Originally located downtown, One-2-One has stayed true to its mission: live music every night. Behind that strip mall facade is a totally different world. From down and dirty blues to Latin dance parties and soul showdowns, there's always something happening here. And the bar pays its musicians.
Stouthaus Coffee Pub
Cuvee Coffee, craft beer on tap, delicious pastries, and Tacodeli tacos — what's not to love? It's also vaguely Star Wars themed with a stormtrooper espresso machine and Ewok treats for your pups. Stop in Mondays for open mic comedy, Wednesdays for half-off wine by the glass, and $3 pours on Fridays from 2 to 5 pm.
Sometimes you stop by Valero for gas ... other times it's for Italian food. Giovanni's Pizza Stand was originally a truck but has since been incorporated within the gas station. In addition to the big pizza pies, you can go gourmet: scampi linguine, pasta arrabiata, and the signature spicy Caesar. Gluten-free options are also available.
Crepe Crazy is remarkable for several reasons, including the couple that opened the business, both of whom are deaf. They also hire deaf staff and communicate via sign language. The eatery offers sweet and savory crepes, sandwiches, and salads. Start the morning off with a Norwegian crepe stuffed with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, and whhhhipped cream cheese.
Maria's Taco Xpress
Just because something's been in Austin for over 20 years doesn't mean that people know it's there. Big Boobie Bingo, Hippie Church, and a lot of that original Austin vibe are all found at Maria's Taco Xpress. This place just feels good — eccentric art, outlandish colors, and Maria herself in sculpture form presiding over the festivities.
Irie Bean Coffee Bar
Hammocks. Coffee. Margs. Kid-Friendly. Reggae Sundays. Started in 2006 by a group of people with an "irie" state of mind, grab some coffee or an adult beverage and enjoy the hidden backyard, affectionately known as South Lamar Social Club. Pro-tip: Irie Bean buddies up to East Side King if you're looking for some bites.
This Mexican restaurant sits quietly next to the Golden Goose (RIP Horseshoe) harboring a secretly awesome happy hour from 2 to 7 pm on weekdays and a bangin' brunch buffet on the weekends. The buffet is A-Y-C-E for $18 including made-to-order eggs, pancakes, French toast, chilaquiles, migas, guacamole, creative salads, interior Mexican dishes, fresh fruit, and homemade tortillas.