May 21, 2015
By: Tom Thornton
Austin has long been a town full of lively bars with great atmosphere. A few short years ago, though, the idea of great bar food would have brought little more to mind than chips and queso or taco platters. As Austin’s food scene has evolved, so have the bars. Not only can you find a far superior beer and cocktail selection than in years past, but there’s now a curated and thoughtful selection of small plates — and large ones — for every palate and preference. While the dishes below are available during prime time, you can also make a happy-hour visit for quality dining at a significant discount. Here’s where to go right now—and when.
Tucked up on the second floor of a century-old building, Swift’s Attic has been a massive success since opening its doors. The key word here is atmosphere: Industry vet C.K. Chin harnessed his experience and created a space with a large bar area, tables for party-sized groups and a hip-hop soundtrack well suited for celebrations with coworkers or visiting friends. The extended weekday happy hour is fantastic for days off, staycations or tourists. It gives patrons a generous four and a half hours to partake in $6 cocktails and $5 wines, plus a bargain-priced selection of small-plate portions of the dinner appetizers and entrées.
The order: Braised Windy Hill goat shoulder with ricotta gnocchi ($8); Korean BBQ flank steak ($10); hot-water cornbread ($4).
When to visit: 2 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Swift’s Attic offers a four-and-a-half-hour happy hour. Photo: Natalie Paramore.