Over a two-fisted burger, I find myself staring into the winsome face of jazz songstress Kat Edmonson. She’s calmly watching me eat, while companions Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett look on. Normally I’d offer them a bite—especially Willie, because you know he’s likely got the munchies—but not this time. Two-dimensional images hunger for little more than admiration.
The walls of Hopdoddy Burger Bar are covered with the portraits of beloved local musicians. They make good company, and like the signed actor headshots that adorn many an L.A. diner, they speak to our pervasive culture. Austin doesn’t just pride itself on music—from sunup to sundown music permeates every nook and cranny of our lives.
“We all embrace the idea that music is such a staple here,” says W Austin Hotel’s Living Room Greeter Lani Thomison, who helped create the Spin/Spun music night (Tuesdays at 9:30pm) at W Austin Hotel, where the Records Room features more than 8,000 selections on vinyl. “The first thing I do when I get in to work each day is check local show listings, because guests ask on a nightly basis where they can go see some bands. It’s part of the Austin experience,” she says.
Indeed, Austin businesses can’t help but use our greatest local export to create a distinct atmosphere, and in many cases, the actual decor. Here are some of our favorite spots where you can have your basic needs met (hot coffee, cold beer, comfy bed) without having to miss a single beat.