Between the UT Austin campus and the neighborhood known as West Campus lies “The Drag” — a stretch of Guadalupe Street running from Martin Luther King Blvd to 29th St. It has long been a popular retail destination boasting funky clothes shops, hip furniture stores, and plenty of places to eat and drink. Although most patrons of the area are college students and faculty, the area is worth visiting! The street changes often, just like the rest of Austin. Here are some of our current picks for the Best of The Drag.
Serving the UT and Austin communities since the late ‘70s, the Cactus Cafe is a mainstay. In fact, when a shutdown was announced in 2010, tens of thousands of people protested. Saved by grassroots efforts and the intervention of KUT, the Cactus is now better than ever.
Live music and open mic nights are the main entertainment at this all-ages venue. Plus, KUT hosts Views & Brews twice a month. Have a drink and listen to talks on topics from jazz to artificial intelligence to cowboy poetry. It’s all part of the vibe here on The Drag in Austin.
Since 1926, Dirty Martin’s (aka Martin’s Kum-Bak) has been serving excellent burgers, sandwiches, and milkshakes in the same location on the Drag. It’s still family-owned, and it’s one of the oldest restaurants in Austin (and definitely the oldest on The Drag!).
So what’s changed in the past ~100 years? To start with, the eponymous dirt floor has been replaced with concrete. And they brought in liquor, so you can get a beer or add a shot to that milkshake.
Plus, they now host plenty of events. From NBA, NFL, and college football watch parties to live music to Classic Car Nights, there’s enough to do here that you’ll want to kum-bak.
Opened by a pair of Brooklyn-born brothers back in 2012, Halal Bros.’ mission is to bring halal food to the Austin culinary world. (“Halal” refers to food that is permissible under Islam, which prohibits certain animals and cuts of meat.)
You’ll find tender marinated beef, lamb, and chicken served as kebabs, shawarma, and gyros. Plus, plenty of falafel and hummus for your vegetarian friends!
Hole in The Wall
The Hole in the Wall has been home both pro and amateur musicians on The Drag since 1974. (This author’s high school pop-punk band even graced their stage in 2002.) They’ve had to fight to survive in the rapidly changing Austin climate. But this Austin icon is still kicking and playing live music most nights.
Where: 2538 Guadalupe St
Kerbey Lane Cafe
Since opening in 1980, Kerbey Lane has expanded to 8 locations and become an Austin icon. Their location on The Drag is the domain of all-day study sessions and late night unwinding. While they serve sandwiches, burgers, and tacos, the highlight is 24-hour breakfast.
How about the Eggs Francisco? It’s an English muffin topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, and avocado, then smothered in delicious queso.
Where: 2606 Guadalupe St
Phone: (512) 477-5717