Top 5 Geek Spots in Austin

This guest blog article is by Mia Moore.

In a city famous for its “Keep Austin Weird” motto, it should come as no surprise that there are a multitude of places to get your geek on. From comic book shops to arcades, Austin has venues to celebrate every genre of geek. Below, you’ll find my picks for top 5 geek spots in Austin.

Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy

Dragon's Lair Comics and Fantasy
Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy

Tabletop games, miniatures, and comic books – Dragon’s Lair has a huge selection and storefront to match. In addition to traditional geekery, Dragon’s Lair also carries toys, vinyl figures, and even cosplay goods like Worbla and professional costume makeup. Dragon’s Lair also works with the local cosplay community, so you may spot a few of your favorite [Read more...]

Winebelly: Tapas Wine Bar with Surprising Influences

Winbelly Interior
Welcoming interior at Winebelly

This guest blog article is by Erin May.

Winebelly is true to its name. It invites the purple-tongued, the cheek-flushed, the loud-laughers, and you are unlikely to leave without a satisfied stomach.

A comfortable wine bar on Oltorf and South 1st St, Winebelly’s dark paneled bartop wood and golden booths invite guests to relax. At the same time, the venue maintains the class and food quality demanded of any successful wine joint.

The tapas bar was opened in 2013 by the same family who owns the Hai Ky Vietnamese restaurants in Austin. The Winebelly tapas and vino bar is vastly different from the Vietnamese go-to, but its local Austin roots are unmistakable.

Local ingredients are used in many of their plates and local beer, including the potent Devil’s Backbone, is served on tap and in bottles or cans at decent prices. [Read more...]

Guzu Gallery Reflects Growth of Austin Geek Culture

Gallery Opening Guzu Gallery in Austin
Visitors flock to a Guzu Gallery opening

Over the past few years, Austin has developed a reputation for pop culture screen prints. It’s become part of Austin geek culture.

Austin Books is a time-tested expression of that culture. The store has been around for as long as I can remember, and just keeps getting bigger.

Recently, the business expanded with a couple of extra arms, through Outlaw Moon Games & Toys and Guzu Gallery.

Guzu Gallery is an art gallery and retail store that exists “to give fans an opportunity to view and purchase lowbrow artwork, including limited edition vinyl toys, art books, prints and original artwork showcased in the gallery,” explains Gallery Director Vince Torres. [Read more...]

Rock Opera Gives Austinites New Perspective on Live Music

The Who's Tommy at Zach Theatre in Austin
Credit: Zach Theatre by Kirk Tuck

Austin is a music city. But do you want to know its best kept secret? The theater.

Yes, we live in “The Live Music Capital of the World,” but many only include traditional concerts in this category. I want to open your eyes to the amazing artists and musicians in local theater.

The best time to start your exploration into Austin’s theater world? Now. At Zach Theatre. With The Who’s TOMMY.

I’m guessing you’re not quite seeing what I’m seeing. So let me [Read more...]

Find Serenity and Peacocks at Mayfield Park

Cottage at Mayfield Park
Cottage at Mayfield Park

This guest blog article is by Kelli McDonald.

eeeeYAH eeeYAH eeeeYAH! That’s the best way I can describe the peacock chorus greeting I received when I walked into Mayfield Park. This gorgeous estate located in West Austin features these beautiful birds, trail systems, gardens, and a historical home.

Purchased in 1909 by Texas Secretary of State and Texas Railroad Commission chairman Allison Mayfield, the property was meant to be a summer getaway home for his family. In 1922, Mayfield’s daughter, Mary, and her husband, Dr. Milton Gutsch, moved into the home and set beautiful changes into motion. [Read more...]

Harris Blades Keeps Austin Sharp

Guy Harris of Harris Knives
Guy Harris has been a bladesmith for 24 years (Credit: David Thomas)

What do you do with an obsession? Do you embrace it? That’s what I did with motorcycles and that’s what Guy Harris did with knives.

From Obsession to Business

It was around 1990 that Harris bought a book entitled The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection, by Jim Hrisoulas. That was the beginning of his quest to learn everything he could about the art of knife making.

In 1995, he received a phone call from a buddy. This friend wanted Harris to help him build a forge and, in the process, convinced Harris to build one of his own. As things sometimes work out, his buddy never finished his forge, but Harris completed his own.

Fast forward to 2004. Guy Harris decides to go all in and opens the doors to Harris Blades.  Over the past 10 years, he’s been happily perfecting the art of bladesmithing in the greater Austin area. [Read more...]

Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza Is Worth the Wait in Hill Country

Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza
Inside the barn at Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza (Credit: Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza)

Pizza and craft beer – you can’t really have a bad day when those two are involved. Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza serves up some of the best woodfired pies in the Austin area, out in the Hill Country on Ceres Park Ranch right next door to Jester King Brewery.

With plenty of open space, shaded picnic tables and a variety of fresh ingredients to choose from, you won’t regret making the trip out to this place.

Stanley’s environment is farmlike, set in a large, rustic barn surrounded by a generous amount of land, with a few bulls roaming in the distance. The restaurant was actually named after [Read more...]

Improv Instructor Kacey Samiee Teaches Acting Set to Song

Kacey Samiee Hideout Theatre
Kacey Samiee, musical improv master at Hideout Theatre

This guest article is by Debbie Stanley.

If you think you couldn’t possibly write song lyrics off the top of your head, in front of a live audience, and sing them too, well…yes, you could. And Kacey Samiee would love to teach you how.

Samiee teaches musical improvisation – improv for short – at the Hideout Theatre on Congress south of 7th. The Hideout is both a performance venue and school where improvisers of all ages learn to invent and act out stories without scripts, often based on suggestions called out by the audience during live shows, and reading each other’s cues in the moment. Performers work together to build narratives, develop fictional relationships, and, in Samiee’s classes, set it all to music. [Read more...]

Battle of the Brunches Round 4: Magnolia Cafe

Magnolia Cafe Sign
Magnolia Cafe has two locations: one off South Congress and the original on Lake Austin Blvd.

I knew when I started the Battle of the Brunches series that there was one place I had to include just for me, no matter how many shiny new brunch spots sprouted up in Austin or how many recommendations I received.

Long-Term Love

Magnolia Cafe has been a longtime favorite of yours truly (along with most Austinites) for as long as I can remember. There’s just something about the tacky tables, flying dinosaur, Mag Mud and hibiscus mint tea that I just cannot get enough of.

As a teenager, queso at 3 AM seemed rebellious, and in college I constantly dragged my boyfriend and our friends to the vegetarian-friendly joint for the meatless Reuben.

Even now, as a sleeping, meat-eating adult, Magnolia is still on the top of the list of my favorite places to go. [Read more...]

Deep Eddy Cabaret Changes Hands, Stays the Same

Deep Eddy Cabaret Austin TX
Deep Eddy Cabaret has been located on Lake Austin Blvd. for over 50 years

This guest article is by Lisa Taylor.

Psychiatrists have told us for years that change is one of the biggest stressors in our daily lives. There have been books written on how to cope with it. Seminars are done for corporations to help ease the fear that is usually associated with it. And most people just aren’t really comfortable with change.

As a long time Austinite, change has been something I’ve had to embrace over the years because as they say, “You can’t stop progress”.

I’ve watched from the sidelines as some of the most beloved restaurants and music venues in our fair city have closed their doors. Pearl’s Oyster Bar, Liberty Lunch, and Steamboat are a few that come to mind. And when it happens, you take a moment to remember the good times, but just a moment, because the next week there is a new sign and a new place where memories will be made.

In light of this constant change, it’s always nice to find a place where it seems as if nothing ever changes. This is exactly what you’ll find at Deep Eddy Cabaret. [Read more...]

The Scarlet Rabbit’s Cuisine Drops You Down the Rabbit Hole

The Scarlet Rabbit in Round Rock, TX
The Scarlet Rabbit in Round Rock, TX features Alice in Wonderland decor

Chef Rob Snow breezes out from behind a curtain just as you might imagine the Cheshire Cat to appear, billowy in the night sky. And with that, I began my journey down the rabbit hole at The Scarlet Rabbit.

This fresh faced restaurant concept features cowboy cuisine using the flavors of Texas and the Gulf Coast, complimented by a Cajun flair.

Sound like a mouthful? Wait, there’s more. Rob and his business partner, Rich Taylor, methodically pair southern style comfort food with an Alice in Wonderland themed bistro. The result is sophisticated plates with whimsical finesse and imagination. [Read more...]

Find BBQ Nirvana at La Barbecue in Austin, Texas

La Barbecue Austin, TX
There is nothing short about this beef (Credit: Edgar Barguiarena)

There is a moment. A moment when you’re utterly certain you’re trying what could possibly be the best version of your favorite food group. A moment you take in as you stare down at a heaping brontosaurus beef rib sitting on a tray.

You know you couldn’t possibly balance the tray with one hand, for fear you might spill your prize, as everyone who has been standing in line for over an hour looks on.

La Barbecue has been smoking meat in Austin for over two years in two different locations. They are ready to [Read more...]

Elisabet Ney Museum: Meet a Woman Ahead of Her Time

Elizabet Ney Museum
The Elisabet Ney Museum in Hyde Park

This guest blog article is by J. Alan Nelson.

You don’t know it, but you know Elisabet Ney.

Her sculptures are part of your mental landscape. She’s credited by many for making Austin the Austin it is today – a center of culture. For anyone interested in the arts or Texas history, visiting the quiet little museum in the midst of a wildlife habitat at 304 E 44th Street in Hyde Park is a must.

Elizabet Ney Self Portrait
Elisabet Ney self portrait

In the Austin of the 1880s, German sculptor Elisabet Ney insisted she be treated as an individual. The daughter of a stonemason, she won over misogynists and pushed herself to the highest power circles in Europe and United States. She always had short hair, which was extremely unusual for the times. She wore comfortable clothes, refusing corsets. She never took her husband’s name. [Read more...]

Bufalina Marks One Year of Pizza Perfection

Bufalina Owner Steven Dilley
With Owner Steven Dilley at Bufalina

Those who know me, know that I’m a pizza fanatic. My infatuation with this amazingly simple dish began at a young age, which was easy with Italian immigrant parents who owned a pizza shop. You could say it’s in my blood.

So when I met someone equally enthusiastic about pizza, I may have shed a tear. When talking with Bufalina owner Steven Dilley, his passion for cooking is very apparent. With every return visit, I continue to be be amazed.

Some might place Bufalina in the up and coming category of Austin restaurants. But with its atmosphere, service and pizza combinations, I think it has made it to the big leagues.

Now, don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t tried Bufalina yet. But do yourself a favor and go eat there. Immediately. [Read more...]

Kids Learn Video Game Development at Game Worlds

Game Worlds Video Game Camp for Kids in Austin
Lab time at Game Worlds (Credit: Alicia Andrew)

When I was a kid, video games like Nintendo and Atari were thought of as time wasters and brain drainers. Since then, they have developed into amazing pieces of creative art.

What hasn’t changed are parents wanting their kids to do something in the summer besides playing video games.

If a compromise can’t be made, or you want to focus your child’s interest towards something productive, I recommend Game Worlds. [Read more...]