We categorize most coffee shops as appropriate for a specific purpose, at a specific time of day: late night chill hangout with friends, outlets-galore study spot.
But I long ago discovered a local staple that is all things to all people. Located in the Warehouse District of downtown Austin, Halcyon manages to wear a typically chaotic persona with magnetic flair.
Truth be told, calling Halcyon a coffee shop is simplistically irreverent. With a full bar and memorable food selections, Halcyon can satisfy any craving you might have. Throw in a well-stocked humidor, and this shop’s infamous mantra fits perfectly:
Date Spot Day or Night
I’ve treated myself to a refreshing iced coffee drink at Halcyon during the middle of a summer day. I enjoyed lounging between pillows on a comfortable bench seat, making small talk with my significant other and whiling away the time.
The atmosphere is perfect for a date no matter the time of day. Halcyon has a wrap-around outdoor patio with bar and table seating options. But even though this spot has its ultra-busy times, there’s never been a time when I wanted an indoor table and wasn’t able to find one after a short wait.
Maybe its just the alliteration, but I think dessert and dates go together perfectly. I’ve tried the 4 Layer Chocolate Ganache and the Turtle Cheesecake, and they were both absolutely decadent and perfect. Pair with espresso, and the energizer bunny won’t have anything on you.
If you want to meet friends downtown, Halcyon fits. The ambiance isn’t so overly romantic that friend hang-outs are uncomfortable. Actually, Halcyon is well known for its make-your-own s’mores, served with a live flame for two or four people.
Turn your visit into an experience to remember, but note that s’mores must be served at an indoor table – not on the patio or at the bar. For this reason, plan ahead for typically busy weekend nights or special events downtown that increase the people-flow.
If it’s guy night, take advantage of Halcyon’s walk-in humidor, stocked with cigars, specialty cigarettes and domestics.
No matter whether you’re getting off work late or you need a break from the traditional bar scene, Halcyon is a refreshing change of pace. There is a full bar and specialty cocktails if that’s what you want, but you’re not pegged into that hole.
Halcyon also has live music every Monday night. Violinist Roberto Riggio founded this open mic event over a year and a half ago, calling it World Music Jam. Riggio bills the genre as global jazz, and KUT quoted him saying that World Music Jam is “a chance for Austin-based musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds to explore how music traditions from all over the world collide and overlap.”
You can enjoy World Music Jam from 10 PM-1 AM every Monday, and there’s no charge for the event.
Meal Options All Day
Apart from the alcohol, coffee and desserts, Halcyon offers a respectable food menu. In the morning, choose from a breakfast panini, yogurt parfait, quiche, or oatmeal adorned with honey, raisins and toasted walnuts. If you’re really feeling adventurous, grilled peanut butter and jelly is also on the menu.
For lunch or dinner, Halcyon has eight different panini styles, as well as wraps and salads. Appetizers like spinach artichoke dip, flatbread pizza and a cheese plate from Hyde Park-based Antonelli’s Cheese Shop are also available.
The best part is that you can eat breakfast at 10 PM and an appetizer at 8 AM. Breakfast items and appetizers are available all day and night, pending availability.
Planning Your Visit
Halcyon is located at the corner of 4th Street and Lavaca, at 218 W. 4th Street.
Hours of operation are generous and accommodating, though they change slightly throughout the week:
- 7 AM-2 AM, Monday through Thursday
- 7 AM-3 AM, Friday
- 8 AM-3 AM, Saturday
- 8 AM-2 AM, Sunday
If you’re in the San Antonio area, check out Halcyon’s new second location at 1414 S. Alamo St. #101.
I love having a consistent go-to that fits every scenario and never disappoints. I’m raising a glass to Halcyon’s success, expansion, and many years to come.
When do you prefer to visit Halcyon?
Cover photo via Flickr CC, by David Ingram. First outdoor shot via Flickr CC, by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid. S’mores photo via Flickr CC, by Matt Hannon.
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