Though big cities tend to offer a lot of activities for residents, the sheer volume of options can sometimes make it overwhelming to find something fitting. For residents of Austin, the Austin Clan of Everything Social (ACES) makes it easy to find a good time no matter your speed, with social leagues at watering holes and bowling alleys throughout town. On any given night, participants might gather to blow away their highest ping-pong score or grab a mic during a karaoke battle to show off their high note that only dogs can hear. Over the course of a season, members make new friends, bolstering the ACES community while battling for glory with their teammates.
The Penalty Box Sports Bar and Grill rewards rabid sports fans and their hungry companions with platefuls of familiar fried favorites alongside a nightly roster of festivities. Pre-game first pitches or State of the Union addresses with a basket of mild, hot, or raspberry chipotle wings ($10.79) and fried pickles ($5.29), before the main event: a half-pound all-beef burger ($6.99) with meat toppers such as avocado, bacon, and swiss cheese ($.50 each). Warm the bench with a crispy chicken-fried steak ($9.49) or a fried-shrimp basket ($8.49), both served up with Texas toast, a house salad, and fries. Monday-night munchers can storm the stage with a mouthful of potatoes on karaoke night, and Tuesday’s Texas hold 'em poker pleases card sharks and pathological liars. Live music on Saturday night and trivia on Wednesdays, plus weekly horseshoes contests and beer-pong tournaments, entertain during commercial breaks on the eatery’s sports-tuned flat-screen TVs.
Small rows of café tables line the walls of Zaytouna Lounge as well as an outdoor patio with more breezy seating. Servers carry in pots of piping-hot mint and jasmine teas, pouring them into colorful glasses laid out on silver trays. Wafts of sweet hookah smoke drift through the air as players toss balls on the gravel bocce court.
Bringing together hypnotic mouth pleasers from two sides of the globe, 360 Cafe crafts a menu loaded with Vietnamese and Cajun favorites. Fill toothed caverns with the popular seasonal boiled crawfish (market price) or the classically Cajun catfish basket, with two slivers of lightly battered pisces served with fries ($8.99), and surf Internet waves on the complimentary WiFi. Vermicelli noodles tangle thrillingly with grilled pork accompanied by egg rolls ($6.49), and the vietnamese ham sandwich ($3.25) escorts tongues on a tour of southern Asia’s scenic pork mountains. Beverages such as the Vietnamese iced coffee ($3.50) or an avocado smoothie ($3.75) quench postmeal thirsts and hydrate throats parched from beat-boxing along to 360 Cafe's weekend karaoke sessions.
For all his implied promiscuity, Mister Tramps stocks an impressive menu of gold-medal pub fare. Work your way up to a flavor overdose by getting tipsy off of the drunken fries ($5.99), an intoxicating concoction of crispy fries smothered in queso sauce and jalapeños. For a more sober starter, saddle up a garden horse of mixed greens, goat cheese, pecans, pears, and mushroom crostini with the heart-hearty goat cheese salad ($6.99). Mister Tramps' pizzas are hand-rolled with homemade dough and come in flavorful scents such as the vagabond ($9.99), a sultry mix of leeks, bacon, goat cheese, and basil-pesto sauce. With the BYOP option, DIY diners get to create their own pizza from a multitude of topping choices ($7.99 for one topping, each additional pie-packer is $1). And if there's a European club football game on any of the bar's seemingly infinite flat-screen TVs and you forgot your scarf at home, beef up on some team pride with the smokey Denmark sausages ($6.99), which include your choice of kielbasa, jalapeño kielbasa, or bratwurst with kraut and Dijon mustard.
Comedy originated in 1974, when Benny Goodwin stood in front of a crowd, lost control of a complex, six-minute body odor pun, and spontaneously combusted. Today's Groupon lets you watch comics risk life and limb at Austin's coliseum of stand-up comedy, Cap City Comedy Club. For $32, you get 10 pairs of tickets to Cap City Comedy's regular touring headliners (a $65 value). These tickets are good for the Wednesday through Friday 8 p.m. acts as well as the Friday and Saturday 10:30 p.m. shows. This deal does not apply to the special events or the Saturday 8:00 p.m. performance. Reservations are required.
Cap City, now in its 25th year, hosts scruffy local talent as well as traveling bards and harlequins of humor. Serious about being weird, Cap City also conducts certified defensive driving courses, regularly feuds with a neighboring church over who's louder and bawdier, and seats almost all of its guests at long, cafeteria-style tables beneath '80s-era décor that recalls a more innocent teenage era.
Upcoming acts include perpetually frostbitten Minnesotan Chad Daniels, who strode across Conan O'Brien's stage, and the man named by a Rubik's cube, Myq Kaplan, champion of the New York Comedy Contest. Comedians are encouraged to interact with the audience, and, if the need arises, to administer vaccinations.
Since you must purchase two food or beverage items during the show, Cap City serves up its own remixes of traditional bar food, like egg rolls with chicken, mozzarella, jalapenos, red chili, black beans, and spinach ($8.95) and the fatso sampler, with fried pickles, parmesany mushrooms, and cheese sticks ($13.95). You can also get an alcoholic snow cone ($8.00).
Cap City's shows are a perfect alternative to the standard dinner and movie woo blitz, and with a professional comedian on stage, you won't have to struggle and strive to belt out your own charming jokes. Not to mention that laughter, as has been well documented, can improve your overall health and diffuse the stress that keeps you from reaching 6'4''.
Two Citysearchers give Cap City Comedy Club a perfect five stars, and Yelpers give it 3.5:
- I would suggest Cap City for anyone looking to do something different than the standard dinner and a movie, and laughter is definitely the best medicine! We will be back soon. :) – discomelly2, Citysearch
- I've been to Cap City a dozen times over the years, and seen a variety of shows both local and touring, and I've enjoyed each one. Some more than others of course, but always had a good time, had a bite to eat, a drink or two and some laughs. – Steve B., Yelp
- Great core workout laughing for 2 hrs. You really can't dis a place that can get you laughing after a hard day. It's better that [sic] drugs......and slightly cheaper. – Keri B., Yelp
European cuisine and kosher-style deli fare harmoniously mingle on Meltzer Uptown Pub's eclectic menu, crafted by experienced restaurateur Brad Meltzer. The Meltzer's Combo ($10–$17; also available kosher-style) buoys half a corned-beef sandwich with fluffy challah before smothering it in provolone and mustard; its missing twin is replaced by a sizzling pastrami on toasty rye swathed in swiss cheese and russian dressing. The seared ahi tuna ($15) is slathered in scorching Far East sauce and flanked by sautéed cabbage and pan-fried rice, and a 10-ounce serving of chicken-fried New York strip steak ($15) smolders beside a bed of mashed potatoes topped with cream gravy and miniature pillows.