Today’s Groupon offers an upgrade from your biography audio books. For $25, you’ll hear legendary lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s candid confessions at The Long Center on Thursday, November 12; the Austin Chronicle’s Robert Faires will prompt the esteemed composer to reflect on his career, collaborations, and creative process during the 8 p.m. event.
Looking for a fresh turn in their respective careers, Joe and Dawn Taylor planted the first grapes at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in 2002. In 2007 they opened the winery, where they sell their wines and swap stories with visitors. Amid 10 acres of expansive grapevines, a timber-frame barn houses the winery and tasting room. While sipping Sleepy Creek's varietals, guests can browse the gift shop, peruse the upstairs art gallery, and sample local cheeses from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery and Ropp Jersey Cheese. Above the winery, bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations allow visitors to relax amid the countryside and eavesdrop on rumors spreading through the grapevines outside.
The staff members at Muldoon's attribute their success to the craic, a term that they say describes the atmosphere of fun and fellowship often found in a true Irish pub. That laid-back vibe has paid off: Muldoon's has been crowned Best Neighborhood Bar by CityVoter for four years running. Washed down with an extensive beer selection, the hearty food menu stocks such Irish classics as shepherd's pie, Irish beef-and-potato stew with Guinness broth, and hand-breaded fried-cod fish ‘n’ chips. Chefs also prepare more local favorites, such as a classic Midwest breaded tenderloin that, in accordance with tradition, looks kind of like Abraham Lincoln's profile if you squint. Meanwhile, guests can cozy up by the fireplace to listen to live music or admire the antique cash register at the bar.
Boredom is a foreign concept at Stacked Pickle. From its lengthy and eclectic menu to the games broadcasted on 92-inch projectors, the dynamic eatery provides something for every taste. Diners can bite into one of nine half-pound burgers, wrap their hands around spicy-chicken tacos, or build a castle with their golden-fried fish and chips, all while admiring professional athletes run, jump, and score on one of many 50-inch plasma TVs. On some nights, live bands storm the eatery’s intimate stage, providing a soundtrack to bargoers as they take swigs from a bottle of Blue Moon or gracefully sip a glass of wine. In the warmer seasons, Stacked Pickle opens its doors to nature and encourages patrons to enjoy their meals and drinks on the spacious outdoor patio.
It’s not uncommon to spot owners Steve and Amy Ward at Nippers Grill & Tap, greeting the regulars or cheering on a game of darts. The duo takes great pride in the neighborhood atmosphere of their cheerful pub, where friends meet to swap stories over pints of frosty beer and no one feels too intimidated to take the stage for at least one song during Friday and Saturday night karaoke. Boisterous carousers compete in friendly games of pool, pausing every now and again to root for a sports team or sniffle at a heartwarming allergy-medicine commercial playing on one of the numerous flat-screen TVs. Elsewhere, tables and chairs and a lengthy wood bar host mountains of nachos, plump wings, and crispy fried pickles. During warmer months, Nippers Grill & Tap hosts games of corn-hole on its outdoor patio.
The culinary wizards at Sidelines cook up hearty helpings of pub grub that patrons can discover on the extensive menu. Limber chomping muscles for a marathon meal with starters such as zesty battered and fried pub pickles ($5.79) or garbage fries, a savory mélange of bacon, tomatoes, and jalapenos lounging atop a bed of waffle fries and blanketed in melted mozzarella and cheddar cheeses ($7.59). The selection of five pizzas allows diners to indulge their craving for a disk without having to endure the gamey texture of a frisbee. Table visitors can also wrap tongues around the Porkzilla sandwich, staffed by grilled ham, slow-cooked pulled pork, and bacon ($8.99), or munch on the Knock-Out burger, a bunless wonder that packs the space between two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon and a half-pound steak burger patty ($9.79). Feel free to lubricate a parched palate by sipping one of the beers cascading from the Sidelines tap, such as Labatt, Killian's, and Blue Moon.