When I first found out that my beloved Antone’s original sandwich shop was being thrown out into the cold by some new, hip restaurant, I was pretty bummed. This place was, after all, the original Antone’s sub shop, and was a nearly five decades long-standing staple for those in the museum district and West University areas for a mean po-boy. Then when we discovered the new, hip bully on the block was actually a concept restaurant birthed from owner of the neighbor next door, Benji’s, well, I was feeling far less Atomic-Wedgied by this presumed “bully”. I mean, how much of a meanie could this restaurant be if they were sort of right next door all along? Come opening week, my mama and I decided to just “walk by” and “check it out through the window”.
A few weeks back when we were in Houston visiting the fam, we ventured out looking for a place to grab a drink with friends. We wanted to try somewhere hip and new. Somewhere with some good bar snacks. Somewhere that has a great cocktail and some interesting beers on tap. Somewhere with an industrial, hip vibe. What bar in Houston encompasses all these qualities and more? Mongoose versus Cobra, of course!
A hop, skip, and a jump away from the UT Austin campus, overlooking Hemphill Park, there sits a pretty little coffee shop on Fruth Street named Spider House. I used to go to Spider House all the time back in the day when I lived in Austin 10 years ago, and, after a more recent visit, I can safely say it is the same Austin-y, quirky little neighborhood coffee shop-meets outdoor beer and wine garden I once loved. Inside, there are well-worn board games and books for entertainment, as well as random religious icons and candles, and funky 70’s chandeliers and string lights everywhere. At night, the Christmas lights cast off a warm glow that beckons you from streets away to come in. In the daytime, the outdoor garden is blooming with the kind of antique, rusted patio furniture that you would find in a really hip grandma’s backyard.
Speaking of grandma chic, the Spider House itself is close to 100 years old, built in the 1920’s and only cooler with age. Perched in the antique patio furniture garden you will find hipsters, students, hippies, and everyone in between enjoying the live music while sipping their drip coffee, which is actually really good…The kind of drip coffee that sends mini shockwaves of vigor (or caffeine) straight to your brain. The food, as I recall, is pretty good too. There was a sandwich I got last time with peanut butter and honey that I highly recommend with an espresso. My personal favorite thing to do at Spider House was to order a jug of icy sangria, which was complete with a bountiful smorgasbord of ripe fruits, and lounge in the afternoon sun listening to surprisingly pleasant live music. They also do fun, artsy, and FREE film screenings some nights, and for those of you who have an inner poet, they do Slam poetry nights too. All very Austin, which, if you are looking for the perfect place to experience that Austin vibe one night, Spider House is a must. It’s offbeat and beautiful, and will always hold some of my fondest Austin memories in its walls.
*photos courtesy of yelpers Spartacus S. and Conrad B.
So in spirit of my idea on having special “theme” days each week, I thought it might be neat to do a Happy Humpday Hour on Wednesdays, in which I review all the snazzy bars, restaurants, and café’s I can manage, preferably minus the beer belly/ food baby side effects. I’ll try my best to find all the hip places with some great happy hour specials, but happy hour specials or not, I’ll definitely find great spots to chill out at when you’re trying to get through the work week hump. I’m thinking I’ll post sometime before you would go out after work, like around 4 or 4:30 (CST). Oh, and I will try my best not to stick to one specific city, but since I DO live in Dallas, be prepared for more Dallas reviews than anything else (yay for my Dallas fans!). That being said, I DID just return from a hazy, fun-filled, foodie-gasmic adventure in NOLA so I’m going to kick off my first review with a bar we went to that really impressed me for it’s very jazzy, hip ambience, and of course, food. Continue reading