Emmer & Rye
SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St., Rainey
Emmer & Rye is an unusual, heavy-on-heritage-grains concept we cannot get enough of. New American cuisine is served dim sum–style, which translates to best-of-the-farmers’-market small bites that come around on a cart as you work through your mains. Chef Kevin Fink cut his teeth at Copenhagen’s Noma, which is reason enough to come here, and the resolutely seasonal, farmers’ haul influence is apparent on every plate. Menu standouts include a peppery-to-the-point-of-spicy (we’re not complaining) cacio e pepe with heritage Blue Beard durum wheat pasta, and a buttery Carolina Gold rice pudding.
No Va (Closed)
87 Rainey St., Rainey
On an otherwise historic stretch of Rainey Street, dotted with craftsman style watering holes, No Va is an eye-catching, modernist addition to the neighborhood with its two-story dining room and second-floor patio. Chef Abby Yates' menu includes Texas peaches served with agave and guajillo salt and the Dodd burger topped with caramelized onion jam. One of the more southern dishes on offer is the cheddar mac 'n' cheese—fresh roasted jalapenos optional, but encouraged.
Hotel Van Zandt
605 Davis St., Rainey
Part of the appeal of Hotel Van Zandt is its location in Rainey Street Historic District, and close proximity to the Austin-specific, easy-going, bungalow-turned-bars there. The Kimpton hotel has 300-plus guest rooms, decorated in the brand's signature smart style, and a handful of fabulous suites, which have views of downtown, Rainey Street, or Lady Bird Lake. Van Zandt's chic pool and deck also overlook Lady Bird.
The Blackheart (Closed)
86 Rainey St., Rainey
The Blackheart Bar is in an 1889 Victorian house on Rainey Street. The backyard area, which is decorated in strings of light, is a popular hangout spot—locals perch on the large picnic tables and even bring their dogs along. The bar is dominated by a large selection of whiskey, but the Moscow Mule is also well-loved, as is the near-nightly live music. You can sometimes see two bands in a night—one inside, one outside—which is a lot for a tiny bar, but draws a very fun dancing crowd.
77 Rainey St., Rainey
The back patio at Lucille’s is outfitted in twinkling lights—which makes it totally magical. Also on the patio: They’ve converted a former garage into a second bar, where people perch at the open windows. The interior is designed to be reminiscent of the 1920’s without trying too hard; the menu is expertly curated and highlights local, handcrafted liquor (and beer).
90 Rainey St., Rainey
This vibrant concept space is best known for its’ bold architecture, which features a dance floor inside of stacked shipping containers. If you need a break from the—sometimes overheated—dance floor, there’s always an airy outdoor portion that overlooks the party (which is great for conversations). The founder, local entrepreneur Bridget Dunlap, is largely credited with reinvigorating the street.