With its 20 turns, the famous Austin circuit is bound to offer you many exciting moments. The city should provide you with just as much adrenaline, with fantastic music and great food on the menu in Texas' capital city.
My own circuit
Stepping into Eberly, the spanking new restaurant on South Lamar, is tantamount to entering history. Indeed, its main attraction, a beautifully impressive cedar bar, used to throne at the Cedar Tavern in New York, until its closing in 2006. The 50-feet mahogany monument has « hosted » such American legends as Jack Kerouac, Jackson Pollock, and Bob Dylan. It is now part of a new restaurant that offers scrumptious American comfort food like burgers and fresh fish and chips, as well as a fine selection of cocktails. The cherry on the cake is their rooftop, overlooking downtown Austin.
If you think that Searsucker, the cool hangout on Colorado Street, may have something to do with the fabric of seersucker, you're right. Indeed, chef Brian Malarkey once complained he wouldn’t have the opportunity to wear his seersucker suit on opening day at the Del Mar Racetrack . "Wouldn't it be a great name for a restaurant?”, his wife asked. He then found out that because seersucker doesn't need ironing, it had been worn by working-class people in the 19th century, and that years later, young people from the upper class wore the fabric as an act of rebellion against their parents. He wants the restaurant to have the same coziness as a seersucker suit. Check out the Sunday champagne brunch, the new American Classics menu, and don't miss the DJ sets.
With a focus on organic, sustainable food sourced in the Texas vicinity, the chic Trace restaurant is one of the best addresses in town. Do not miss the traditionally made cheeses. On the way out, you'll be treated to a glass of Chandon!
More than 300 wines from all over the world are available at Cru, a bar that aims to take the snobbishness out of wine tasting. The atmosphere is laid-back, with Champagne Thursdays (50 percent off), and Pizza Mondays that are not to be missed!
Perhaps the coolest place to hang out in Austin right now is Rainey street, an incredibly charming street of historical bungalows that have been transformed into bars and restaurants. A perfect place to party after the races.
Barbecues are to Austin what baguettes are to Paris. Our best suggestions : La Barbecue, or Franklin's barbecue. But be forewarned : at the latter, you can wait on line for 4 hours.
Known for its lively music scene, especially the South by Southwest Festival in March, Austin harbors many treasure troves for hard-to-find vintage records. At the top of our list of must-visit spots are Waterloo Records and End of an Ear. Austin is is dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World”, with live performances happening all over the city. You mustn't leave town without checking one out at the Continental Club, a small, legendary venue where Led Zeppelin once performed. Pop lovers should rush to see Taylor Swift, who will perform a concert on COTA’s Super Stage on Saturday, October 22nd, after the Qualifying session of the F1. Fun Fun Fun Fest, an original underground punk and alternative music carnival including comedy, food, and poster art takes place in November. Don't skip it if you"re still in town.
The Bats on Lady Bird Lake
If they don’t scare you, go see the 1.5 million bats that are among Austin’s main attractions. Most of them sleep under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, swarming out at sunset. There’s even a Bat Fest in August, with live music against a backdrop of flying bats.
Barton Springs Pool
Between races, take a dip in Zilker Park's Barton Springs Pool, a deliciously warm, three-acre lake where Robert Redford reportedly learned to swim.
My own wardrobe
For your Austin Grand Prix wardrobe, get your inspiration from the city's infectious rock vibe. Just wear a good old concert t-shirt with shiny leather Louis Vuitton pants and matte silvery lace-up boots. Another daywear option is the Canadian brand-to-watch Vejas' black cropped zippered blouson with jeans.
To party at night, Christelle Kocher, a finalist of the LVMH prize this year with her Koché brand, has created a slightly draped knee-length skirt with a sequin effect. You can also go for a Lady Gaga-meets – Courtney Love look, with short, loose Marc Jacobs black flower-patterned dress, worn with striped tights and sky-high lace-up platform boots.
My own soundtrack
The soundtrack to the Austin event will undoubtedly be « 24K Magic », the new single by Bruno Mars, whose fun-filled Las Vegas music video has already attracted millions of viewers. Stay tuned for the hitmaker's new album, slated for November.