Siblings Catelyn Silapachai and Clif Claycomb of The Distillery—a new eCommerce site specializing in vintage, handmade, and specialty goods—are sharing their favorite Austin spots with us today. I can't say enough good things about this duo, who were inspired to open their shop last year as a counter to the mass-produced and inauthentic retail experience that has become "all too familiar" (more thoughts on that here). Catelyn and Clif regularly scour the marketplace and local and national flea markets and estate sales for unique finds with high quality craftsmanship, whether they're on a two week trip to Thailand or a four day adventure at Round Top, TX adventure. Much more on the latter experience, plus many more Austin gems after the jump!
If I had just two hours to spend in Austin with a friend, what would you recommend we do?
Hike up Mt. Bonnell for the beautiful view or to one of the local watering holes depending on the weather. Stop by a food truck or two for a snack. Driving by the Capitol is also classic.
Can you share a few of your favorite brick and mortar shops in Austin?
Catelyn: I'd have to say Mockingbird Domestic, a shop that carries beautiful modern and classic furniture and accessories. Clif: Waterloo Records on Lamar and Service Menswear on South Congress.
What's the last thing you bought there?
Clif: A big stack of electronic, jazz, and hip hop records from Waterloo Records; shorts from Service Menswear.
What's your favorite outdoor market?
Round Top is a biennial antique show in Round Top, Texas, which is about 70 miles west of Austin. We just got back from exploring the October show (Oct 1-4), and the size and scope of it is absolutely insane. People come from all over the world to buy and sell antiques there. We love to source for our shop, but we also love to explore the museum-quality antiques. You can find anything you’re interested in, from a $5 thrifting experience to a $200,000 pistol from 16th-century England (something we actually saw at the last show).
Can you share one Austin spot that even the locals might not know about?
Tillery Park is our current favorite under-the-radar place. It’s a beautiful greenhouse and art gallery/music venue. Hardly anyone’s heard of it yet, but I’m sure that’s about to change. Just down the street there’s this really magical highway bridge with swings suspended underneath. It has such a strange, ethereal quality.
What's the most impressive thing about Austin?
It's been the fastest growing city in the US for several years in a row now. Thousands of people are moving to Austin every month. This creates lots of opportunity and but also chaos for residents!
Clif has seen the following animals, on leashes as pets, at Home Depot: dogs, cats, birds, a miniature horse, a goat, and sheep.
The most surprising?
Nudity is allowed at local watering holes. The ones you hike to, at least.
Where do you usually recommend visitors stay?
Hotel San Jose, or rent a house on AirBnB.
Where do you grab a drink before dinner?
Lately, we're loving Winebelly for a drink before dinner spot, or sometimes, a drink that turns into dinner, as their tapas are delicious. We both spent a year in Madrid in college, so we have a major soft spot for Spanish food and wine. Winebelly has a quirky, dark vibe inside and a big porch area out back. Violet Crown is great for a quick drink on the East Side, but it’s also close enough to downtown that you could walk over. The owner is great and Via313 pizza is right outside; great for sharing. Easy Tiger is a cool “underground” spot on the edge of downtown, where you can lose the city for a minute. It’s a fun spot that’s always got a good energy and drinks often turn into dinner. And more drinks.
Best dinner spot?
We have a long list of favorites—it's nearly impossible to narrow it down. To name a few at the top of that list: Barlata, Olive & June, Justine’s, Pleasant Storage Room, Hillside Farmacy, G'Raj Mahal, Bufalina, La Condesa, and Odd Duck. We like Matt’s El Rancho for Tex Mex. Great laid back vibe, good margaritas.
Where do you grab a great cup of coffee? Do you have a go-to breakfast joint?
We don’t go out to breakfast very often, but a special-occasion brunch would definitely have to take place at Perla's on South Congress. Blue Dahlia's breakfast is simple and delicious if you’re looking on the East Side. We love working from coffee shops: Cenote, The Brew & Brew, Buzz Mill, Houndstooth, and Caffe Medici are a few of our favorites.
Austin has such a rich music scene. Do you have a favorite venue?
We haven’t been great about planning ahead. Most of the live music we see is spontaneous from bars or clubs. Elephant Room is great if you want to hear some jazz Downtown, perfect for a date night. East 6th Street has several bars and clubs where you can almost always expect to find something live. Otherwise, we are big movie fans. We do that more often than music. There are plenty of great theaters in Austin: Violet Crown Cinema (different than the bar), Alamo Drafthouse, and there is a drive-in here too that’s a lot of fun.
The Blanton Museum of Art.
What's the most touristy but "worth it" thing to do in Austin?
A drink at the historic Driskill Hotel bar; coffee overlooking Lake Austin at Mozart's Coffee Roasters; dinner at Fonda San Miguel; a tour of the capitol building: jogging around Lady Bird Lake; an afternoon on South Congress.
Touristy and overrated?
Going out on the touristy, college-bar parts of East 6th
Boots from Allens on South Congress, a tie dye Keep Austin Weird shirt.
Turn on the radio. What station are you listening to and what song is playing?
Austin radio is half Spanish, half bad 90’s music. So, you really can’t go wrong.
If you had to leave tomorrow, what would you miss the most?
Our friends and the laid back lifestyle. All the outdoor options at your fingertips.
It's Sunday, 3pm, and beautiful outside. This is where you want to be:
Kayaking Lady Bird Lake or hiking with our dogs. We also love exploring the small towns around Austin and touring vineyards. There are a handful of really interesting old German towns that have become a bit touristy in recent years, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You can rent an updated 1850s limestone German cabin very affordably, tour the local vineyards, and of course go antiquing. If you only have the chance to explore one, visit Fredericksburg. It’s about 80 miles out west of Austin. We love Becker Vineyards and Grape Creek for wine tasting and Vaudeville and Otto’s for brunch or dinner.