People have been asking me, “Kelly, what’s the best new place you’ve been to? What’s your favorite restaurant right now?” For the most part, I frantically try and think through all the places I’ve been in the last month so that I have an answer! However, I now have a great answer: The coolest place I’ve been in the past month by far is The Yard.
The Yard is a new mixed-use development centrally located in South Austin beside the historic Missouri Pacific rail yard.
Located in a revitalized warehouse district, The Yard is transforming the area into a supportive community of local businesses.
Each business was selected because of a shared mission. Whether an urban winery or a recording studio, everyone at The Yard is committed to their craft and preserving the Austin culture we all know and love.
Opening in late 2016, The Yard is a 150,000 square foot complex capable of offering both manufacturing and retail space to create, collaborate and engage. Once completed the site will be home to a diverse mix of businesses including The Austin Winery, Drophouse Design, Vuka, Impact Hub Austin, Music Lab, Still Austin Distillery, SUP ATX, The Spokesman Coffee Bar, St. Elmo Brewing Co., Soursop, Gravitron, Granite Recyclers of Austin, wakaNINE, Raw Paw, Wake Up, Enabler, Sauceda Industries, food trucks, festivals and more.
I discovered The Yard after Brian and I went on a tour of Still Austin Whiskey Co. They’re the only distillery in Austin that is creating whiskey from start to finish. For $12 ($10.80 if you’re a member of the military), you can take a 30 minute guided tour of the distillery. Our tour guide was super knowledgeable and, to be honest, for a subject I’m not very interested in, I was totally engaged and learned a lot! At the end of your tour, you get to taste all three of the whiskeys they’re currently making and sample an old fashioned made with their signature New Make Whiskey. After your tour and tasting, you get 10% off any purchase you make. I was very impressed – definitely worth your $12.
When we were checking out (of course, we had to buy a bottle of their Daydreamer Whiskey, infused with valencia, tangelo & bergamot citrus), we heard the bartender say something about a coffee place that was roasting their own beans down the street. Someone sitting at the bar told Brian and I to definitely visit the coffee shop – it was awesome. Then they went on to say they’d also visited the St. Elmo Brewery, which was next door. Oh yeah, and there’s a winery next to the coffee shop, said the bartender.
Woah. All within a few short steps of each other exists a winery, coffee shop, whiskey distillery, and brewery. All making their products on site. THIS is what makes The Yard such a cool place. In addition to the beverages, there are warehouses filled with artists, crafters, and even a gym! I’d suggest making a day of it (and getting finding a designated driver…) so that you can walk from the brewery, to the distillery, to the winery, to the coffee shop. How awesome does that sound?
We did end up going to the coffee shop – The Spokesman. Very cool, very hip, VERY DELICIOUS. Their lattes are SO good. Brian ordered a vanilla latte and the barista told him, don’t worry, those aren’t coffee grounds floating on top, they’re pieces of vanilla bean. Yeah, it’s that good.
The Yard is definitely my most exciting find as of late. I cannot wait to go back to visit the winery and the brewery. It’s so cool to see passionate people turning previously abandoned warehouse spaces into thriving businesses. Patronize them please!