west elm LOCAL makers Kristopher and Kelley Denby are widely known for their reclaimed wood wall hangings of American states, most notably their home state of Texas. It should come as no surprise then, that the two have some major regional pride—and a litany of hometown haunts to go with it. Kristopher and Kelley have been documenting the Austin spots they frequent over on their Instagram feed for some time, so we asked them to share some of their all-time favorites. Check out all 23 below + shop Hemlock & Heather’s collection on westelm.com here!
Alamo Draft House
Alamo is an Austin original and the only place we go to see movies. Where else can you get dinner and drinks while enjoying the latest Hollywood remake?
Antonelli’s Cheese Plate
220 Duval St
Our friends, John and Kendall, own and operate Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. One of our favorite ways to spend a spring afternoon is to pick up a selection of cheeses and olives, a bottle of wine (beer for Kris), and bike to one of Austin’s many parks for a picnic in the sun.
800 W Riverside Dr
With the city skyline and Ladybird Lake as a backdrop, Auditorium Shores is one of many amazing spots to catch a free show during SX. We try to see at least one show here a year during the festival.
86 Rainey St
Rainey Street used to be a sleepy neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. For better or worse, as the city has grown, many of these neighborhoods have given way to change. Rainey Street is now home to several bars and live music venues, including The Blackheart, and is a great alternative to the touristy 6th street Entertainment District.
Deep Eddy Cabaret
2315 Lake Austin Blvd
Deep Eddy is one of Austin’s oldest and most sacred dive bars. You might find hippies, yuppies, hipsters, and rednecks rubbing elbows at the bar at Deep Eddy on any given night. It’s an equal-opportunity watering hole.
709 E 6th St
Easy Tiger is on “Dirty 6th”, but we try not to hold that against it. Easy Tiger has a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere, great food and beer selections (they bake their own breads and put a lot more thought into their bar food than most typical bars do), and a stellar outdoor patio.
2015 E Riverside Dr
The original Emo’s is gone. Let’s all observe a moment of silence. OK? OK. That said, Emo’s is still a great place to see live music. The new place doesn’t have quite the character that the old place had, but the AC is cold, and there’s plenty of room to stretch your legs.
1109 S Lamar Blvd
This is our favorite neighborhood bar. Gibson used to be an auto repair shop, and it manages to retain that workman-like aesthetic while being completely charming at the same time. We like to think of Gibson Bar as our Regal Beagle.
Juice Land is Kelley’s (and many other Austin runners’) default finish line after a long jog along Ladybird Lake. The juice is great, the people are cool, and the spot is an Austin icon.
Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail
First Street Bridge at Lady Bird Lake
Despite the brutal summers, Austinites like to be outdoors. We like to run and bike and take walks, and Austin has tons of green spaces that fit the bill. But none are more sacred than the hike and bike trail around Ladybird Lake (Town Lake). We’ve spent countless hours on these paths and in the green parks in and around this area.
Lamar Foot Bridge
Over Colorado River on Lamar Blvd
The Lamar foot bridge (Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge) was built mainly as a means for walkers and bikers to safely cross the lake, but it also serves as a great place to hang out and enjoy the beautiful, changing Austin skyline. And, like so many other places in Austin, it transforms into a music venue during SXSW.
Matt’s Famous El Rancho
2613 S Lamar Blvd
Matt’s is our (and so many other Austinites’) spot. We’ve been going to Matt’s for 25 years. It’s where we go to celebrate successes and talk about our plans for the future, and it’s where we conceived Hemlock & Heather. The food is consistently good, the service is always friendly, and after 64 years in Austin, it’s still family-owned and operated.
2151 S Lamar Blvd
Jeff and Laura Daly gave us our “break”. They were the first store to take on and sell our work. They, and their daughter (and buyer) Allison, are the nicest people you would ever want to meet, and their store is a reflection of their personalities and integrity. These folks are like family to us, and we have enjoyed watching Mockingbird become the go-to place for locally-sourced, handmade, quality goods.
The Moody Theater
310 W Willie Nelson Blvd
There isn’t a bad seat in the house at Moody Theater. Coupled with great sound, an efficient and elegant design, and a great location, Moody Theater is the place to go see music acts big and small.
400 Grove Blvd
Secret Beach isn’t much of a secret anymore, and it’s not much of a beach, really, but it’s still a great spot to dip into some water and cool off on a hot, summer day.
1016 E 6th St
Shangri-La isn’t fancy. It doesn’t have comfy seats, thoughtful decor, or clean bathrooms. But it does have a friendly staff, cold beer, and an honest workaday ethos that serves as a welcome contrast to the expensive condos and commercial developments popping up all over the city. Whether you’re wearing leather and chains, skinny jeans, or Birkenstocks, you will be welcome here.
2906 & 2908 Fruth St
One word: Mortified. Book your tickets now. And take an open mind with you. Trust us.
Stephenson Nature Preserve
7501 Longview Rd
This sprawling nature preserve is just a mile down the road from our house, and it is a favorite of Kris’ for hiking and just getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. If you go, keep your eyes peeled, he’s seen deer and coyote in these woods.
Stubb’s is an Austin landmark. You can buy a bottle of Stubb’s BBQ sauce at your local HEB, and you can go see your favorite band at the downtown location. We’ve seen all sorts of bands here including Weezer, Trampled By Turtles, and Ryan Bingham.
The University of Texas at Austin, W 24th St
Kris went to the University of Texas at Austin. He took many pics of the UT Tower. Probably too many. In any case, it’s one of the most recognizable pieces of architecture in the city, and, when lit orange or against the backdrop of exploding fireworks following a graduation ceremony, it is a beautiful sight and holds tons of meaning for current and former students of the university.
100 North Loop Boulevard
Austin still has video stores. At least for Kris, that’s a source of pride. The Elizabeth Street location is in the process of relocating (more city growing pains, sadly), but the North Loop store is still open for business. Got a hankering to see a cult film like Tenement or Suburbia? Vulcan is the place. (You can also find the latest Michael Bay movie there, too, but we don’t speak of these things.)
600A N Lamar Blvd
You want an album on disc, tape, or vinyl? You go to Waterloo. But besides being Austin’s oldest surviving record store, it plays host to lots of great live music during SX, and it is another one of our favorite places to visit during the huge music festival.
The White Horse
500 Comal St
Austin is hip and it is constantly striving to be more modern and internationally-appealing. But it still has country bars. The White Horse is one of the newer ones, and it’s not exactly your grandpa’s honky tonk in terms of the music it showcases and the crowds it draws, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an awesome place to go for a night of two-stepping in your best pair of cowboy boots. It’s where we go!
After remodeling their home in 2009, Kristopher and Kelley Denby started building furniture and wood headboards featuring one-of-a-kind designs. They’re known for their reclaimed Texas wall hangings, which are made from 100% recycled and castaway wood, found in and around their city. Shop Hemlock & Heather on westelm.com.