Where to start, where to start? There are so many fine things about Austin, it’s difficult to pick out one for our first review. Thus, a two-fer … Jo’s Coffee on South Congress and Jo’s House Band.
Jo’s Coffee claims ‘the best people watching porch on South Congress’ and, situated across the street from Amy’s Ice Cream and the Continental Club and next door to the upscale Hotel San Jose, Jo is not far wrong. For the (very reasonable) price of a cup of coffee, you can watch a fair share of Austin’s weird and beautiful people passing by. Jo’s isn’t especially conducive to serious work (the WIFI is slow, sloow, sloooowwww), but most days, you can share an outdoor table with musicians, artists and freelancers, entrepreneurs, bikers and visiting media gurus. There’s often a group of regulars playing dominoes and occasional Tuesday evening trivia and Thursday night movies – check the website www.joscoffee.com.
Besides the people-watching, you go to Jo’s for the coffee – and the hot chocolate is something special on a cold and windy day like today – and a reasonable selection of reasonably priced beers and soft drinks. Sandwiches and breakfast tacos are fine to ‘keep body and soul together’ but they’re ‘flown in’, so don’t expect excellence in the food department.
Sinners’ Brunch and Jo’s House Band begin Sunday afternoons at 12:30. Andrew Nafziger’s small band of regulars, along with guests like of Greg Izor and Emily Gimble, play a fine mix of Austin tinged roots-blues. (Gimble, by the way, is an Austin treasure, with her keyboard and a voice that surpasses a Nora Jones. I’ll post about her another time.)
Sinners’ Brunch – It’s a great way to spend a couple of relaxing hours, for the price of a coffee and a few bucks in the band’s minnow bucket tip-jar.
And finally … South by San Jose in the parking lot shared by Jo’s and Hotel San Jose, is probably the best unofficial music venue going during SxSW.