Shlok Vaidya

Senior Product, Mood Media

Shlok Vaidya

Shlok Vaidya is senior product at Mood Media. He is also an advisor at 5by5 Studios, Archer Avenue, and MixZing. He lives on the east side of Austin, TX.

You’ve lived in quite a few neighborhoods in Austin. Which is your favorite and why?

It’s funny, I feel like I’ve been chasing the soul of Austin across the city. I somewhat grew up in Northwest Austin, near Great Hills, which is where you want to grow up, and I left, and I came back and lived in Brentwood, which is a little north of campus, and it’s a great little area for young professionals, and young families, offset by those that have been there for a couple decades. It’s that, it’s new modern, sexy sleek housing next to a bungalow from the 70s. 20 somethings and 50 somethings coexisting, in a relatively walkable area. You still have to drive around, but you’re in the middle of everything. A ten minute drive to everything.

I left again for a while, for work, and when I came back, I lived near West 6th, and that’s a great place for a young couple, you live in a condo near Town Lake and close to the more yuppie bars, and you’re a 20 minute walk to everything. But I am a big fan of the patio bar, and had to flee east, first to Rainey, which is now a lot of hotels parked next to homes turned into bars, next to condos, and then on, now to the East side, which is equal parts patio bar, amazing restaurant, and good Austin people, and only getting better every day.

Why do you think so many people are moving to Austin? Particularly in the tech space?

Compare the options, right, you can live in a big city, like the Bay or NYC, with a lot of opportunity and a lot of density and it’s expensive and it’s fun and its crazy, but when the night ends, you go home, and you crawl into bed in your one bedroom, trying not to trip over a roommate or three, and the closest thing to a separating wall you have is a curtain, you may realize there’s better place, where you can engage in all that activity, and all that fun, and all that creativity, but still have a nice place to live, with greenery, and you can build software anywhere, and hardware anywhere, and people are starting to realize that more.

What is your go-to coffee shop in Austin?

Cuvee. Mostly because it’s two blocks from my apartment. And they make a mean americano.

Your friend is in town for one night. They want to get a bit wild. What is your gameplan?

I’m a patio bar, grab a drink at Whislers, a good dinner on East side, informal, maybe an East Side King. Head over a speakeasy, Red Room Lounge or Garage, then accelerate into it, walk over to check out some of the great music, the fun crowd, on Rainey, where you can stumble from bar to bar, patio to patio. One of the coolest parts of Austin – you can walk 10 minutes in any direction and find the vibe you’re looking for.

Do you have any off the beaten path Austin destinations to recommend?

The up and coming Caesar Chavez corridor is turning into what Rainey was, and before that Hyde Park was, a great, quiet area, with great music and good, artisan cocktails at a great price. It’s worth a visit, it’s what Austin’s all about.