Top Bars & Cocktail Spots in Austin

When it comes to drinking in Austin, you’ll undoubtedly find whatever your heart desires, whether you’re in the mood for a local beer, a glass of wine or a finely crafted cocktail.

Cocktail Lounges

Better Half Coffee Cocktails Interior at Bar.
Better Half Coffee Cocktails.

Péché is the godfather of Austin cocktail lounges, serving up the perfect Old Fashioned, along with a French-inspired menu. For an adventure in drinking, The Roosevelt Room proudly pours the most sought-after drink of every decade. Better Half Coffee & Cocktails has a drink for every time of day, so stop by for a mimosa or a nightcap. Hard to pronounce but worth a visit, Kalimotxo brings Spain front and center with pintxos and authentic Spanish cocktails. For a lighter libation, Provision offers low- and no-proof mixed drinks.

Speakeasies & Bars

Whiskey cocktail with plum and toasted rice matcha from Oseyo.
Whiskey cocktail with plum and toasted rice matcha from Oseyo. Photo credit Carli Rene, Inkedfingers.

While there are no true speakeasies anymore, there are a number of bars that channel that forbidden ambiance. Midnight Cowboy is the most notorious. You absolutely need a reservation for this secret spot and its customized cocktails. The downstairs Milonga Room is password-only, so befriend a local or knock on the door and risk it. Garage is hard to find but easier to get into. The craft cocktails are incredible, and finding a bar in a parking garage is part of the adventure.

East Austin is home to some of the coolest bars in the city. You’ll always find people hanging at popular Whisler’s and its upstairs neighbor, Mezcalería Tobalá, which specializes in copitas of mezcal. The Rolling Rooster serves up chicken and waffles with a side of blues music in the former home of the historic Victory Grill.

Beer, Wine & Whiskey

Zilker Crowler Night.
Zilker Brewing. Courtesy of Cuvee Coffee.

Austin’s beer scene is burgeoning, with a new brewery seemingly opening up every week. Take a tour of some of Austin’s innovators with stops at Central Machine Works and Zilker Brewing, finishing up at Batch Brewhouse & Bugroom with a barbecue taco from the on-site Taco Bronco food truck. Wine fans will be intrigued by the options at LoLo Natural Wine Bar & Bottle Shop, a combination bar and retail shop with snacks. Dive bar Nickel City is a local favorite, known for its frozen coffee, whiskey drinks and authentic buffalo chicken wings. Head to Rainey Street and prepare to be amazed by a science-inspired cocktail at the Tipsy Alchemist, or one of the creative sake or shochu bombs at Anthem. Ellis, located upstairs from Fareground, is a cool stop for a quick drink. Though you may want to stay awhile at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot to sample their wide range of whiskies and watch the latest game. 


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