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22 Best Bars in Austin

friends drinking cocktails at a bar in austin

Celebrated for its vibrant culture, eclectic art, and lively music scene, Austin, Texas, is also well-known for its vibrant and diverse bar scene. A different kind of energy emerges as the sun sets over the city’s skyline, luring residents and tourists to its numerous drinking establishments, each with its own distinct vibe, specialty drinks, and personality. We go into the center of Austin’s nightlife in this adventurous exploration to find the best bars the city has to offer. This book is your travel companion to the most amazing bars that guarantee to quench your thirst and create memories that will last a lifetime, whether you’re a local looking for your next favorite hangout or a visitor looking for the beating heart of Austin nightlife.


307 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701
512-494-4094
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The Roosevelt Room Austin
Source: Instagram

This industrial-style, trendy cocktail pub is ideal for formal and casual fun. The Roosevelt Room features a cozy, modern dining space with an upstairs lounge, conveniently located downtown, right next to Republic Square and up the street from ACL Live. The Roosevelt Room features an impressive drinks list that includes the Roosevelt Room Martini, the Sherry Cobbler, and the Brandy Julep, among other fantastic cocktails. I enjoyed the Roosevelt Room Old Fashioned, which paired nicely with the bar’s charcuterie board and a tasty chevre salad. I was also impressed by this upscale lounge’s professional yet subdued approach. The Roosevelt Room offers cocktail classes open to the public, and it’s also a popular place to plan special events.


Nickel City

1133 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
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Nickel City Austin
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Nickel City is considered a “dive” bar with all the delicious comfort food and great drinks you’re looking for in a bar. On my first visit to this spot, I ordered from the bar’s fantastic whiskey selection and indulged in the tasty pub fare, including wings, fried cheese curds, and other deep-fried treats. It’s the perfect joint to drop in for a plate of pub grub and a beer; The venue offers TVs, an outdoor patio, and a jukebox so that you can enjoy the retro theme and a casual, relaxing atmosphere. Nickel City is a terrific place to watch the game over a plate of tasty sliders and fries after work or over the weekend.


Kitty Cohen’s

2211 Webberville Rd #3548, Austin, TX 78702
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Kitty Cohen's Austin
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Kitty Cohen’s is a top spot for summer visitors and locals. It’s a retro-style bar that offers a spacious outdoor area with poolside access and lots of seating. It’s the perfect place to enjoy drinks and punches and enjoy a pool-party theme with friends and colleagues. I enjoyed the pub’s happy hour and the incredible, down-to-earth vibe at this place. It’s a terrific spot where the bartending staff are a lot of fun and eager to recommend the best cocktails and drinks on the menu. I ordered the honey lemon gin martini, an ideal treat with some tasty food truck burgers featured at this chill and trendy joint.


Garage

503 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
(512) 369-3490
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Garage Austin
Source: Instagram

This innovative bar was created from a parking garage into a nostalgic, mid-century space that offers unique cocktails and background music played on vinyl. I was pleasantly surprised by the staff and bartenders’ effort to set an intimate lounge experience with excellent drinks and the unusual but upscale style space considered a hidden gem by many locals.The garage-themed drink menu was a great idea, which featured a fantastic selection of cocktails divided into “unleaded,” “GTO,” “vintage,” and other car-themed, signature drinks. The Garage is a unique place to visit, even if you’re new to town or need a break after a hot summer’s day.


Deep Eddy Cabaret

2315 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
512-472-0961
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Deep Eddy Cabaret Austin
Source: Instagram

Deep Eddy Cabaret is the kind of joint you visit if you’re looking for an old-style watering hole with a friendly, laid-back vibe. This nostalgic place is very casual, with a solid retro-themed bar that includes a jukebox, billiards, and down-to-earth bartenders. It’s a relaxing spot to order draft beer, listen to some great music, and experience a trip back in time to the 1970s. When I visited the pub, I didn’t anticipate ordering food, but the pub fare was tasty and ideal for a draft beer or whiskey. It’s an excellent pub for after-work drinks and casual social fun. They offer lots of top shelf liquors and have a great well selection also. 

See also  21 Best Restaurants with Outdoor Seating in Austin

Whisler’s

1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
512-480-0781
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Whisler's Austin
Source: Instagram

Whisler’s is a chic hangout that features handcrafted cocktails, live music, and an outdoor patio. It’s a rustic but upscale spot to enjoy some decent entertainment with friends and great drinks. If you only try one bar in Austin, I recommend this local gem as a spot to relish your favorite drink or taste a new signature cocktail. My favorite cocktail on the menu is East of Eden, which features a blend of Chareau, Batavia, and Italicus with a refreshing squeeze of lemon and cucumber. The bar features its menu online, so you can review the exquisite selection before you visit. It’s a top-notch spot that is worth dropping by for your next drink.


Drink Well

207 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751
512-614-6683
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Drink Well Austin
Source: Instagram

Drink Well is a stellar bar in the heart of Austin that offers both dine-in and curbside pickup service. You’ll find an impressive list of classic and house cocktails and a decent selection of wine, beer, and food. I thoroughly savored lamb and beef meatballs with couscous with a glass of Bodegas Urbina wine. I found the ambiance excellent and enjoyed a classic Hurricane cocktail. Drink Well is a fantastic spot to visit during happy hour, which offers a great selection of classic cocktails, draft beer, and tasty, light fare. It’s a fantastic gastropub with vegan options and fun plates to order with your favorite drink.


Lala’s Little Nugget

2207 Justin Ln, Austin, TX 78757
512-487-5297
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Lala's Little Nugget Austin
Source: Instagram

This unique and eccentric pub is Christmas-themed year-round and features a jukebox, games, and cash-only fare and drinks. Lala’s Little Nugget is a fun place with reasonably priced drinks. You’ll want to drop by during Jolly Hour during the week and Bloody Mary Mornin’ on Sundays. It’s a terrific spot to enjoy Bloody Marys, which are my recommended choice, along with a hearty plate of chicken wings and pizza. This one-of-a-kind venue also features parties throughout the year, with holiday-inspired themes and private functions.


Small Victory

108 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
512-903-9450
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Small Victory Austin
Source: Instagram

Small Victory is a quaint speakeasy that features a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. The bartenders take great care in crafting cocktails, and there’s an impressive selection of whiskey and bourbon (which are a bit different by the way). Due to its popularity, this spot tends to get a little busy over the weekend, so reservations are strongly recommended. Small Victory is located downtown next to the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown and The Driskill In the Unbound Collection by Hyatt. The Bombay cocktail is a nice treat if you enjoy brandy, and I would also suggest the bartender’s choice.


The White Horse

500 Comal St, Austin, TX 78702
512-553-6756
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The White Horse Austin
Source: Instagram

If you want to enjoy a great party atmosphere with fantastic live music seven days a week, you’ll love the White Horse. This nightclub is a lively venue that features a full-service bar, a smoking area, and an outdoor patio. This spot is one of the best party bars in town. The club’s website features a calendar of live events and specials, including discounted cover charges on certain nights. You’ll quickly find your way to the dancefloor after a few drinks, which may lead to trying two-step dance lessons. I found the menu impressive, especially the variety of tasty tacos and appetizers.


Peche

208 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701
512-494-4011
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Peche Austin
Source: Instagram

Peche is a beautiful restaurant that features delicious French cuisine and an excellent drink menu. It’s the ideal spot to reserve a table for an order of Croque Madame or a Duck Confit. The blend of decadent entrees and cocktails makes a great dining experience. This restaurant is a mix of classy and down-to-earth vibes with a New Orleans style. The drink menu is extensive, and my favorite cocktails are the Dark and Stormy, a blend of rum, lime, ginger beer, and the Root of Evil adult milkshake. Peche is ideal for booking private events, and you can treat someone to fantastic cuisine with a gift card.

See also  El Naranjo Brings New Happy Hour to Austin

Midnight Cowboy

313 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
512-843-2715
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Midnight Cowboy Austin
Source: Instagram

Midnight Cowboy offers a level of relaxation and laid-back atmosphere coupled with a historic décor and incredible bartenders. I found the staff to be very talented and creative in crafting cocktails that are not too sweet or spicy for the ultimate balance in flavor. This bar is considered a hidden gem or “secret” in the community, offering reservations for small groups or parties. Walk-ins are also welcome when space is available, which is indicated by a “vacancy” sign outside. The staff are very accommodating and knowledgeable, offering a fun escape from daily life, and reasonably priced drinks, which are prepared at your tableside and made to order.


Half Step

75 1/2 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701
512-522-0083
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Half Step Austin
Source: Instagram

Half Step is located on Rainey Street, in the historic district of town. It’s a stellar place to order classic cocktails and enjoy friendly, talented bartenders. The pub is set inside a house renovated into a bar, with vintage, wrap-around seats, high tables, and comfortable, bench-style seating. You’ll love the outdoor seating, which is vibrant with local college students and locals, offering a laid-back, casual atmosphere. It’s the ultimate place to chill with a great variety of margaritas and beer on draft. I enjoyed the Ginger Paloma on draft and would also recommend the Floradora.  


Dirty Bill’s

511 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78701
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Dirty Bill's Austin
Source: Instagram

Located in the Market district, Dirty Bill’s is a lively nightclub that features a spacious dancefloor, a large selection of draft beer, and live events, including DJs. It’s a great place that doesn’t feel pretentious and offers excellent food and drinks in a trendy, down-to-earth venue. One of the best features of this place is the high-energy vibe with attentive staff, without paying a fortune for a cover charge and enjoying drinks at a reasonable price. I was impressed with the stellar bar service and fantastic drinks, making this spot one of the town’s most incredible dive bars.


Milonga Room

Milonga Room Austin
Source: Instagram

This small, unassuming bar is hidden behind the Buenos Aires Café, which offers amaro-based cocktails inspired by Argentinean culture in a 1920s-themed dining room. This speakeasy is available to guests by reservation only and is ideal for an intimate date for two or a small group of friends. The Milonga Room offers a pre-selected list of drinks and food for a group of six to ten guests so that you can set the menu for your special night. The bar offers a rotating variety of tasty food and drink items, so you’ll have something new to indulge in every time you visit.


The Rustic Tap

613 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
512-662-4121
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The Rustic Tap Austin
Source: Instagram

This beer and cocktail bar is a great music venue that offers all you need to enjoy a night on the town. The Rustic Tap is a Market District staple that features a rustic theme and cozy dining space complete with TVs playing sports and a fantastic variety of local beers and tasty food. The outdoor patio and fire pits offer an excellent backyard barbecue feel for guests, along with picnic tables and live bands. It’s a decent spot to enjoy a few cocktails with colleagues or friends in a casual space over the weekend, with attentive staff and a fun crowd.


Saxon Pub

1320 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
512-448-2552
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Saxon Pub Austin
Source: Instagram

Saxon Pub is a premier concert venue that features excellent live shows, with private rooms that offer an intimate atmosphere and listening room. It’s a great spot to catch some happy hour specials in this music-themed bar. It’s a terrific place if you’re a fan of entertainment history and a spacious room to sit or dance to the live performances. The pub is a hot spot for film locations and is famous for live recordings and events. Since opening in 1990, it’s become a significant attraction in Austin and a worthwhile place to visit if you’re looking for an award-winning place to enjoy a few drinks and excellent entertainment.


Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar

421 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
512-472-7383
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Pete's Dueling Piano Bar Austin
Source: Instagram

This local bar chain is a popular spot for dueling-piano shows and performing servers and staff, making it a truly unique experience if you’re visiting the area. Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar is a vibrant, engaging place to book your reservation and enjoy an unforgettable night. You’ll enjoy a spectacular selection of handcrafted cocktails and party specials for your private booking or group occasion. The variety of cocktails is impressive, and I enjoyed the Casarita, a shaken margarita that blends agave nectar with freshly squeezed lime juice and ice. There are many great drinks to enjoy while you sing along and clap for an interactive and entertaining experience.

See also  18 Best Restaurants with Private Dining Rooms in Austin

Friends Bar

208 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
512-320-8193
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Friends Bar Austin
Source: Instagram

Friends Bar is located in the 6th Street District and is just a short walk from many downtown attractions, including hotels. It’s a popular spot to party for locals and visitors to Austin, with comfortable booth seating and a spacious floor plan that’s beautiful and relaxing. This spot is one of the top places to enjoy an up-close and intimate music experience while indulging in tasty beef brisket tacos and tasty cocktails. I especially enjoyed the taco serving, along with the Austini, a specialty cocktail that features Vodka, dry Vermouth, and cucumber. The local draft beer selection is also impressive and reasonably priced.


Tiniest Bar In Texas

817 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78703
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Tiniest Bar In Texas Austin
Source: Instagram

The Tiniest Bar in Texas is a small, cozy bar tucked away in the Market District, offering happy hour specials and an outdoor patio with access to a food truck. It’s a dog-friendly place that’s a popular spot to drop by for a break, whether you’re cycling or walking through town. I found this place to be much better than expected, with a terrific variety of cocktails, beer, and my favorite, a horchata cold brew. It’s a fun and charming spot to savor a few drinks in the evening. The bar occasionally partners with local entertainers and communities for special events.


Dive Bar Austin

1703 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701
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Dive Bar Austin
Source: Instagram

Dive Bar Austin is a fun spot near the Museum District, offering classic cocktails and a fantastic whiskey selection during happy hour. I enjoyed the bar’s Smoky Rhubarb, and this joint is also known for its Bloody Mary. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, and the vibe is quiet and comfortable, as it’s never too crowded with tourists. This pub is a well-hidden treasure in the city and one of Austin’s best-kept secrets. The dining room interior features local art and paintings, generous seating, and a dark but cozy space that’s a relaxing space to visit.


Lavaca Street Bar

405 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701
512-469-0106
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Lavaca Street Bar Austin
Source: Instagram

Lavaca Street Bar is a premier place to order handcrafted, classic cocktails and delicious surf and turf entrees. This bar offers three locations, including the central downtown spot, delicious tacos, a great draft beer list, and regularly scheduled events. Since its establishment in central Austin, the pub has opened two more locations, in South Lamar and Domain. The downtown location in the Warehouse District features 40 TVs, pool tables, and other games to enjoy with friends during your visit. If you’re a cider fan, I recommend the Original Dry Cider and the Horseshoe Pilsner.


Austin is well-known for its thriving music scene and nightlife, which offers visitors and locals a generous selection of cocktail bars, entertainment venues, and nightclubs to enjoy throughout the week. While you’ll love the high energy of large concert halls, the quaint, hidden gems are also excellent to explore. Austin has some great bars, but how about something to cure that headache the next morning? Check out Austin’s most popular boozy brunch spots right here!

Did we miss anything? Comment below and let us know so we can check it out!

Why Trust Us?

When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 6 credible sites and blogs, including Timeout.com and Thrillist.com. 

We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible. 

Interested in the sources we consulted? Check out the list of all 6 sites we referenced below this paragraph, offering transparency and an opportunity for our readers to explore further. Our commitment is to deliver trustworthy and unparalleled recommendations, helping you make informed decisions on your culinary journeys.

https://www.timeout.com/austin/bars/best-bars-in-austin
https://www.thrillist.com/drink/austin/best-bars-in-austin
https://www.theinfatuation.com/austin/guides/best-bars-austin
https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-bars-in-austin
https://austin.eater.com/maps/best-cocktail-bars-austin
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g30196-Activities-c20-t99-Austin_Texas.html

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.