6 Must-See Bars in Austin, Texas
If you find yourself thirsty in the great city of Austin, and you’re looking to wet your whistle, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are a wine aficionado, local-beer enthusiasts, or a fancy-cocktail sipper, Austin has a full range of bars that have something for everyone.
Here is a peek inside 6 must-see bars in Austin. From the out of the ordinary and the quirky, classy and chic, to local bars that you just can’t miss. This list is sure to please any night owl looking for fun.
1- Tiger Bar
This indoor/outdoor beer garden is a local favorite. Because it is located next to Waller Creek, you get spectacular views of lush greenery and sparkling water while you sip (or chug) your favorite brew. The 1970s bold wallpaper and retro hand-painted signage were inspired by the quirkiness of the director, Wes Anderson, which he would most certainly approve of.
In addition to having a full bar, they have a rotating menu of mysterious and obscure wines and beers. However, they tend to go fast, so make sure you get there early. Pop in for one of their $5 sandwich of the daily lunch specials, meet up with friends for happy hour and don’t forget to check out WiskeyWednesdays.
2- Midnight Cowboy Modeling (Oriental Massage)
Don’t be fooled by the name, it is extremely deceiving. Located on the street known as “Dirty Sixth,” this bar is an oasis with a touch of class and exclusivity. The theme of this bar is from the prohibition era, which means there are no flashy lights pointing the way to Midnight Cowboy. Reservations are required and there are house rules that you must follow, such as no smoking, guns, phone calls, laptops, or rowdiness. It is a place to unwind and avoid the distractions that come with the technical world, a place to enjoy good drinks and good company.
3- Dry Creek Cafe & Boat Dock
Another deceiving name, this place is neither a cafe nor a boat dock. Instead, it is a humble bungalow that sits atop Mount Bonnell, which is located at the end of a winding road. It sits among the grand mansions of the nouveaux riches, but Dry Creek refuses to change with the times. Its simplicity is what draws the drinking masses to this watering hole. They offer ice-cold beer (only), the twang of an old country jukebox, and a ramshackle-old deck that has beautiful views of where the Texas Hill Country begins. Truly a place that celebrates “old school” Austin.
4- Hotel San Jose Bar
Located in the hotel grounds, this private and understated bar is a place for locals and visitors to take asylum from the Texas heat. This beautiful courtyard is the perfect setting to relax, have a glass of wine or beer, and enjoy one of their selections of light fare. Their bread, olive, and cheese plate can’t be beaten. It’s not uncommon for patrons of this oasis to get so comfortable that happy hour turns into an overnight stay. If that is the case, you’ll love one of their Michelada’s to pair with any item on their delicious breakfast menu.
5- Bar Ilegal
This tiny-stone shed may not look like much, but inside you will find a quiet alternative to the hustle and bustle that comes with the bar scene on Rainey Street. This quaint little shanty is within the grounds of Clive Bar and often overlooked. They only serve mezcal imported from an authentic distillery in Oaxaca, Southern Mexico. The ambiance is something to behold, flickering candles make the bottles that line the back wall shimmer and shine with warmth. Bar Ilegal is a place to savor and enjoy slowly as you discover its subtle nuances.
6- Lustre Pearl
Located in the Rainey Street district, this bar is frequented by the young professionals of Austin. With a vast backyard, it is a place to hang out, have a drink with friends, and challenge each other to a hula hoop contest. The immense energy at Lustre Pearl is non-stop and the crowd is always having a good time. Many stop here for one drink while bar hopping the Rainey Street district, but end up devoting their entire night intertwined in the captivating crowd.
Should you indulge in too many vodka shots, the Bomb Tacos food truck is waiting outside the bar, ready to serve you some of their scrumptiously greasy-street tacos, and tacos are always a good idea.
There you have it, 6 of the most interesting, fun, and relaxing bars that Austin has to offer. Whether you are a local, just visiting, staying temporarily for business, or looking to make a permanent move to this great city, these establishments can’t be missed. Grab a friend, grab a drink, and come see what the Austin bar scene has to offer.