The Best Night of Your Life is approaching (December 21st is the longest night of the year, so make it count!), and it obviously wouldn't be complete without a cocktail. To make sure you're only imbibing the best, we've painstakingly assembled the top spots for a proper libation -- we're talking classically executed, mixed with house-made shrubs (sounds like a plant -- not a plant!), infused, rinsed, perfectly balanced, and topped with a Luxardo cherry. Or maybe some orange peel that was just lit on fire?
Thirsty yet? First check out the picks below, and make sure to fully map out a perfect evening with our itinerary builder.
Quite possibly the best thing to happen to Dirty 6th EVER. You’ll need a reservation to guarantee entry to this former brothel-turned-secret (well, secret-ish)-speakeasy. There’s no sign, you just walk up and ring the buzzer titled "Harry Craddock”. The reinvented classic cocktails (some prepared tableside) are spot-on, the atmosphere’s sexy, and the respite from the shrieking and occasional vom-landmines of 6th is more than welcome.
East Side Show Room
When you enter East Side Show Room, you’ll feel as if you have entered another place and time, where beautiful people drink under the glow of Edison bulbs and gypsy music fills the space (but not gypsies, that's a different place and time). This half-luxe, half-industrial food and drink den has some of Austin’s most skilled (and best dressed) bartenders turning out everything from flawless Old Fashioneds to Einstein on the Beach (gin, amaro, Cherry Heering, lime & pineapple).
The interesting thing about drink.well. is that while it masquerades as a neighborhood pub, the level of culinary and cocktail artistry could easily suit a much flashier joint. The owners and staff are constantly shifting and tweaking their revolving drink menu, so if you’re lucky you may end up being a (very willing!) guinea pig for one their experimental concoctions.
The third installment of the Brooklyn-based craft cocktail mini empire, Weather Up in Austin is a mellow, subway-tiled, coppery gem of a bar. Don’t bother looking for a sign, there isn’t one -- but there are expertly crafted drinks (the comprehensive menu's broken down by spirit and preparation) and an atmosphere that lends itself to casual groups outside or an intimate date inside. Or an intimate date outside, if that's your thing.
Located in the heart of the Warehouse District, this hidden treasure boasts an insane liquor selection (as in it’s great, not as in it was made by crazy people), vintage ambiance, and a creative pre-prohibition style drink menu that will make you wish you had the liver capacity to explore it all. Come for the plethora of absinthe choices, stay for the seriously delicious French food. And more absinthe.
This tiny bar, nestled between sister restaurants Congress and Second Bar + Kitchen, boasts big-time libations both classic and creative, often taken up a level with housemade mixers. Make like Keanu Reeves and seek out the Oracle with Templeton Rye, Amaro Averna, Cocchi di Torino vermouth, Chichicapa mezcal, and New Orleans coffee bitters.
The Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons
Even though visiting a high-end hotel bar sounds counter-intuitive to most Austinites, the bar staff here is friendly and they know how to mix a damn good (and strong) drink. The lounge itself is beautiful and to say they have a "nice lawn and patio" is an understatement. As a bonus, you’ll always find yourself chatting with tipsy out-of-towners and occasionally, the semi-famous.
New-ish and located at the far east end of 6th St, this place has got all the bases covered. While they are definitely catering to patio-types with most of the seating being outdoors, there is a cool, dark inside bar full of repurposed goodness and bartenders who can create your signature drink just by looking at you.