Beverage Director

Where to Grab a Drink in Austin Right Now

Drinks in Austin? During springtime? Groundbreaking.

There’s a couple sure markers of spring in the Live Music Capital: Bluebonnets, a dramatic increase in the amount of paddle boards on Ladybird Lake, and, of course, packed patios at bars around the city. Not that Austin isn’t always a great place to grab a drink—in fact, stopping by a bar in as entwined with the city’s culture as breakfast tacos and barbecue. However, there is something about the perfect period between March and June, when the weather is warm and sunny enough to draw you outside but not so boiling hot that you are severely dehydrated by the time you enter the air conditioning. With that in mind, we have made a list of the best bars in Austin, all of which are guaranteed to provide you with a fresh air meets Happy Hour antidote to that seemingly endless week of work-from-home. Cheers!

P6 at The LINE Austin
P6 at The LINE Austin | Photo by Chase Daniel

There’s a breezy feeling you get as soon as you walk off the elevator and into the LINE Austin’s sixth floor cocktail lounge. Maybe it's due to the windswept pink banners that decorate the ceiling, couches you can sink into comfortably, or the unbeatable view of the Colorado River as it runs under the South Congress Bridge. Or, it could just be their drinks. Take, for example, the Wild Side, a combo of sotol, basil syrup, lime, cucumber, and basil seeds that drinks just as refreshing as the bar itself. 
How to order/reserve: Reserve a table online for dine-in.

Yellow Jacket Social Club

East Fifth Street

Need somewhere to bring friends from out of town, catch up with the crew after a long quarantine hangout absence, or venture out on a first date? Yellow Jacket is the perfect place for these activities and so much more. Its sheer adaptability is one reason for its massive popularity among those that call the city home. The patio, lined with picnic benches and shaded by trees, is about as authentically Austin as it gets—which definitely calls for a round of Lone Stars alongside one of their classic Frito pies. 
How to order/reserve: Stop in for patio, bar, and dine-in service.

Armadillo Den

Ford Oaks

If your main complaint about the average bar is that there’s never enough room, drop everything, grab your cornhole gear, and head to Armadillo Den. Located in South Austin, the vast property has space for it all: live music, food trucks, every yard game under the sun, and even an off-leash dog park so Fido can join in on the fun. After working up a sweat, cool off with a draft cocktail like the Southside Sipper, with watermelon juice, lime, mint, and your choice of alcohol (we vote tequila—it’s always the best/worst choice). 
How to order/reserve: Stop in for patio, bar, and dine-in service.

Zanzibar
Zanzibar | Photo Courtesy of Zanzibar

Zanzibar

Downtown

Beyond its vast collection of greenery, rattan chairs, and tiki cocktails (complete with tiny umbrellas), this tropical oasis boasts one of the best views of the sunset over Downtown imaginable. It’s just as ideal a place to bring out-of-towners as it is an enjoyable spot for life-long Austinites —with Mai Tais as good as these, everyone wins. 
How to order/reserve: Reserve a table online for dine-in service.

LoLo
LoLo Wine | Photo by Julia Keim

LoLo Wine

East Sixth Street

Don’t let Schitt’s Creek color your view of natural wine forever. A recent addition to the scene, LoLo is here to prove that organic vino can be just as tasty as the mainstream stuff (and get you just as topsy-turvy as Moira Rose after a couple of commercial takes). From the colorful patio complete with a tree decked out with disco balls to an awesome staff filled with nuanced knowledge, being here truly feels like an intimate getaway from the rest of East Austin. The only thing that could make it any better? Adding one of their flourless chocolate tortes to your order. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by for patio, bar, and dine-in service or order wine online to be shipped to you.

You may not be able to travel to Munich this year, but you can easily recreate the biergarten experience with an evening out at Easy Tiger. There are currently three locations—one up North, one down South, and one on the East side—all of them spacious enough to pack all your whole crew into one of the many long picnic tables. And with a menu featuring both unique American craft beers and housebaked pretzels the size of a high school lunch tray, it could not be more of a gluten-lover’s dream. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by for dine-in service or order online for delivery and curbside pick up.

If you’re seeking out quality non-alcoholic options or in the mood to double-fist an espresso and a shot of tequila, check out the pink picnic table-covered patio of Better Half Coffee & Cocktails. Operating as a cafe and coffee shop during the day, it transforms into a key spot for cocktails and grub come evening. Try their Waiting for Coffman, a perfect blend of booze and house cold brew, alongside an order of cauliflower tots, which are so tasty you’re bound to forget the ways cauliflower has been slowly replacing all our beloved carbs. 
How to order/reserve: Reserve online for patio and dine-in service (evening walk-ins are limited) or order online for take-out.

The Roosevelt Room
The Roosevelt Room | Photo by Eric Medsker

Bar hop through the centuries at The Roosevelt Room, where delicious craft cocktails are categorized by era. Sip a Clover Club, a Prohibition favorite made with gin, raspberries, and lychees, while soaking up the sleek Gatsby-esque digs complete with warm mood lighting and dark velvet booths. This is where to bring the serious mixologist in your life for a celebratory night—the delicate bottles of atomizers and bitters lining the top of the marble bar are certain to captivate from the jump. 
How to order/reserve: Reserve online for dine-in service (walk-ins are limited) or order take-out and delivery here.

Kitty Cohen's

Webberville

If you’re looking for a 1970s-inspired paradise complete with portraits of Burt Reynolds, look no further than Kitty Cohen’s retro patio. Centered around a decorative mini-pool, the outdoor area provides the perfect backdrop for splitting a big bowl of gin- and Prosecco-spiked Key Party punch with friends—served, of course, from a vintage glass bowl into a matching set of handled cups. Their frosés and Aperol spritzes are equally at home lounging underneath the green umbrella-stewn expanse.
How to order/reserve: Stop by with a mask for patio service and take-out cocktails only.

Rustic Tap

West Sixth

Even if your knowledge of the musical genre is limited to Dolly Parton, it won’t stop you from finding something to love about this country bar. An outdoor oasis in West Austin, its huge screens and tailgate-style chairs ensure you can get your game-day on while there. As a Louisiana bar, they are sure to be rowdy whenever the Saints or LSU are playing but everyone can get into the Cajun spirit by ordering one of their Shrimp Po-Boys along with a Mexican Martini. Be sure as well to mosey on over to their website to check out their live music schedule, which they have every night of the week -- well, that is, unless football is on. 
How to order: Outdoor seating only, table service available. Masks required for guests when not seated. Drinks and food available to-go.

Kinda Tropical

East Seventh

Those who’ve never been to Kinda Tropical might initially pass right by it—the gritty exterior stands as an homage to the property’s former life as a gas station. Give it a closer glance, though, and you’ll be pleased to discover a gem of an outdoor patio tucked away out back. In tune with its easy Texas vibes, Kinda Tropical’s standout cocktails include a mezcal paloma and the Paint it Black margarita, dyed dark with activated charcoal. Vegan-friendly eats like Cuban yucca fries and a Jackfruit-based BBQ sandwich seal the deal. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by with a mask for patio service or order online for pick up.

Stashed behind a long wall of ivy greenery like a secret garden amid the hustle and bustle of South Congress, The Courtyard Lounge at the Hotel San JosĂ© is a verifiable breath of fresh air. It might be surrounded by hotel bungalows and a pool of glistening blue water, but rest assured that the lounge is a space all its own—a staycation without the extra hassle of finding someone to watch your pets, if you will. They're famous for their take on the michelada, where they temper the classic combination of tomato juice, spice, and beer with a hit of salty soy sauce. Pair one with Japanese-inflected togarashi popcorn for a flavorful East-meets-West combo. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by with a mask for patio service.

It’s amazing that Frazier’s Long & Low only opened about a year ago, considering the deep sense of nostalgia that takes over the minute you walk through the door. With wood-paneled walls and broad leather booths—not to mention shuffleboard, pool tables, and killer jukebox—it’s the kind of neighborhood dive where everybody knows your name. Get the full experience during weekend brunch, where you can order the famous Fuckit Bucket, a mix of chicken tenders, pancakes with hot honey and syrup, breakfast corn dogs, and either a bottle or champagne or a bucket of beer to wash it all down. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by for patio and dine-in service or order take-out from the bar.

Haymaker

Cherrywood

If you want a sports bar, Haymaker is the place to go. TVs and large projection screens cover the space like wallpaper, broadcasting everything from football to international soccer to horse-racing. Add that to the ridiculous number of beers on tap (40!) plus a roster of game day-appropriate comforts like poutine, Italian hoagies, and patty melts. And if you want to bring your dog to help cheer on your team, hit the pet-friendly patio, complete with its own set of flatscreens so you never have to miss a touchdown. Pro tip: Check their website to see which daily drink special will be running before you visit. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by for patio and dine-in service or order online for pick up.

the Little Darlin'

South Austin

Follow the bright blue neon arrow off of the road to The Little Darlin’, an unpretentious dive sporting a huge back patio bordered by string-lit trees. Any night of the week, you can find folks perched in oversized Adirondack chairs or posted up on porch swings, blissfully knocking back beers to a soundtrack of classic rock and soul hits. It’s equally fitting for a date, large group hang, or a lazy afternoon of basking in the sun solo. Don’t sleep on the food either—for such a laid-back place, the bites, namely the Carnitas Sliders, really hold their own. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by with a mask for patio and dine-in service or order take-out from the bar.

Drinks Lounge

East Cesar Chavez

Impress your pool shark friends by bringing them to Drinks Lounge, a haven for those who like their beers with a side of a break shot. And even if you have less-than-stellar hand-eye coordination, a live DJ spinning serious jams and an open-floor concept connecting the bar to an outdoor patio make it just as compelling. While they keep their cocktail menu fresh by changing it from season to season, the margaritas are a popular choice for all the right reasons. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by with a mask for patio and dine-in service or order take-out from the bar.

A city institution since 1951, Deep Eddy Cabaret is what “Keep Austin Weird” feels like. A true throwback to a time before the music festivals and tech bros, expect no frills here -- which is, honestly, a huge part of its dive bar appeal. Do expect ice cold beers and a collection of locals willing to reminisce with you about the good ol’ days. Order some chips with guacamole and jalapeño pimento dip from Pool Burger, which is right next door, to snack on while you hang, or take a dip at nearby Deep Eddy Municipal Pool before or after for a full-on classic Austin day. 
How to order: Indoor and patio seating available, masks required for ordering at the bar.

Nickel City

East Eleventh

If your version of heaven is a dive bar with an Elvira pinball machine and tiki cocktails—because, of course it is—head to this East 11th Street standout. There, you can order Painkillers based on your desired potency or just say “screw it” and request a full scorpion bowl of their exceptional Zombie. Accompany it all with some classic bar bites like sliders, wings, and Coney dogs from the onsite Delray Cafe. Regardless of what you choose, Nickel City has such a genuine, chilled-out atmosphere, you’re guaranteed to come back for seconds. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by with a mask for dine-in service or order online for pick up.

Lustre Pearl

Rainey Street

Lustre Pearl is the OG of all the house bars that line the day-drinking mecca of Rainey Street and, when visiting there, you can see why it has stood the test of time where so many others have faltered. While their regular hula hoops and cornhole games may be suspended due to COVID restrictions, you can still sip on an Asher Skye, a margarita with serrano infused tequila, and watch the various citizens of Austin strut by the street with dogs in tow on their outdoor patio. After all, what more could you want from a Sunday Funday?
How to order: Indoor and outdoor seating available, masks required for placing orders at the bar.

Central Machine Works
Central Machine Works Brewery and Beer Hall | Photo by Garrett White

Central Machine Works

East Cesar Chavez

In the mood for local brews? Make your way over to Central Machine Works, where everything from a full-bodied American Lager to a refreshing Pilsner is homemade and on tap. And for those less hop-inclined, there are also amazing cocktails like frozen espresso martinis to sip on while kicking back in the massive indoor-outdoor space (it used to be a factory for making airplane parts). The brewery is also known for hosting fun weekend events, so be sure to check their website for upcoming live music, yoga, and other socially-distanced shindigs. 
How to order/reserve: Stop by or reserve online for patio and dine-in service.

Molly Moltzen is a contributor for Thrillist. 
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