No matter what the season, you’re going to kick your night off with a happy hour, because you live in Austin and patio season doesn't stop for Winter, so what's NOT to be happy about? To help you out, we’ve identified the six best places to boozily start your evening, whether you're looking for 50-plus Texas brews or some competitive foosball.
If you love Texas and you really love beer, Craft Pride is your jam. This Rainey St favorite takes local pride to a whole new level with more than 50 taps of locally brewed beers in a casual, reclaimed wood-clad house whose ceiling has an also-wooden map of Texas starred with all the breweries' locations, in case you should find yourself lying on the floor face up for any reason.
Longbranch Inn is notorious for its low-key vibe and pours that lean on the heavy side (much like a certain OTHER Notorious). This dark, cozy spot oozes laid back authenticity with nearly 80yrs of boozy history, a no frills drink selection, well-curated jukebox, and a steady flow of interesting regulars.
Meeting with your gang at Mugshot’s locks in a few guarantees: 1) You will not get a fancy cocktail. 2) You will not spend more than $15. 3) You will have fun. There’s just something about this place that puts everyone in a good mood... probably something to do with the cheap pitchers of Lone Star that can take the sting out of the most crushing of foosball defeats.
Chicago House is a welcome new-ish addition to Dirty 6th, boasting some stunning antique interiors with exposed brick, wood floors, large windows, and a spacious upstairs. More importantly, the standout draft selection gets supplemented with a steady flow of rare firkins from Chi (the owners hail from the South Side, hence the name).
Yellow Jacket Social Club
Thankfully NOT a meeting ground for stinging insects, this mostly-patio Eastside bar is choc-full of just about every species of hipster, and who could blame them with a friendly, fast staff, tunes that are always on point, and a solid beer selection supplemented by killer comestibles like their roasted beet and goat cheese sandwich or juicy ropa vieja-style Cuban beef.
This lively, modern-looking Mexican joint has standout happy hour specials everyday (think $1 off all drafts and half-priced apps). This is where you should go to sit on the patio and have micheladas, mango-habanero margaritas, an unnecessary amount of chips and salsa, and a surprisingly robust calf workout trekking through their sand pit.
Craft Pride on Rainey St is a beer bar with 52 drafts on tap, all from the Lone Star state. Featuring options like Hay Merchant in Houston, Craft & Growler in Dallas, and Bangers, brewed right there in Craft Pride’s backyard, Craft Pride's certainly Texas proud. They offer to-go cases of bottles and bombers, all curated by an OG Black Star brewer.
Longbranch is a laid-back East Austin bar with a lived-in vibe, sometimes accented by live music.
A downtown dive bar with crazy drink specials, screenings of TV shows, pool, foosball, and a patio. Plus, on Fridays, they open early at 5p for $2 cheeseburgers & chips and $4 pitchers of Lone Star.
A former boarding house for settlers, The Chicago House has 20 rotating craft beers on tap and two cask ales in house. Neighboring pub and restaurant The Parish Underground provides some delicious bar bites to pair with The Chicago House's wide selection of American brews.
This high school mascot-inspired bar has a late-night patio with plenty of ambiance, booze, and not-so-bar-like snacks. Locally soured ingredients make their handmade paninis and apps as tempting as that second drink.
The owners of Takoba know what they're doing with Mexican food -- they grew up in a rural area in central Mexico before relocating to Austin. They're dedicated to fresh, local ingredients and the menu reflects this philosophy, offering a great selection of standard favorites like quesadillas and more authentic, lesser-known dishes like a traditional Mexican pork stew. Best of all may be the outdoor patio-cum-sandbox that's filled with multicolored lounge chairs.