To beat the relentless heat, buzzing mosquitoes, and relentless heat, a great outdoor bar can be your oasis of frosty beverages and fresh breezes after work, on weekends... and pretty much every other waking moment of summer. Because we care, we rounded up the best of the best places in town where you can grab an ice-cold beer or a tart-but-sweet classic daiquiri from the comfort of a shady, booze-filled haven.
Whisler’s is the the go-to patio on the East Side for great classic cocktails, spicy eats from Thai-Kun, and ample seating. And, it’s walking distance from a handful of other great spots if you want to keep the party going.
With the brunch game on lockdown (beef tongue hash!), a serious cocktail list, and essentially no option but to sit outside, Contigo's is a serious contender for patio champion.
Barton Springs Rd
Do you know where to go when you’re in the mood for margaritas and chips and salsa (and queso and ceviche... )? El Alma is the answer. In addition to a generous happy hour, the Barton Springs restaurant has a shady rooftop with views of Austin’s skyline.
In what has surely climbed our list since Waller Creek’s recent renovations, Easy Tiger is a heavy-hitting spot for outdoor revelry, thanks to a next-level beer list, sausage-based comforts, and more ping-pong action than you can shake a paddle at.
The family-friendly hangout in Southwest Austin is perfect for those of us who travel with kiddos and fur-babies. The tree-filled grounds, cheap beer, live music and food truck options make Moontower Saloon a weekend must for South Austin residents.
Since relocating to Red River, Cheer Up Charlie’s has quadrupled in size -- both in space and subsequent number of patrons. The bar and music venue has patio options all around the building from picnic tables to upholstered lounge areas along with one of the best cocktails in town -- try a Golden Ticket next time you find yourself here.
There are a lot of rooftop choices downtown but what sets Rattle Inn apart is the casual atmosphere (aka no bro-y businessmen) and the roof which provides much-appreciated shade in this oven of a city. Check out their happy hour (Tues-Fri, 4-7pm) where cheap drinks pair perfectly with free Skee-Ball!
East Cesar Chavez
The garden patio at Weather Up is a great little refuge during Austin’s sweltering summers. We like to do brunch here with a spicy Bloody Mary and picks from their fancy brunch menu which is still somehow flying under the radar. Brunch goes down from 11am to 3:30pm, perfect for those of us who like to sleep in.
Want to impress your date? Take them to Backbeat; their inventive cocktail menu is second to none and the breezy, plant-filled rooftop is a perfect backdrop for getting to know each other. And, you can take it up a notch with a dozen fresh oysters on the half shell. Ooooo!
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1. Whisler's1816 East 6th St, Austin
2. Contigo Austin2027 Anchor Ln, Austin
3. El Alma1025 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
4. Easy Tiger709 E 6th St, Austin
5. Moontower Saloon10212 Manchaca Rd, Austin
6. Cheer Up Charlie's900 Red River St, Austin
7. Rattle Inn610 Nueces St, Austin
8. Weather Up1808 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin
9. Backbeat1300 South Lamar, Austin
Whisler’s is the the go-to patio on the East Side for great classic cocktails, spicy eats from Thai-Kun, live music shows, and ample seating. And, while the outside of Whisler’s may seem pretty ordinary, the bar’s unique brand of elegance is evident inside, where the juxtaposition of different elements makes for a truly lovely place in which to do your drinking. Chandeliers and candles cast a glow on stone walls, while a few tiny tables exist for quiet conversation. Drinks are muddled behind a gleaming wooden bar, and other unexpected touches -- intentionally cloudy mirrors, the occasional piece of art -- combine to create a one-of-a-kind feel.
Contigo Austin strives to bring the ranch to the people, having patrons sit down at large wooden tables on an equally expansive patio to chow down on flawless BBQ, other seasonally diverse menu items, and a long list of craft beer. Open for dinner and brunch, you can enjoy outdoor or indoor seating, as well as some great happy hour specials. Contigo is the perfect place to catch up with friends or bring a more casual date.
Do you know where to go when you’re in the mood for margaritas and chips and salsa (and queso and ceviche... )? El Alma is the answer. In addition to a generous happy hour, the Barton Springs restaurant has a shady rooftop with views of Austin’s skyline. Pro-tip: order the The Margarita Chilanga, an ice-cold frozen margarita infused with a spicy chili powder, for the ultimate local's wind-down experience.
A bakery by day and beer (garden) by night, (also open during the day), Easy Tiger's bake shop features artisanal breads, pretzels, and housemade meats. A combination not often explored, the downstairs barroom allows you retire from your morning coffee and croissant to a night of exploring over 30 local craft brews under a canopy of lights in the outdoor beer garden.
The family-friendly hangout in Southwest Austin is perfect for those of us who travel with kiddos and fur-babies. The tree-filled grounds, cheap beer, and live music make Moontower Saloon a weekend must for South Austin residents, or any visitor interested in savory food truck eats that include Texas chili dogs and “Deez” Lugnuts -- pepper jack cheese stuffed dough, wrapped in bacon and served with ranch dip.
This spacious bar and music venue in Red River is home to kombucha on tap, organic juice cocktails (be sure to try the Golden Ticket, made with kombucha, whiskey, and ginger) local beers, and biodynamic wines. The equally large outside patio has everything from picnic tables to upholstered lounge areas. Cheer Up Charlie's also hosts regular drag shows and performances by bands.
This West 6th honky-tonk supplies live music, dancing, and fun, Lone Star-inspired signature cocktails like the "Ranch Water" (Hornitos Reposado Tequila, Patron Citronge, and fresh lime juice) and "Rattle Rita" (Effen cucumber, habanero lime syrup, fresh lime juice, and a splash of soda). Equally important to the drinks is the roof, which provides much-appreciated shade in this oven of a city. Check out the happy hour, when cheap drinks pair perfectly with free Skee-Ball!
Coming to Austin via NYC, this sophisticated cocktail haunt's wide selection of cocktails are categorized by their respective spirit, allowing for a "Choose Your Own Adventure" style experience. A large, outdoor garden area makes this the perfect place to imbibe when the weather's looking...well you get it. Booze isn't the only thing on the menu here, though; we like to do brunch here with a spicy Bloody Mary and picks from their fancy brunch menu which is still somehow flying under the radar.
Backbeat is a lush space that oozes mid-century modern cool. A rooftop deck provides gorgeous views of South Austin and the cocktail menu is fresh and inventive. You can also enjoy fresh East Coast oysters and charcuterie plates while sipping on any of the delicious drinks.