Vibe: This downtown Austin bar is easy to overlook with its drab brown exterior, but the single red light bulb marking its presence sticks out. After buzzing “Harry Craddock” on the call box, you’ll be escorted into a long, narrow, dark bar that boasts lavish black leather booths and floral wallpaper that gives way to sections of exposed brick. Despite being in the middle of Austin’s rowdy 6th Street, Midnight Cowboy strives to create a more relaxed atmosphere with its house rules, including no phone calls, laptops, or loud conversation. While guests are encouraged to flirt with staff, they’re also asked to refrain from excessive displays of affection. Some rules are meant to be broken, but not these -- unless you’re into spending your night on the street.
Best kept secret: While the cocktail lounge is now quite upscale and fancy, with its low lighting, vintage bar, and three private rooms -- it was formerly home to a brothel in Austin’s red light district. Similar to its current state, the original space was concealed as a massage parlor and operated for more than 30 years. That’s a lot of happy endings.
What to order: Rattlesnake -- rye whiskey, lemon juice, Turbinado syrup, egg white, absinthe rinse, and Angostura bitters.