Ten years ago, the best Austin locale for drinking was clearly the stumble-friendly 6th Street, and five years ago the Eastside burned bright and hot with fresh Edison bulb gentrification, but these days, the best place to drink in Austin is undoubtedly Rainey Street.
What once was a sleeping street of bungaloos a short pedicab ride from Downtown has now been saturated with enough bars to rival its Downtown college counterpart, except instead of $2 you-call-its, you're getting classic cocktails and microbrews. The demographics are heavy on husband hunters and work-hard, play-harders, but no amount of questionable patrons can spoil such a wealth of wonderful watering holes. Two of the city's best beer bars, Banger's and Craft Pride, combine for an unbelievable 150 taps, while neighboring Half Step imported one of LA's best bartenders to create an old-fashioned cocktail experience that's refined but without pretense. The whiskey selection at The Blackheart is world-class, plus its stage is one of Austin's most underrated. If that doesn't do it for you, there are at least 10 other totally respectable bars like Clive Bar, Lucille, and Bar 96 to stop at along the way.