The 21 Best Patios for Eating and Drinking Outside in Austin
Toast the Texas trifecta—tacos, tequila, and sun tans—at these amazing open-air hotspots.
Ah, the first few weeks of spring. As Austin newcomers discover what Texas heat is all about, it’s as good a time as any to soak up the sun while snacking on delicious eats and sipping on refreshing beverages in a breezy outdoor setting. Thankfully, Austin is home to a ton of great patio-equipped restaurants and bars that let you do just that.
Whether you’re looking for something fancy, dog-friendly, sporty, or tropical, there’s an open-air spot in town serving up the experience you’re after. Here’s our guide to the 21 best restaurant patio scenes Bat City has to offer.
Representing North Austin, the Pitch can only be described as a casual sports, food, beer garden, and entertainment complex—if that makes sense. This brand new joint occupies a big ol' swatch of land, spanning four restaurants and two bars plus a ton of outdoor seating to take it all in. It's a great place to partake in trivia nights as well as Austin FC watch parties, as the soccer-tinged name implies.
Another new kid in town, Saddle Up is a Thursday through Sunday beer garden where you can get fresh baked goods, coffee, and a range of tasty drinks. It's a spacious place, stocked with a ton of tarp- and tree-shaded picnic tables. All that room gives way to popular resident food trucks like Micklethwait Craft Meats and Taco Bronco. Snag yourself a $6 Prickly Pear Frosé and kick back for a spell, buckaroo.
A lush natural yard pairs brilliantly with the fresh farm-to-table menu at this welcoming outpost. A beautiful (and rather gigantic) tree shines at the center of the patio, while underneath it diners munch their way through a wide range of enticing salad options and other choice health-forward options. As far as drinks go, in addition to classic cocktails, Vinaigrette also showcases a creative roster of non-alcoholic concoctions, too.
Lustre Pearl (South)
Self-styled as three locations in one, Lustre Pearl South is vying for one of the biggest venues on this list. With two indoor buildings and a massive patio, you’re getting the full range of South Austin bar experiences. In addition to signature cocktails, you can order coffee, turkey burgers, tacos, barbecue, and more via a variety of onsite food trucks. There’s a lively vibe, and its sheer size guarantees you can always carve out a private corner with your friends or fam. Bar-hopping is always a good time, but with all it has to offer, consider this an all-in-one spot for a loaded evening out.
This charmer is a mix of fancy and casual—meaning they sport a polished wine list, but don't take reservations. Run by New York transplants Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel and Arjav Ezekiel, Birdie’s has been making waves ever since it arrived last summer. Known for their seasonally rotating menu, this restaurant and wine bar provides a taste of fine dining inside a laid-back neighborhood environment. Snack on Panisse with pecorino and black pepper—one of our top new dishes of 2021—or test your palate by combing through that aforementioned big ol’ wine list.
St. Elmo Brewing Company
With trivia every Tuesday and bluegrass bands every Thursday, St. Elmo’s Brewing Co. is a great place to unwind after a stressful day. Located at fast-growing development The Yard, the brewery provides a crisp and tidy yet cozy and soulful vibe, with a fresh rotation of house-brewed pale ales, sours, stouts, hard seltzers, and more at the ready. As for eats, resident food truck Spicy Boys Chicken serves up some tasty dishes like Panang Curry Roti and Fried Chicken Sandwiches slathered with Thai basil ranch.
Plaza Colombian Coffee
No disrespect to the standard gin & tonic, but Plaza Colombian Coffee is whipping up cocktails that are, quite frankly, much more fun. We’re talking Espresso Martinis, Apple Cider Mezcal Margaritas, and Sexy Coladas, all served alongside choice live music every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at their outdoor Tiki Bar. Kick back on their huge wooden patio beneath a shady straw umbrella, and if you’re hungry, treat yourself to a Colombiano Sandwich or an order of Empanadas. There’s really no other way to put it—it’s a damn good time.
If you’ve ever tried to work remotely at a coffee shop, you know the pain of fighting over outlets. That likely won’t be a problem at The Hive, a charming South Austin coffee shop and bar. When you walk up to the cute, homey exterior, you may be surprised to find just how expansive the venue is. It’s the perfect place to seamlessly transition from a day of remote work to a night of relaxing—not to mention affordable—cocktails. In addition to side and back rooms, a large outdoor space boasts a playscape for the little ones and plenty of fresh air for all. Send off that last email, then meet up with friends for a sweet Charcuterie Board and a wide selection of local IPAs, ciders, and wine.
A ways down on East 12th Street sits this well-loved and colorful little building, rocking some of the best corn tortillas in town and embodying an incredibly welcoming vibe. It’s hard not to feel at ease chowing down on warm tacos and tostadas while gazing at the beautiful murals that decorate the place. As an added bonus, you can also make a donation toward their community relief efforts in partnership with Austin Mutual Aid's Free Fridge Project, which helps purchase groceries, sanitary items, and more for those in need.
LoLo Wine Bar
LoLo Wine Bar is your classic natural wine bar and bottle shop, complete with a spacious semi-covered patio strewn with colorful orange picnic tables and string lights. If you’re looking for something to sip on as you browse their massive selection, check out the Milo’s All Natural, a delicious spritz with Cardamaro, Fairweather Cider, and Angostura bitters unique to their outdoor bar. To boot, this date-night specialist is known to host fun listening parties and other enticing events.
If you’re looking to impress your friends from LA or New York with a slick cocktail bar and unbeatable views of the city, Zanzibar is the place to go. Their patio may be on a rooftop downtown, but with its plentiful placings of greenery and rattan chairs, it strikes the perfect balance between the urban and the natural. The drink menu dishes up tiki wonders, complete with ceramic cups and tiny umbrellas. Go classic with their take on a Mai Tai, or try their signature Feels Like Summer, a lovely confluence of tequila, pineapple, guava, and chili.
Pet adoption is so big in Austin that the joke goes you’re not even a dog person unless you have two or more pups. It makes sense then that Yard Bar is such a popular spot—not only does its spacious patio make for a great place to meet the whole crew, it literally doubles as a dog park. Yard Bar’s staff even provides a watchful eye on your dogs, so Fido’s tendency to bark at the entrance gate won’t get in the way of you downing drinks. And while your furry pal may have to stick to water only, your human metabolism can process all the sugar in a Doc Brown’s Zoomies cocktail, made with grapefruit vodka, St. Germaine, and mint simple syrup.
Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden
From the outside, with its expansive lot and redwood paneling, Banger’s looks like the classiest house on the block. Inside, however, things are a lot less formal and a lot more fun—it’s the type of beer garden where you can easily waste an entire day away pint by pint. This is especially true during their legendary weekend brunches, which light up Rainey Street with music and the kind of general merriment you can hear miles away. Fill your stomach with one of their trademark sausages or subs to the sounds of a live brass band. And if you want to wash that all down with something unique, check out the Sabé Sake Margarita on draft, featuring tequila-infused Japanese sake with hints of roasted agave.
Sitting outside under Aba’s 100-year-old oak tree, lined with glass and metal lanterns from Morocco and the Middle East, you would never guess there’s a Lululemon around the corner. That's the kind of oasis created on this patio with Mediterranean-inspired food featuring fresh ingredients and plentiful use of olive oil that just might convince your taste buds that you’ve landed in Athens. Take a date and order a couple small plates, like the crispy Short Rib Hummus with grilled onions, sherry, and beef jus, to split.
Back in the day, the location where cafe and bar Kinda Tropical now stands was a gas station—and, although you may not be able to score a lotto ticket and a packet of Slim Jims there now, it continues to fuel the Austin population in myriad ways. Not just via excellent snacks and bountiful drinks, but with the friendly and relaxing vibes emanating from their back patio. It’s a place where you can as easily meet up with friends as you can go and hang out by yourself with a good book. For a quick way to shake off the work day, order a Frozen Turmeric Pina Colada alongside a heaping portion of utterly addictive curly fries.
The Salty Sow
Should your conception of happy hour be incomplete without a charcuterie board, the patio at Salty Sow has your number. As the name suggests, get ready to indulge in decadent, savory meats and small bites to accompany their amazing selection of cocktails. While their patio may not be the biggest on this list, the fact that it is packed nightly is a testament to the good vibes and excellent service dominating the space. Start with the previously mentioned Charcuterie Board and a Curly Tail, a blood orange-inspired tequila cocktail, before moving onto the elderflower liqueur-spiked Sparkling Sangria and a side of the exceptional BBQ Hominy.
The retro, Palm Springs-inspired vibes of Kitty Cohen’s will have you coming back again and again—that, or the opportunity to take a selfie with the portrait of Burt Reynolds on a bearskin rug that is framed in the bathroom. In fact, that detail may tell you everything you need to know about the type of hang it is—a quirky escapist paradise, where you can laugh away through Happy Hour and long after. For an ideal afternoon, lounge under their white-scalloped umbrellaed tables, and order the exquisitely-named Sex Panther, made with El Silencio Mezcal, passion fruit, lemon, sugar, and bitters. There is even a small pool that decorates their patio which, depending on how much you drink, you may be tempted to put your feet in for a dip.
Radio Coffee & Beer
Radio is like the ultimate neighborhood coffee bar with a twist—a place where you can pull up with your laptop and work all day, then stay at the same table to meet your friends for a boozy Happy Hour later. That adaptability might be due in part to their patio, whose picnic benches and tables sit amongst shaded trees, and are always the spot for some prime people (and dog) watching. There’s another added bonus as well—Radio is open until midnight, so it is the perfect spot for those nights where you have to shoot out some emails, but can’t bear to sit inside at your work-from-home makeshift desk one moment longer. In those times, grab a cup of their cold brew and a migas from the Veracruz taco truck parked there—the combination is sure to get you through that deadline without a sweat.
Easy Tiger Linc
There are three locations of Easy Tiger in Austin—one in the north, one in the south, and one in the east. Despite their differences in physical proximity, they all share some common characteristics that make Easy Tiger such a local favorite—mainly, a wide selection of beer, fluffy baked pretzels, and, perhaps most important of all, amazing patio spaces. In its true essence, Easy Tiger is a beer garden, and the energy of the classic German staple is evident to anyone who has spent time on any of their patios. We’re talking long picnic benches under great oak trees, filled with groups of friends clearly celebrating time spent together. And if that isn’t something to toast a beer to, we don’t know what is.
The Little Darlin’
As the saying goes, “X marks the spot”—although, in the case of The Little Darlin, it is a bright blue neon arrow off the road that marks the location of this easy-going, dive bar gem. As well, anyone who has been to The Little Darlin’ will tell you the patio is the main attraction—with its large, string-lit oak tree, and a variety of swinging benches and Adirondack chairs for you to kick back in, you can feel the weight lift off your shoulders the moment you enter the area. This ease only increases once you start in on their food and drinks—order a carnitas slider with their version of a michelada, aka a beer and a bloody mary popsicle, and let the stress of your workday melt away.
Spider House Ballroom
Spider House is the kind of place that caters to every crowd in Austin—you can as easily find a mix of families, UT students, and man-bun-clad hipsters decorating their patio everyday. Its truly beloved-by-all status has helped it remain popular over the two decades it's been around in a city where bars come-and-go on a monthly basis. Spider House’s spacious patio is decked with rainbow-colored string-lights—not to mention, the atmosphere is usually filled as bright with the live music, poetry readings, or independent film screenings that happen there on the regular. It’s the type of place to grab a shot of whisky and a Lone Star and tuck into one of the tables that fills the bar’s nooks and crannies for a great conversation.
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails
While so many spots in the West Downtown area can feel overdone or like they’re trying too hard, Better Half is like the cool cousin you have who seems to effortlessly fit in anywhere. With a selection of both great alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, its patio is as equally good a place to down a double-espresso as it is to shoot back some martinis. The food there also ticks all the boxes, with vermicelli salads and cauliflower tots adding further flavor to the hip-picnic vibes conveyed by the pink umbrellas that cover their tables. For a true amalgamation of the best-of-both-worlds mood that Better Half gives off, order the Waiting for Coffman, a blend of booze and cold brew.
Molly Moltzen is a contributor for Thrillist.