Knoxy Knox/Courtesy of Backbeat

Backbeat

South Lamar

The owners of drink.well. have struck a chord with their new concept, Backbeat, officially open and kicking ass. The lush space oozes mid-century modern cool, and the rooftop deck provides gorgeous views of town. The cocktail program is the most fresh and inventive in town, with drinks like the appropriately named, electric blue Neon Jungle, made with smoky mezcal, Jamaican rum, coconut-washed bianco vermouth, fresh pressed pineapple, island spices, and blue curaçao. You can also enjoy fresh East Coast oysters and charcuterie plates.

Marc Swendner/Courtesy of the Roosevelt Room

The Roosevelt Room

East Fifth St

Drinking at The Roosevelt Room is like a history lesson, you know... with liquor. The giant cocktail menu over the bar breaks classic cocktails up into the eras in which they were created. Travel through time via Sazeracs, Mai Tais, and Paper Planes, or try one of its signature drinks created by the acclaimed co-owners. Most impressive is the Cigar Box -- mezcal, smoked black tea syrup, lavender, and tobacco bitters, presented with a flamed cinnamon stick.

Otoko

Otoko

South Congress

South Congress Hotel is home to Otoko, the 12-seat micro restaurant. Its focus is Tokyo-style sushi with seasonal kaeseki, a style found in Kyoto, Japan that combines sushi with cooked dishes. The tasting menu will vary and is designed around what is available and in season. Getting into minimalist, chic Otoko and its adjoining bar, Watertrade, requires a ticket which can be purchased on its website.

Molly Winters/Courtesy of The Chicon

Chicon

East Sixth

New eatery Chicon, from the team behind Contigo, promises laid-back, Texas ranch-style food with a neighborhood vibe. The newly transformed space is perfect for happy hour cocktails or dinner. Start with a cocktail like the Mash & Wash (bourbon, hops, grapefruit, black pepper), work your way over to the Little Neck clams (sauerkraut, ham hock, smoked pork, potato broth) and then on down to the cheeseburger & fries (challah bun, aïoli, pickles). If you haven’t hit a wall yet, the dessert offerings are seasonal and on point.

Aubrie Pick/Courtesy of Geraldine's

Geraldine's

Rainey St

Geraldine’s -- located on the fourth floor of the swanky Hotel Van Zandt -- combines great food, great cocktails, and live music in a huge, beautiful space. Executive chef Frank Mnuk’s resume includes working in Michelin-rated eateries in New York, and his team includes pastry chef Callie Speer (Swift’s Attic) and bar director Jen Keyser (Contigo, Midnight Cowboy). These dishes were meant to be shared. We love the Texas strip loin, juicy steak served with cheddar tots, and potato mushroom fondue. You have to explore Geraldine’s cocktail program; it’s full of fun, Austin-centric drinks like the Dazed and Confused-inspired Party at the Moon Tower (frozen tequila, canteloupe, Cointreau, lemon). You can also grab a drink on the rooftop patio bar next to the pool.

Jin Chu-Ferrer/Courtesy of Emmer & Rye

Emmer & Rye

Rainey St

Just a block away from Rainey Street bars, Emmer & Rye is serving complex, farm-to-table food in a bright open kitchen. A seemingly endless number of chefs are back there executing dishes with surgical precision. The menu simply lists ingredients, so each dish placed in front of you is unrecognizable. Common ingredients and fermented things you have never heard of mingle in each perfect bite. Typically cacio e pepe (which is just pasta, pepper, and parmesan) is super-basic, but this place managed to make it the best thing you have ever eaten. Emmer & Rye’s version uses aged Swiss cheese, and is sprinkled with delicate dandelion greens.

Robert J. Lerma/Courtesy of Small Victory

Small Victory

Downtown

Making your way into Small Victory is a clandestine experience. The door downstairs is marked, though not obviously; then, you walk up a small flight of stairs, fling open the wooden door, and behold... a tiny, gorgeous bar, full of people, and the buzz of 10 conversations. The menu offers vintage cocktails like the Daisy de Santiago (Dominican rum, lime juice, sugar syrup, soda, yellow Chartreuse float) from a 1939 recipe. Or split a punch bowl with your crew; the current pick is Philadelphia Fish House Punch (brandy, Jamaican rum, peach brandy, lemon juice, demerara sugar).

Nightcap

Nightcap

Clarksville

Nightcap combines the best things in life: booze, brunch, and pastries. The pastry-centric menu has everything from desserts to brunch to cocktails, with savory plates as well. The unique concept offers this assortment: Cookie Cereal (puffed rice, meringue, mint milk), Coffee & Donut (coffee panna cotta, cardamom cream, crispy ham, ricotta beignet), and cocktails like the cheekily-named Embarasse Moi (Hendricks gin, lemon juice, St. Germain, sparkling water). Anyone up for a nightcap?

Wu Chow

Wu Chow

Downtown

From the owner and business partner of Swift’s Attic, Wu Chow, one of the most anticipated openings of the year, represents all eight styles of Chinese cuisine -- including a lengthy dim sum menu available on weekends. The hot (as in popular, not as in hot-hot) menu items include soup dumplings, which are eaten by poking a hole in the dumpling and slurping the broth out first, and the spicy Chinese classic mapo tofu. The bar serves fresh, Asian-inspired Tiki cocktails and, for you crazy kids, Wu Chow is open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Found Media Group

Ophelia

East Sixth

Lynzy Moran, the chef responsible for food trucks Baton Creole and Lady Luck, has put her stamp on another project. Ophelia took over the space formerly occupied by Mettle, transforming the interior into throwback New Orleans, with lush reds and shrines to female music icons like Etta James. The food is legit Cajun with Lynzy’s signature modern touch. The comfort food-filled menu includes classics like beignets, crawfish & grits, and a boudin grilled cheese. And, of course, there are drinks you’d find in Louisiana; beer from Abita Brewing, hurricanes, frozen daiquiris, Sazeracs, and more.

Barley Swine

Barley Swine

Burnet Rd

Long regarded as one of Austin’s top restaurants, Barley Swine recently packed and moved up the road into a new, bigger, and better space. The formerly cozy restaurant has now doubled its seating and added cocktails to the always-inventive menu. You can go with the chef’s tasting menu -- 12 small courses -- or order a la carte. The current menu includes fried chicken in smoked fish caramel and sweet potato pie with pecan, cider, and marshmallow for dessert.

Courtesy of Paperboy

Paperboy

East Eleventh

A food truck on uber-hip East Eleventh that only serves breakfast-y foods and has a nice patio? That sounds like a perfect combination -- and it is. Paperboy is a go-to for coffee (from Tweed Roasters!) and a bite on your way to work (it opens at 7am Tues-Fri), and is even better on lazy weekends for brunch with your buds. We love the savory simplicity of the B.E.C., a bacon, egg, and pimento cheese sandwich on brioche bread, and the “sweet” toast, toasted bread topped with ricotta, tangerine marmalade, granola, strawberry, and honey. Mmmm.

Bullfight 

Bullfight

Airport Blvd

The group behind Parkside, Olive & June, and The Backspace recently opened a new Spanish-influenced concept, Bullfight. The menu is full of tapas and dishes you’d find in any city in Spain -- jamón ibérico, paella, tortilla -- intermixed with modern interpretations. For drinks, it has both classic cocktails and a wine list consisting of all Spanish wines.

Juniper ATX

Juniper

East Cesar Chavez

Juniper’s space is almost out of place on scrappy East Cesar Chavez. The modern, industrial space is beyond striking -- and the food, drinks, and service live up to expectations. The menu at Juniper is definitely Northern Italian but, like most Austin eateries, is injected with a little bit of Texas. The plates are small and beautifully plated; the puffy potatoes and shaped pasta are simple, albeit standout, dishes. And because no Italian restaurant would be complete without wine, it has a small, nicely curated list. The cocktails incorporate juniper-infused gin, Italian amaros, and aperitifs, but aren’t limited to those; try the Self Portrait (gin, Amaro Meletti, Cocchi Americano, citrus bitters).

Parlor & Yard

Parlor & Yard

West Sixth

Parlor & Yard (in the old Arro space) is the kind of bar day-drinking dreams are made of. On weekends, it has a brunch buffet where for $20 you can have all the fried chicken, biscuits & gravy, flank steak Benedict, and pressed sandwiches (and more!) you can eat, along with $2 mimosas. Once you’re thoroughly stuffed, move over for the games. Parlor & Yard has a sunny, AstroTurf patio decked out with a shuffleboard, ping pong, and foosball table ready for sparring.

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1. Backbeat 1300 South Lamar, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

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.

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2. The Roosevelt Room 307 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701 (East Austin)

Drinking at The Roosevelt Room is like a history lesson in liquor. The giant cocktail menu over the bar is broken into classic cocktails and the corresponding eras in which they were created. Travel through time via Sazeracs, Mai Tais, and Paper Planes, or try one of Roosevelt's signature drinks. The Roosevelt Room is an industrial space in the Warehouse District that is dominated by a long, stool-lined bar and wood-and-velvet booths.

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3. Otoko 1603 South Congress Avenue, Austin, TX (South Austin)

South Congress Hotel is home to Otoko, a 12-seat micro restaurant. Its menu focuses on is Tokyo-style sushi with seasonal kaeseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. The tasting menu will vary and is designed around what is seasonally available. Getting into minimalist, chic Otoko and its adjoining bar, Waterfront, requires a ticket which can be purchased on its website.

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4. Chicon 1914 E 6th, Austin, TX (East Austin)

Chicon, brought to you by the same team behind Contigo, promises laid-back, Texas ranch-style eatery with a neighborhood vibe. This space is perfect for happy hour cocktails or dinner- we suggest starting with a cocktail like the Mash & Wash (bourbon, hops, grapefruit, black pepper), work your way over to the Little Neck clams (sauerkraut, ham hock, smoked pork, potato broth) and then on down to the cheeseburger & fries (challah bun, aïoli, pickles). If you saved some extra room, the seasonal dessert offerings are worth it.

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5. Geraldine's 605 Davis St Ste 400, Austin, TX 78701

Geraldine’s -- located on the fourth floor of the swanky Hotel Van Zandt -- offers up elevated American cuisine, craft cocktails, and live music in a chic, massive space. The menu features dishes inflected by local Austin flavors, like fermented chile hush puppies with pickled fennel ranch, cornmeal-fried oyster mushrooms, and local goat tartare. Head to the rooftop bar and enjoy unparalleled views of Lady Bird Lake as you sip cocktails poolside.

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6. Emmer & Rye 51 Rainey St, Ste 110, Austin, TX 78701

Named after two grains, Emmer & Rye is a contemporary American restaurant that, unsurprisingly, serves a grain-heavy menu in a dining room where bundles of wheat are on full display. More than 15 heirloom grains, including White Sonora, Blue Beard Durum, and Red Fife, are house-milled and used in baguette sandwiches, pastries, and pastas like the creamy, slightly nutty cacio e pepe with Challerhocker cheese. The menu also emphasizes fermented vegetables and meat-centric plates (the fermenting and butchering are also done in-house). In addition to à la carte service, Emmer & Rye has a food cart that circles the dining room during brunch and dinner with dim sum-style small plates. Offerings change daily but you’ll always find innovative compositions with unusual ingredients -- how often do you see Blue Beard Durum wheat on a menu, after all?

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7. Small Victory 108 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Making your way into Small Victory feels like an undercover experience. The door downstairs is marked, though not obviously; then, you walk up a small flight of stairs, open the wooden door, and behold... a small, beautiful bar full of people. The menu offers vintage cocktails and punch drinks large enough to share.

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8. Nightcap 1401 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703 (Clarksville)

Nightcap offers a menu with some of the best things in life: booze, brunch, and pastries. The pastry-centric spot has everything from desserts to brunch to cocktails, with savory options as well. The unique concept boasts this assortment: Cookie Cereal (puffed rice, meringue, mint milk), Coffee & Donut (coffee panna cotta, cardamom cream, crispy ham, ricotta beignet), and cocktails like the Embarasse Moi (Hendricks gin, lemon juice, St. Germain, sparkling champagne). Anyone up for a nightcap?

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9. Wu Chow 500 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

From the owner and business partner of Swift’s Attic, Wu Chow features eight styles of Chinese cuisine -- including a lengthy dim sum menu available on weekends. Popular menu items include soup dumplings, which are eaten by poking a hole in the dumpling and slurping the broth out first, and the spicy Chinese classic mapo tofu with a chili and bean based sauce. The bar also serves fresh, Asian-inspired Tiki cocktails, and Wu Chow stays open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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10. Ophelia 507 Calles St, Austin, TX 78702

Chef Lynzy Moran, responsible for food trucks Baton Creole and Lady Luck, has put her stamp on another: Ophelia. The interior is a throwback to New Orleans, with lush red colors and shrines to female music icons like Etta James. The food is authentic Cajun cuisine with Lynzy’s signature modern touch. The comfort food-filled menu includes classics like beignets, crawfish & grits, and a boudin grilled cheese. Of course, there are drinks you’d find in Louisiana too; beer from Abita Brewing, hurricanes, frozen daiquiris, Sazeracs, and more.

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11. Barley Swine 6555 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757

One of Austin’s most popular restaurants, Barley Swine -- located along the bustling Burnet Rd. -- is home to a sprawling dining room, craft beer, and a seasonally-rotating, multiple-course tasting menu (a la carte ordering is also available). The restaurant's extensive beverage lists -- including beer, cocktails, and wine -- complement the contemporary American, Southern-inflected menu. Expect innovative dishes, like an aged beef tartare with preserved lemon, pig skin noodles with shrimp dumplings, a glazed duck leg, or steamed pork belly.

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12. Paperboy 1203 E 11th St, Austin, TX (East Austin)

A food truck on the hip East Eleventh that specializes in breakfast, Paperboy is the ideal go-to for coffee and a bite on your way to work, or on a lazy Saturday for brunch with friends. Your stop here isn't complete without the savory simplicity of the B.E.C. -- a bacon, egg, and pimento cheese sandwich on brioche -- or the “sweet” toast, topped with ricotta, tangerine marmalade, granola, and honey.

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13. Bullfight 4807 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751

The group behind Parkside, Olive & June, and The Backspace bring you a Spanish-influenced concept, Bullfight. The menu is full of tapas and dishes you’d find in any city in Spain -- jamón ibérico, paella, tortilla, cured meats such as jamón Ibérico and cheeses manchego and mahón -- with a modern interpretation. The regional mixing of tastes also extends to drinks, offering both classic and modern cocktails, along with Spanish only wine list.

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14. Juniper 2400 E Cesar Chavez St Ste 304, Austin, TX 78702

Juniper’s modern, industrial space is beyond striking -- and the food, drinks, and service are equally so. The menu at Juniper is definitely Northern Italian but, like most Austin eateries, is injected with a little bit of Texas. The plates are small and beautifully presented; the puffy potatoes and shaped pasta are simple, albeit standout, dishes. There is a small, nicely curated wine list, and the cocktails incorporate juniper-infused gin, Italian amaro's, and aperitifs, but aren’t limited to those; try the Self Portrait (gin, Amaro Meletti, Cocchi Americano, citrus bitters).

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15. Parlor and Yard 601 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Parlor & Yard is the kind of bar where day-drinking dreams are made of. On weekends, it has a brunch buffet where for $20 you can have all the fried chicken, biscuits & gravy, flank steak Benedict, and pressed sandwiches (and more!) you can eat, along with $2 mimosas. Once you’re thoroughly satisfied, move over for the games on the AstroTurf patio decked out with a shuffleboard, ping pong, and foosball table.