The Ultimate Guide to Austin’s Best Clubs
Where to turn it up till the early hours of the morning.
Got a load of energy? Austin’s not a bad place to come and exert it. Afternoon happy hours, designed to kick start the party after a late lunch, combined with rooftop lounges to watch the sunset and the city’s banging clubs make boozing an extended affair. It’s no wonder we’ve come to be known as a bachelorette party destination (many say that the expired "‘Live Music Capital of the World” slogan should be switched to “Batchelorette Capital of the World,” if only Vegas didn’t exist). You just need to take a look at the novelty bridal veils on Sixth to see why. And the 24-hour taco stands and pizza joints are just waiting for you to stumble in for a very early breakfast. If you’re up for going hard, here’s where to do it.
Opened in 2021, the spiritually themed restaurant, bar, and lounge morphs into a massive party once patrons have lined their stomachs and caught up. You have here a multitude of levels to sing “Hallelujah” on (not the Leonard Cohen song, but rather the Weather Girls/Ginger Spice one) including the downstairs bar adorned with cathedral-like stained glass windows, the upstairs dance floor with church-organ repurposed to DJ booth, and the gothic outdoor patio. Cocktails are themed to the seven deadly sins because they say that the best way to warn off spirits is to drink them.
Self-proclaimed “Austin’s premier lounge and nightclub,” we’ll agree that the Mayfair Lounge is pretty nice, what with being Victorian-inspired and having a disco ball-topped dance floor, but the vibe is somewhat pretentious for a club on Sixth Street. That said, we do need an excuse to get dressed up from time to time (they have a dress code). And who cares if the place is a bit bougie after bottle service and big-name DJs on the decks? It’s open Thursday - Saturday with indoor and outdoor terrace for classy shenanigans.
Cheer Up Charlie's
A spacious queer bar, music venue, and nightclub that’s welcoming and frequented by all, Cheer Up Charlie’s is an ATX fixture that’s always filled with all sorts of bodies, all with love and acceptance on the brain. You’ll dance under rainbow colors and down organic juice cocktails to the happy dance beats, either spun by talented local DJs or performed by a live band. Hungry? There’s a vegan food truck out back.
It’s one of the best places on the east side for a dance—Outer Heaven is a funky club that proudly embraces the misfits that make Austin fabulously weird. So much so that it’s developed quite a following. Zero pretension, fair prices, and good vibes all around, come d-i-s-c-o and keep Austin’s true spirit alive. Karaoke nights are Tuesdays to Thursdays.
Let’s keep things fun on the Eastside with another club banger, The Volstead. The sister to Hotel Vegas (and thus, with a connected backyard patio), is guaranteed to be jam-packed with revelers busting moves and keen to witness a hot shot dance, indie, or punk act in the process. Yes, there’s a weekend cover charge, but that gets you into both Volstead and Hotel Vegas and the experience is totally worth a few bucks.
A few steps from Cheer Up Charlie’s, this is where to take the after-party to if you still have some steam in those dancing shoes. The venue hosts throwbacks galore, whether that be the sixties, seventies, or Beyonce nights. Basically, they aim to please fans of just about every decade, accompanied by lasers and music videos on screens by the dance floor. There are also regular queer nights on Tuesdays, though the place is always very all-inclusive.
Empire Control Room
Empire Control Room & Garage has an open, artsy, warehouse-y vibe, and steadily plays hosts to top DJs and bands who make good use of said space with wall projections as you make dubious use of said space with your dancing. A 200-capacity outdoor patio offers respite by the calming creekside, but on special occasions (and when the weather’s nice) it transforms to DJ nights with a satellite bar.