It’s that time again! The Austin Food Blogger Alliance has released the best damn guide to where to eat and drink in Austin, and I have once again taken on the laborious task of writing about cocktails. I expect a thank you card from each and every one of you after what I put my liver through. (I loved every minute of it!)
Bribery Bakery 1900 Simond Avenue Austin, TX
A colorful, whimsical bakery with an array of tasty, fruit-forward cocktails. If you’re hanging out near Mueller, it’s definitely worth a try even for the ambiance alone! Happy hour is weekdays from 3-6 with $2 off all cocktails, beer and wine.
The Townsend 718 Congress Avenue Austin, TX
This elegant space has got to be 1 of my top 5 cocktail experiences, ever. Maybe top 3. Okay, definitely top 3. The space is luxurious, the staff are masterful in their knowledge and ability, and they even have delicious food. One of my favorite cocktails there is the Bottom Buzzer, which is even adorned with a delicate pink flower. The Townsend has an obsession with detail, and it shows. If you’re looking for a great cocktail experience, then definitely come here. (Also, I know I’m not supposed to be talking about food, but they serve some of the most tender octopus in town.)
Nightcap 1401 W 6th St, Austin, TX
One of the newest, and most impressive spots in town. This adorably renovated house feels modern, sleek, and even somehow cozy. The cocktails are as easy on the eyes as they are on the lips. The Honeymoon Suite may look like it’ll taste like dessert, but it brings a delicate balance with the tart dried berries they sprinkle atop to make it appear like rose petals on sheets. Their Legs in the Air cocktail (they like to have fun the with the names) adds a lovely herbal note with violet, and the I Would Hit That is perhaps their most visually arresting.
Small Victory 108 East 7th Street Austin, TX
An intimate speakeasy tucked away downtown. The space is small, but never feels crowded, and the bartenders truly know their stuff.
Whisler’s Tavern 1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX
It appears unassuming, but the interior is absolutely breathtaking at this craft cocktail bar. Expect amazing drinks, and equally exceptional food trucks at this slightly off-the-beaten-path bar.
Weather Up 1808 East Cesar Chavez Street Austin TX
Infinitely secretive, and hardly advertised, this place draws the crowd that wants to be ‘in the know.’ The cocktails are expertly crafted, and they have an obsession with ice, which clearly works in their favor.
Midnight Cowboy 313 East 6th Street Austin, TX
This small, luxe space was formerly occupied by a massage parlor, hence the name. Mystery abounds, reservations are practically mandatory, and this bar eschews loud, club-like scenes for intimate booths with cart service; you get your drink made table side, and the bartenders truly know their stuff.
Techo 2201 Manor Rd, Austin, TX
This intimate mezcaleria offers balanced, artfully crafted cocktails. The menu boasts over 20 mezcals currently, and the owners tirelessly obsess over the quality of their products, and take great care in carefully curating their selection. There’s a great patio, and I consider this bar to be one of the best kept secrets in town.
The Hightower 1209 East 7th Street Austin, TX
This spot, known mostly for their incredible food, also boasts an incredible cocktail program. Many of the current offerings are perfect for the patio, including their Tequila Fresa Press, and wine gimlets. I personally love the Oaxahappened, a smoky mezcal cocktail with salt bitters.
El Sapo 1900 Manor Road austin, TX
This tasty burger spot offers more than just frozen margaritas. Their impressive cocktail program includes several creations made with house-infused spirits, including the tequila-based El Cucuy which is infused with jalapeños. If you’re looking for something balanced and light, look no further than their cucumber and gin drink, the Sureño.
Barley Swine 6555 Burnet Road Austin, TX
Beverage manager, Robert Stevens, has created a menu using seasonal ingredients from local farms. Many of the components, including shrubs and sodas, are made in house. Select drinks are available for their Swine Time happy hour Monday-Thursday from 5-6:30.
Garage Bar 503 Colorado Street Austin, TX
This absolutely hidden space (it’s inside a parking garage) is worth the hunt. The space is dark, sexy, and their upscale drinks list will appease any liquid appetite.
Isla 208 West 4th Street Austin, TX
Isla’s Caribbean cantina makes the best Daiquiris and Mai Tais in town, with several delicious creations of their own. They have an impressive selection of rums, and do offer flights. Happy hour runs all night on Wednesday and 4-7 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Peche 208 West 4th Street Austin, TX
Peche (next door to Isla) is known for absinthe, and pre-prohibition cocktails with a twist. Not sure what to order? Tell the bartender what flavors you usually like, and they’re sure to make you something you’ll love. Happy hour (all night Sunday and Monday, and 4-7 Tuesday-Friday) offers $5 select cocktails.
Roosevelt Room 307 West 5th Street Austin, TX
This place was named Austin’s Best New Cocktail Bar 2015 by Thrillist. The menu celebrates the 7 major drinking eras since the cocktail’s birth in the 1800s. Don’t stop at the downstairs bar, there’s also an intimate lounge upstairs. Happy hour is all night Tuesday, and 5-7 any other day.
School House Pub 2207 Manor Road Austin, TX
This unassuming pub offers more than just elevated bar fare, they also have a solid selection of specialty cocktails that you can get for $2 off from 3-7. I recently had the Extra Credit which had just a hint of sweetness to match a slightly bitter flavor, and was balanced all around.