As a member of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, it is with great pleasure, and perhaps a bit too much of a sense of duty (you read that right), that I present to you the places to get the best, damn cocktails in our fair city.
Nicolai McCrary Photography – Qui
1600 E 6th Street Austin, TX 78702 (512) 436-9626
Nicolai McCrary Photography – Qui
As a card-carrying member of the East Side, I can’t express enough of my love for Qui, and its ever-inventive cocktails. (When I first went, they were all Game of Thrones themed!) Their menus change fairly frequently, and they do not disappoint ever. On anything.
1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (512) 433-6521
Few things are more inventive than the food at Odd Duck. One of those few things, is their cocktails. Their new, daily happy hour includes some amazing $5 moscow mules.
Claire McCormack Photography – drink.well
207 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751 (512) 614-6683
Everyone due north of anything downtown, knows to visit drink.well. They are the cocktail kings of the (barely) north! I guess I should stop with the Game of Thrones references….
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. Last time I went, I just told the man what types of drinks I normally like, and he blended up something customized, and wonderful just for me.
400 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701
You can’t mention cocktails in Austin without an honorable (in a good way) mention of margaritas. Margaritas aren’t the only thing they have, but they do make incredible ones.
W Austin, 200 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 542-3660
I drink so much at Trace that I’d like to formally apologize for whatever it is I may have done there. I don’t know what it is, but maybe they do. Sorry, just in case. (This is all code for: the cocktails are great!)
Lamar Plaza Shopping Center, 1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (512) 383-8309
Where do you go when you want an amazing pub quiz, or just want to chill very elegantly before a movie?
4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 385-2900
This avant grade, hip spot is known as much for its food and vibe as its drinks. Bonus: the bartenders double as vinyl djs. The French 75 is always a favorite.
208 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 494-4011
From absinthe to handmade cocktails, to a open-late kitchen and extraordinarily knowledgeable staff – Peche has it all. Happy hour is usually 4-7, every day but Saturday and all night Sunday-Monday. I go for the Spicy Bees Knees when they have it, and they can custom make just about anything if you let them know the flavors you’re looking for.
East Side Show Room
1100 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 467-4280
I honestly feel deeply ashamed that it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been to East Side Show Room. Those guys are the best, and past visits have taught me that they sometimes have absinthe if you ask nicely.
1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 480-0781
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.
708 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 320-1526
The Gatsby is a great stop downtown with a 20’s flair. I’m a big fan of the Old Sport with old-fashioned bitters, and a bit of lemon oil.
1808 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 524-0464
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.
503 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 369-3490
Winners of a recent ‘best drink in Austin’ contest (and also in a crazy-cool location – it’s literally hidden away in a parking garage). They also have a great weekday 5-7 happy hour with discounts on both cocktails and wine.