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Austin Bartenders Share Their Favorite Cheap Drinks

Best bets for low-cost beers and cocktails.

Weather Up Austin
Weather Up Austin
Weather Up Austin/Facebook
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

As people whose lives revolve around booze, Austin bartenders know exactly where to go for the specific drink they crave. For Cheap Eats Week, Eater asked the city’s cocktail and beer slingers to name their favorite inexpensive drinks. Here’s what they had to say.

Josh Loving, owner of opening-soon Small Victory
- Weather Up’s $7 until 7 p.m. happy hour.
- Jeffrey's half-off entire wine list on Sundays, which may not be "cheap," but [there are] insane deals on so many difficult or nearly impossible to acquire wines.
- Texas French Bread’s half-off wines on Mondays.

Jason Stevens, director of bars, spirits and beverage of Congress
My cheap drink go-to is a High Life pony and an Overholt rye old fashioned. It's about $1.50 all in if you make it at home, and it’s solid.

Bron Hager, co-owner of Garage
Bottle of Shiner Bock at Dry Creek [Cafe], been going on for years.

Michael Phillips, general manager of Midnight Cowboy

Cold, cheap beer and Bloody Mary mix. What's not to love?

If I'm drinking beer on the cheap and feeling a little burnt out on Lone Star (heresy?), I'll reach for Miller High Life Pony. At just 7 ounces, you can bet every drop is gonna be cold and proper. They're about $1 each at most places that carry it, and just plain adorable. A Michelada is a go-to early in the day. Cold, cheap beer and Bloody Mary mix. What's not to love? Interpretations from store to store vary quite a bit. Some are heavy on the citrus-end, some use generous portions of Worcestershire, and sometimes they just use plain Zing Zang. At the house, I keep my own Michi spice blend on-the-ready for porch drinkin’.

Craftsman Craftsman [Official]

Craftsman. [Photo: Craftsman/Facebook]

Brandon Testa, owner of Craftsman
My personal favorite cheap drink would have to be our $1 Miller High Life Mini's dressed with Trechas seasoning. The salty, sour, sweet from the Trechas is a perfect compliment to the champagne of beers.

Brian Floyd, manager of Weather Up
The $4 daily whiskey at The Wheel. A shot of green chartreuse and a beer at King Bee. The tops for drinks and food? The sake social happy hour at Uchiko.

Kyle Gundlach, bartender of Weather Up
The Grackle.

The Grackle. [Photo: Grackle/Facebook]

Justin Elliott, director of hospitality of The Townsend

My old stomping ground at Qui has the Until the Sun Goes Down menu of aperitivi for $5 that I absolutely adore (and am thrilled that I can enjoy now with regularity now that I'm no longer working there). I'm sure I'm partial because those guys are and always will be my fam, but eating and drinking the pulutan menu at Qui is honestly probably the best bang-for-buck dining in town and most weekdays it's still always really chill out there.

The drinks are great and blissfully strong.

Other cheapo drinking in town I can't live without is the $6 happy hour menu at Isla. When sneaking out for an early dinner break during these long workdays of getting The Townsend open, obviously I'm going to need a quick trip to a tropical paradise. Trey [Jenkins] and his team over there are hilarious and the drinks are great and blissfully strong and the food is deeply satisfying.

For home use, of course, you're definitely blowing it if you don't have a bottle each of the Casal Garcia Vinho Verde and Vinho Verde Rose in your fridge at all times from the months of, say, April through September.


1801 Post Oak Boulevard, , TX 77056 (713) 522-4808 Visit Website

The Grackle

1700 East 6th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 520-8148 Visit Website


1204 West Lynn Street, , TX 78703 (512) 477-5584 Visit Website

Alley Cat

2000 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, Texas 78702

King Bee Lounge

1906 East 12th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 600-6956 Visit Website

Texas French Bread

2900 Rio Grande Street, , TX 78705 (512) 499-0544 Visit Website

Isla [Closed]

208 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701 (301) 370-8986

The Wheel

1902 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, , TX 78702 (512) 531-9696 Visit Website

Dry Creek Cafe & Boat Dock

4812 Mount Bonnell Rd, Austin, TX 78731 (512) 453-9244

Weather Up

159 Duane Street, Manhattan, NY 10013 (212) 766-3202 Visit Website

Qui [Closed]

1600 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 436-9626 Visit Website