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Hibiscus margaritas at Cafe No Se
Hibiscus margaritas at Cafe No Se
Stephanie S./Yelp

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How to Day Drink Properly in Austin

Sunlight boozing for the first half of the day

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There are many perfectly legitimate reasons to be drinking during the daytime, especially in Austin. The recent rise of all-day restaurants has made the dream of an afternoon cocktail much easier to achieve. Maybe you are unemployed, and time is all relative to you anyway. Maybe you’re entertaining clients who expect a three-martini lunch. Maybe you’re here on vacation and want to see the sights and drink the drinks. No matter what your situation and occasion for day-drinking, we have some suggestions for you.

Oh, and please drink responsibly. Water is your friend.

Where to Day Drink if You Are…

A Freelancer

Considerations: Your ideal day-drinking locale is a place where you can find cheap drinks, a good meal, and human interaction — or at least free Wi-Fi. Cost is of the utmost importance here. This may be an excursion — you even changed out of your sweatpants! — but let’s not go crazy.

Recommendations: Better Half. Need to work? This bright, modern space serving both coffee and cocktails provides an ideal setting for getting stuff done. The restaurant is known for its crispy cauliflower tots and juicy burgers, plus there’s a cute patio out back for when the weather is nice. 406 Walsh Street, Clarksville

A cocktail from Better Half
A cocktail from Better Half
Better Half/Facebook

Easy Tiger. A downtown beer garden and bakery by Waller Creek, Easy Tiger is a great spot to hang out over a pretzel and beer cheese. However, what makes the bar and beer garden truly special is the happy hour, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, which serves drinks like an Old Fashioned or a shandy for $3. If you can’t wait until then, alcohol starts flowing at 11 a.m. 709 East 6th Street, Downtown

Nickel City. A great bar for all occasions, Nickel City’s reasonably priced drinks and friendly atmosphere make it a great place to post up for a while. It starts serving at noon, as does essential greasy food truck Delray Cafe, so get a frozen Irish coffee and some cheese tots and get to work. 1133 East 11th Street, Central East Austin

Bouldin Creek Cafe. At the friendly neighborhood vegetarian spot, drinks are cheap (even before happy hour, which runs from 3 to 7 p.m.) and everything is made from scratch. Plus, breakfast is served all day, for those of you who rise at the crack of noon. 1900 South 1st Street, Bouldin Creek

Working Nights

Considerations: Ideally, you would like a place conducive in continuing your complete avoidance of natural light, to avoid triggering any semblance of circadian rhythms. You need a place that starts serving before your 1 p.m. bedtime.

Cocktails from Radio Coffee
Cocktails from Radio Coffee
Jenn Hair

Recommendations: Unfortunately, since TABC prevents the sale of alcohol before 7 a.m., you’re probably going to have to mingle with the daywalkers for a while as they get their morning coffee. Radio Coffee & Beer (now with booze) and Wright Bros. Brew and Brew both open early (6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., respectively), with great beer selections, life-saving breakfast tacos (Radio is home to a Veracruz All Natural truck, providing some of the best tacos in Austin), and coffee, if you’re into that. Radio Coffee & Beer, 4208 Manchaca Road, South Austin; Wright Bros. Brew and Brew, 500 San Marcos Street, East Side

Irene’s. Pro: Offers booze starting at 7 a.m., which pairs nicely with its sweet and savory toasts. Con: You’ll have to sit outside until the bar opens at 11 a.m. 506 West Avenue, Downtown

Deep Eddy Cabaret. If you can stay up until noon, this historic dive bar has a pool table, cheap drinks, and a dark, windowless interior conducive to your type of day-drinking. 2315 Lake Austin Boulevard

A Very Important Businessperson

Considerations: Must have martinis. You want a place with impeccable service, stellar food, and an atmosphere that is not too distracting.

Recommendations: Clark’s. Whether you class it up with freshly shucked oysters or get down with one of Austin’s best burgers, this intimate neighborhood spot is sure to impress. It’s known for a great wine list and martinis made with care (note to funemployed people: the restaurant offers up $5 martini specials and half-price burgers starting at 3 p.m). 1200 West 6th Street, Clarksville

A cocktail at Le Politique
A cocktail at Le Politique
Le Politique/Facebook

Le Politique. This French restaurant in the 2nd Street district makes lunch a fancy affair. There’s an ample raw bar, a well-curated wine list, and plenty of seating. There’s also a bakery next door — try the almond croissant. 110 San Antonio Street, Downtown

Café No Sé. All-day rosé specials? Say no more. The bright decor and creative California-inspired plates at this South Congress spot offer a great atmosphere for a more relaxed meeting. 1603 South Congress Avenue, Travis Heights

Trace at the W Hotel. The downtown hotel’s “lunch on the fly” special — which includes an appetizer, entree, and box of cookies plus valet parking for $13 — is honestly one of the best deals in town and convenient for getting in and out in a hurry. Add in festive drinks from the bar and excellent people watching, and you’ve got a true power lunch. 200 Lavaca Street, Downtown

A Tourist

Considerations: You want to see the iconic Austin spots ... and drink. Why not? You’re actually on vacation.

A mezcal cocktail from Odd Duck
A mezcal cocktail from Odd Duck
Odd Duck/Facebook

Recommendations: Lamberts Downtown Barbecue. You may have heard something about the barbecue here. Lambert’s offers some serious brisket and other Texan classics (Frito pie, green chili queso) that you can enjoy, seated, with a full bar and no lines. 401 West 2nd Street, Downtown

Russian House. For something unexpected but still quintessentially Austin, head to this fun, quirky restaurant, where you can start tasting over 100 house-infused vodkas starting at 10 a.m. on weekends (you’ll need to wait until 4 p.m. on weekdays, but it’s worth it). Traditional decor and costumes and cheap Russian delicacies make this a must-visit. 307 East 5th Street, Downtown

Odd Duck. One of Austin’s best restaurants also has a great bargain happy hour. Drink specials start at 2:30 p.m., which include $6 palomas. From 5 to 6:30 p.m., prices are halved for the top section of the menu, which can easily be turned into a meal. The restaurant is also known for its stellar service, so you’ll get a taste of Southern hospitality. 1201 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker

Fareground. No more arguing over where to eat — Austin’s first food hall has six of the city’s best restaurants in one place (Italian Italic, ranch-to-table Contigo, Henbit from famed Emmer & Rye, popular sushi Ni-Kome, Dai Due Taqueria, and Israeli TLV), plus a full bar. Conveniently located in the middle of downtown, there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, plus a grassy knoll to lounge on. 111 Congress Avenue, Downtown

Keeping Sunday Funday Alive

Drinks from Pool Burger
Drinks from Pool Burger
Annie Whitehead

Considerations: You believe brunch is an all-day marathon. You want delicious food and a steady stream of alcohol that will keep the party going.

Recommendations: Banger’s. You’ve seen the infamous one-liter mimosas. Go get one. (The sausages are great, too.) 81 Rainey Street, Rainey

Sour Duck Market. From the owners of Odd Duck and Barley Swine, Sour Duck serves one menu all day — meaning, you can have breakfast pizza at 6 p.m. or a burger at 9 a.m. Draft cocktails, beer, and wine are served after 11 a.m., and the expansive patio provides a great place to hang out. 1814 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, Central East Austin

Holy Roller. Since you’re waking up late anyway, stop by this punk rock diner serving all-day breakfast. Chef Callie Speer offers a creative take on brunch, with essential Austin dishes like the migas kolache smothered in queso, a biscuit topped with Stiles Switch brisket, and choco tacos. 509 Rio Grande Street, West Sixth

Pool Burger. Fruity tiki cocktails and creative burgers make this spot by Deep Eddy pool an easy choice for an all-day hangout. Plus, there’s homemade soft serve available in Tahitian vanilla and dark chocolate, perfect for dipping the crinkle-cut fries into. 2315 Lake Austin Boulevard

Taking a Break From the Kids

Mimosas from Josephine House
Mimosas from Josephine House
Eddie S./Yelp

Considerations: You want someplace darling to get together with friends and bitch about everything over a glass of wine.

Recommendations: The Grove. Let’s face it: This is already your home base. The truly impressive wine menu has been training grounds for more than one sommelier — if your spouse asks about frequent visits, just say you’re doing research. 6317 Bee Cave Road; 800 West Sixth Street; 3001 Ranch to Road 620 South; 11700 Domain Boulevard

Jack Allen’s Kitchen. The bar at the Westlake location of Jack Gilmore’s restaurant has some of the best people-watching in Austin. Jack Allen’s menu is nothing fancy — a variety of margaritas, a killer beef short rib quesadilla, chicken-fried everything — but it’s a great standby. 3600 North Capital of Texas Highway, Westlake

Josephine House. This adorable Clarksville abode and its shaded patio are wonderful places to gab for hours over tasty snacks and chilled wine. 1601 Waterston Avenue, Clarksville

Tiny Boxwoods. The crisp white aesthetic and cool marble countertops give this Houston export an upscale air. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon pick-me-up — and don’t miss those famous cookies. Enjoy drinks on the patio if the weather is nice, 1503 W 35th Street, Bryker Woods

Other Ideas

For more daylight boozy inspiration, check out:

Flower Child

500 West 2nd Street, , TX 78701 (512) 777-4132 Visit Website

Holy Roller

509 Rio Grande Street, , TX 78701 (512) 502-5119 Visit Website

Clark's Oyster Bar

1200 West 6th Street, , TX 78703 (512) 297-2525 Visit Website

Odd Duck

1201 South Lamar Boulevard, , TX 78704 (512) 433-6521 Visit Website

Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden

79 Rainey Street, , TX 78701 (512) 386-1656 Visit Website

Pool Burger

2315 Lake Austin Boulevard, , TX 78703 (512) 334-9747 Visit Website


401 West 2nd Street, , TX 78701 (512) 494-1500 Visit Website

The Grove

6317 Bee Cave Road, , TX 78746 (512) 327-8822 Visit Website

Jack Allen's Kitchen [360]

3600 N Capital of Texas Hwy Ste D, Austin, TX 78746


529 Bienville Street, , LA 70130 (504) 529-8811 Visit Website

Radio Coffee & Beer

4204 Menchaca Road, , TX 78704 (512) 394-7844 Visit Website

Sour Duck Market

1814 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, , TX 78702 (512) 394-5776 Visit Website

Better Half

406 Walsh Street, Austin, Texas 78703 Visit Website

Le Politique

110 San Antonio Street, , TX 78701 (512) 580-7651 Visit Website

Russian House

307 East 5th Street, , TX 78701 (512) 428-5442 Visit Website

Wright Bros. Brew and Brew

500 San Marcos Street, , TX 78702 (512) 655-3442 Visit Website

Easy Tiger

1501 East 7th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 839-8523 Visit Website


111 Congress Avenue, , TX 78701 Visit Website

Nickel City

1133 East 11th Street, , TX 78702 Visit Website

Café No Sé

1603 South Congress Avenue, , TX 78704 (512) 942-2061 Visit Website

Josephine House

1601 Waterston Avenue, , TX 78703 (512) 477-5584 Visit Website

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