clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Where to Actually Get a Decent Drink in Dirty Sixth

Beyond shots and well drinks

Dirty Sixth
Dirty Sixth
Kevin Harber/Flickr

Say Dirty Sixth and it conjures vivid images of drunk crowds, blaring live music from bars, and bachelor/bachelorette parties galore, all within the confines of the blocked-off downtown street.

The bar row is technically found on East 6th Street (not to be confused with the hipster-leaning East 6th Street on the other side of I-35) or, as it was formerly known, Historic Pecan Street. The area can be problematic, but there is no question that it’s a must-hit destination.

Amidst those spring break vibes, drink seekers can find truly great bars and restaurants for cocktails and beers… if they know where to find ’em. With that in mind, here is Eater Austin’s guide to actually drinking well on Dirty Sixth Street (and nearby areas), listed from west to east, along with suggested libations. There are speakeasies, classy joints, and bars with burgers.

The Driskill

The historical hotel is technically on Dirty Sixth and offers a dark, cozy, and classic Texas forever space for elegant drinks and conversations. There's a great daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. with $3 Texas beers.
604 Brazos Street
Hours: 2 p.m. to midnight, Monday and Tuesday; noon to midnight Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday; noon to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Suggested drink: Since the hotel is 130 years old, go with one of its anniversary cocktails, the Driskill Julep, made with Dripping Springs whiskey

Firehouse Hostel

Enter the lobby of the Firehouse Hostel, found just off Sixth Street, and make your way through the bookshelf door for expert cocktails and snackable foods, like tacos, sliders, and hummus. Get there earlier to grab a table, and work through the crowds to order a drink at the bar. Happy hour here runs late, until 8 p.m. each day.
605 Brazos Street
Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday and Tuesday; 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday; noon to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday
Suggested drink: Go classic with a daiquiri.

Midnight Cowboy

Don’t walk by the unmarked door found on Sixth Street and miss out on a classy, fun evening out (read: not rowdy). Ring the buzzer marked "Harry Craddock" and step into a welcoming refuge. Cocktails are meant to be enjoyed and lingered over, especially when required reservations are two hours. Double-check to see if the "vacancy" light above the doorway — if it’s lit, that means there's walk-in space available. The bar also fall under the Alamo Drafthouse umbrella. Founder Tim League owns the property.
313 East 6th Street
Hours: 6 p.m. to late, Tuesday through Sunday
Suggested drink: For some showmanship, get one of the table-side preparations, like with the Smoke and Mirrors.

Parkside

The restaurant offers up some of the best food found on the street, from chef/owner Shawn Cirkiel chef/owner Shawn Cirkiel. The drinks and wine selection are good and easy. Even better: happy hour, which runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily, includes half-off all cocktails and bar food. Head up to the rooftop deck and watch the going-ons of Dirty below.
301 East 6th Street
Hours: 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday
Suggested drink: a glass of sparkling wine

Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy/Facebook

Shakespeare's Pub

Okay, this is as close to a “real” Dirty Sixth Street experience as it gets on this guide, but for groups, nothing beats the sharable $5 cocktail pitchers. Plus, there are different floors, including a rooftop space, so the crowds don’t get too intense.
314 East 6th Street
Hours: 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Thursday, noon to 2 a.m. Friday to Sunday
Suggested: a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea, because you might as well take it there

Jackalope

Daytime hours make the dive bar perfect for day-drinking and lunch, especially with the substantial burgers and waffle fries. Take a photo with the giant jackalope statue while you’re there.
404 East 6th Street
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
Suggested drink: Embrace a shot and bomb with the Twisted Sister, with Deep Eddy Ruby Red and Ancho Reyes.

Casino El Camino

The dive offers iconic burgers, cheese fries, and epicly overloaded and ever-spicy Bloody Marys that is practically a meal on its own. It’s another good bet for daytime eating and drinking. The wide-ranging jukebox doesn't hurt, either.
517 East 6th Street
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
Suggested drink: Bloody Mary, brave the level 10 spicy if you dare, but opt for a #6 if you do like it hot.

Easy Tiger

Just out of the ways of Dirty Sixth proper is Easy Tiger with its oasis of a beer garden along Waller Creek. It offers a fine beer and whiskey list, alongside a glut of satisfying food from sausages to pretzels.
709 East 6th Street
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Suggested drink: Try one of the limited American beers on tap.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Austin newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world