clock menu more-arrow no yes
Drink.Well
Drink.Well
Drink.Well/Facebook

Where to Drink in Austin While Avoiding the SXSW Crowds

Take cover with booze

View as Map
Drink.Well
| Drink.Well/Facebook

Drinking is as necessary as eating during South by Southwest (SXSW) craziness, and no Austinite wants to walk into a bar full of badge-wearing people shilling their start-up, film, or band, when all you want is to throw back a familiar cocktail or beer and pretend nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Get away from all of that noise and drink up with Eater’s updated guide to the best bars not participating in the festival.

Find sweet relief (and an extensive beer list) at Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery in Crestview, opt to stay south at patio haven The Little Darlin’, or embrace the casual and familiar vibes of Nickel City. From dives to pubs to wine bars, there’s something for everyone.

Looking to avoid SXSW with food? Eater has you covered over here. For other drinking needs, scope out Austin’s essential cocktail maps, hot new ones, iconic drinks, and places for margaritas. If you are SXSWing, check out the rest of Eater’s coverage for more dining and drinking ideas.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Aristocrat Lounge

Copy Link

Dive-ish bar entrepreneur Randall Stockton transformed former The Poodle Dog Lounge into a neighborhood-friendly bar in Brentwood with food from Three Little Pigs in tow. There are kegged and frozen cocktails but none of the accompanying pretension.

2. Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery

Copy Link
7020 Easy Wind Dr
Austin, TX 78752
(512) 452-2337
Visit Website

This Crestview cooperatively owned pub pours a fine selection of craft beers, both from its own brewers and across the country.

3. The Tigress

Copy Link
100 W. North Loop Blvd.
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 600-3232

This small North Loop cocktail bar gives new meaning to "attention to detail" when it comes to craft cocktails and beers. Every pour is precise, every pint perfection.

The Tigress
The Tigress
The Tigress/Facebook

4. Workhorse Bar

Copy Link
100 N Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
Austin, TX 78751

North Loop spot Workhorse Bar has a tap wall crammed with affordably priced craft beers, plus super cheap well drinks and well-made cocktail classics. Go for a margarita, stay for a brew you’ve never heard of before.

Workhorse Bar
Workhorse Bar
Workhorse Bar/Facebook

5. Drink.Well

Copy Link
207 E 53rd St.
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 614-6683
Visit Website

The craft cocktails at the North Loop bar are poured by knowledgeable bartenders who love to talk about their process. Beware: it is a small bar that fills up quickly, but it's a great place to bring a small group of friends.

Drink.Well
Drink.Well
Drink.Well [Official]

6. Barfly's

Copy Link
5420 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 452-6455
Visit Website

Now is the time to drink at North Austin dive bars. Might as well start with the best one.

7. Crown & Anchor Pub

Copy Link
2911 San Jacinto Blvd
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 322-9168

SXSW thankfully (or not so thankfully) overlaps with spring break for University of Texas students, it doesn’t mean you should avoid the north campus bar for a beer on the patio and/or a game of darts inside.

Crown & Anchor
Crown & Anchor
Crown & Anchor/Facebook

8. The Butterfly Bar

Copy Link
2307 Manor Road
Austin, TX 78741
(512) 478-5282

The Butterfly Bar at the Vortex Theater on Manor features a dark cozy interior, but the real draw is the outdoor beer garden, perfect for sunset drinks. Bonus: one of the city’s best Italian trucks, Patrizi’s, is parked on the patio.

9. Nickel City

Copy Link
1133 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78702

The friendly Central East Austin neighborhood bar offers something for everyone.

Nickel City
Nickel City
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

10. Apt 115

Copy Link
2025 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78702
(737) 333-0780
Visit Website

Take the time to explore many many wines at the East Seventh Street wine bar.

11. St Roch's Bar

Copy Link
515 Pedernales St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 777-4441
Visit Website

East Austin bar St. Roch’s caters explicitly to locals during SXSW, and the bar is just far enough down East Sixth not to get completely slammed by the hordes.

St Roch’s
St Roch’s
St Roch’s/Facebook

12. Winebelly

Copy Link
519 W Oltorf St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 487-1569
Visit Website

This South Austin tapas neighborhood mainstay nimbly masters both affordable food and drink offerings. Fill up on tapas and make your way through the wide range of wines.

13. Frazier's

Copy Link
2538 Elmont Dr
Austin, TX 78741

The East Riverside bar is the perfect new dive to hole up with food and drinks. It’s even from a co-owner of famed Austin honky-tonk White Horse.

14. Bender Bar & Grill

Copy Link
321 W Ben White Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 447-1800

No-nonsense sports haven Bender Bar features cheap drinks and solid service with a neighborhood feel.

15. The Little Darlin'

Copy Link
6507 Circle S Rd
Austin, TX 78745

Family-friendly and super casual, The Little Darlin’ has a great patio and cheap drink specials deep in south Austin.

1. The Aristocrat Lounge

6507 Burnet Road Austin, TX 78757

Dive-ish bar entrepreneur Randall Stockton transformed former The Poodle Dog Lounge into a neighborhood-friendly bar in Brentwood with food from Three Little Pigs in tow. There are kegged and frozen cocktails but none of the accompanying pretension.

2. Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery

7020 Easy Wind Dr, Austin, TX 78752

This Crestview cooperatively owned pub pours a fine selection of craft beers, both from its own brewers and across the country.

7020 Easy Wind Dr
Austin, TX 78752

3. The Tigress

100 W. North Loop Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
The Tigress
The Tigress
The Tigress/Facebook

This small North Loop cocktail bar gives new meaning to "attention to detail" when it comes to craft cocktails and beers. Every pour is precise, every pint perfection.

100 W. North Loop Blvd.
Austin, TX 78751

4. Workhorse Bar

100 N Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78751, Austin, TX 78751
Workhorse Bar
Workhorse Bar
Workhorse Bar/Facebook

North Loop spot Workhorse Bar has a tap wall crammed with affordably priced craft beers, plus super cheap well drinks and well-made cocktail classics. Go for a margarita, stay for a brew you’ve never heard of before.

100 N Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
Austin, TX 78751

5. Drink.Well

207 E 53rd St., Austin, TX 78751
Drink.Well
Drink.Well
Drink.Well [Official]

The craft cocktails at the North Loop bar are poured by knowledgeable bartenders who love to talk about their process. Beware: it is a small bar that fills up quickly, but it's a great place to bring a small group of friends.

207 E 53rd St.
Austin, TX 78751

6. Barfly's

5420 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751

Now is the time to drink at North Austin dive bars. Might as well start with the best one.

5420 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751

7. Crown & Anchor Pub

2911 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78705
Crown & Anchor
Crown & Anchor
Crown & Anchor/Facebook

SXSW thankfully (or not so thankfully) overlaps with spring break for University of Texas students, it doesn’t mean you should avoid the north campus bar for a beer on the patio and/or a game of darts inside.

2911 San Jacinto Blvd
Austin, TX 78705

8. The Butterfly Bar

2307 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78741

The Butterfly Bar at the Vortex Theater on Manor features a dark cozy interior, but the real draw is the outdoor beer garden, perfect for sunset drinks. Bonus: one of the city’s best Italian trucks, Patrizi’s, is parked on the patio.

2307 Manor Road
Austin, TX 78741

9. Nickel City

1133 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
Nickel City
Nickel City
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

The friendly Central East Austin neighborhood bar offers something for everyone.

1133 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78702

10. Apt 115

2025 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702

Take the time to explore many many wines at the East Seventh Street wine bar.

2025 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78702

11. St Roch's Bar

515 Pedernales St, Austin, TX 78702
St Roch’s
St Roch’s
St Roch’s/Facebook

East Austin bar St. Roch’s caters explicitly to locals during SXSW, and the bar is just far enough down East Sixth not to get completely slammed by the hordes.

515 Pedernales St
Austin, TX 78702

12. Winebelly

519 W Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704

This South Austin tapas neighborhood mainstay nimbly masters both affordable food and drink offerings. Fill up on tapas and make your way through the wide range of wines.

519 W Oltorf St
Austin, TX 78704

13. Frazier's

2538 Elmont Dr, Austin, TX 78741

The East Riverside bar is the perfect new dive to hole up with food and drinks. It’s even from a co-owner of famed Austin honky-tonk White Horse.

2538 Elmont Dr
Austin, TX 78741

14. Bender Bar & Grill

321 W Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

No-nonsense sports haven Bender Bar features cheap drinks and solid service with a neighborhood feel.

321 W Ben White Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

15. The Little Darlin'

6507 Circle S Rd, Austin, TX 78745

Family-friendly and super casual, The Little Darlin’ has a great patio and cheap drink specials deep in south Austin.

6507 Circle S Rd
Austin, TX 78745

Related Maps