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A cocktail from the Roosevelt Room
A cocktail from the Roosevelt Room
Eric Medsker

The Essential Austin Cocktail Bars

Time-tested drinks

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A cocktail from the Roosevelt Room
| Eric Medsker

Bars are important to Austin, where drinking is a time-honored ritual. As the number of cocktail bars increase every day, it’s important to pay respect to the city’s essential cocktail bars, where drinks come first.

Here are the best places which hold the craft of the cocktail in utmost respect, where bartenders pay dedicated attention to the drinks they’re serving. There is the longtime classy spot the Driskill, knowledgeable bars including Roosevelt Room, and the need-to-know lounge of Midnight Cowboy, and welcoming neighborhood spot Nickel City.

While, yes, a majority of these cocktail bars are found in/near downtown Austin, the city has way more boozing options. Navigate newer bar offerings with the cocktail heatmap, versatile bars for every drink preference, iconic dive bars, and great restaurant bars. Sit back, sip, and enjoy.

Missing a favorite drinking establishment below? Make a case for it in the comments below or on the tipline.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Tigress Pub

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100 W N Loop Blvd Unit G
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 600-3232
Visit Website

The North Loop bar is one of Austin’s earlier cocktail bars, serving up well-made cocktails in an easy space, led by Pam Pritchard.

The Tigress Pub
The Tigress Pub
The Tigress Pub/Facebook

2. Drink.Well

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

The North Loop favorite fills up fast, but it’s worth standing to grab one of the craft cocktails from Jessica Sanders and her stellar team.

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

3. Small Victory

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108 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78701
(737) 701-0500
Visit Website

Industry vet Josh Loving's intimate downtown cocktail haven serves up well-done classics, along with a choose-your-own-adventure guide, martini-style.

Small Victory
Small Victory
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

4. Nickel City

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1133 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78702

The neighborhood bar successfully highlights all sorts of cocktails, from common yet well-made classics like Old Fashioneds to other drinks that don’t get as much love, like Paper Planes and the tiki-like Guilty Pleasure.

Nickel City
Nickel City
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

5. The Driskill Bar

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604 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 474-5911
Visit Website

The Driskill’s mezzanine lounge offers a sense of history and class with its many nooks and crannies to explore. It is the place to dress up and feel fancy with solidly classic drinks.

The Driskill Bar
The Driskill Bar
The Driskill/Facebook

6. Firehouse Lounge

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605 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 212-4244
Visit Website

The hidden bar within the actual hostel features a fun vibe and excellent cocktails.

Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge/Facebook

7. Garage

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503 Colorado St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 369-3490
Visit Website

Yes, it’s difficult to find the entrance of the fittingly named downtown cocktail bar. But once there, find classic and original cocktails in a snazzy, dim space.

A cocktail at Garage
A cocktail at Garage
Garage/Facebook

8. The Roosevelt Room

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307 W 5th St
Austin, TX 78701

Nerd out over the downtown cocktail bar's sprawling menu, which spans drinking history from from the early years to modern classics.

Roosevelt Room
Roosevelt Room
Marc Swendner

9. Midnight Cowboy

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313 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 843-2715
Visit Website

The former brothel-turned-speakeasy offers a small, refined oasis from the mess of Dirty Sixth under Tacy Rowland. Be prepared to make two-hour reservations for tableside service and some of the best craft cocktails. Occasional walk-ins are welcome too and the back patio is open as well with a limited menu.

Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy
Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

10. Whisler's

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1816 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 480-0781
Visit Website

Scranton Twohey’s East 6th bar was an immediate hit with its neighborhood-friendly massive outdoor space and approachable and intriguing cocktail list. Sneak upstairs to Mezcaleria Tobala for a smoky tasting tour of mezcals.

Whisler’s
Whisler’s
Mark Weatherford

11. Half Step

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75 1/2 Rainey St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 391-1877
Visit Website

A shining bright light amidst the bars on a busy drinking hub, industry veteran Chris Bostick brought his art of the cocktail over to Rainey Street. He even geeked out with an in-house ice machine, where chunks of frozen water are particularly crafted for each drink.

Half Step
Half Step
Claire McCormack

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1. The Tigress Pub

100 W N Loop Blvd Unit G, Austin, TX 78751
The Tigress Pub
The Tigress Pub
The Tigress Pub/Facebook

The North Loop bar is one of Austin’s earlier cocktail bars, serving up well-made cocktails in an easy space, led by Pam Pritchard.

100 W N Loop Blvd Unit G
Austin, TX 78751

2. Drink.Well

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

The North Loop favorite fills up fast, but it’s worth standing to grab one of the craft cocktails from Jessica Sanders and her stellar team.

207 E 53rd St
Austin, TX 78751

3. Small Victory

108 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
Small Victory
Small Victory
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Industry vet Josh Loving's intimate downtown cocktail haven serves up well-done classics, along with a choose-your-own-adventure guide, martini-style.

108 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78701

4. Nickel City

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

The neighborhood bar successfully highlights all sorts of cocktails, from common yet well-made classics like Old Fashioneds to other drinks that don’t get as much love, like Paper Planes and the tiki-like Guilty Pleasure.

1133 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78702

5. The Driskill Bar

604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
The Driskill Bar
The Driskill Bar
The Driskill/Facebook

The Driskill’s mezzanine lounge offers a sense of history and class with its many nooks and crannies to explore. It is the place to dress up and feel fancy with solidly classic drinks.

604 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701

6. Firehouse Lounge

605 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge/Facebook

The hidden bar within the actual hostel features a fun vibe and excellent cocktails.

605 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701

7. Garage

503 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
A cocktail at Garage
A cocktail at Garage
Garage/Facebook

Yes, it’s difficult to find the entrance of the fittingly named downtown cocktail bar. But once there, find classic and original cocktails in a snazzy, dim space.

503 Colorado St
Austin, TX 78701

8. The Roosevelt Room

307 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701
Roosevelt Room
Roosevelt Room
Marc Swendner

Nerd out over the downtown cocktail bar's sprawling menu, which spans drinking history from from the early years to modern classics.

307 W 5th St
Austin, TX 78701

9. Midnight Cowboy

313 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy
Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

The former brothel-turned-speakeasy offers a small, refined oasis from the mess of Dirty Sixth under Tacy Rowland. Be prepared to make two-hour reservations for tableside service and some of the best craft cocktails. Occasional walk-ins are welcome too and the back patio is open as well with a limited menu.

313 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78701

10. Whisler's

1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Whisler’s
Whisler’s
Mark Weatherford

Scranton Twohey’s East 6th bar was an immediate hit with its neighborhood-friendly massive outdoor space and approachable and intriguing cocktail list. Sneak upstairs to Mezcaleria Tobala for a smoky tasting tour of mezcals.

1816 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

11. Half Step

75 1/2 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701
Half Step
Half Step
Claire McCormack

A shining bright light amidst the bars on a busy drinking hub, industry veteran Chris Bostick brought his art of the cocktail over to Rainey Street. He even geeked out with an in-house ice machine, where chunks of frozen water are particularly crafted for each drink.

75 1/2 Rainey St
Austin, TX 78701

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