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A hand holding a cocktail in a clear glass with red liquid and two berries.
A cocktail from Milonga Room.
Milonga Room/Facebook

The Essential Austin Cocktail Bars

Expertly crafted drinks

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A cocktail from Milonga Room.
| Milonga Room/Facebook

Bars are important to Austin, where drinking is a time-honored ritual. The city overflows with bars, so it’s important to pay respect to the city’s essential cocktail bars, where well-crafted drinks come first.

Here are the best bars that hold the craft of the cocktail in utmost respect, where bartenders pay dedicated attention to building excellent drinks. 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, among others. Sit back, sip, and enjoy.

While, yes, a majority of these cocktail bars are found in/near downtown Austin, the city has way more boozing options. Navigate versatile bars for every drink preference, iconic dive bars, and great restaurant bars.

As with all businesses, be sure to call ahead to make sure each bar is still open or if there are updates on current offerings and service models, as things are changing constantly. Wear a mask, tip well, and if you’re ordering delivery, try to order directly from the bars themselves.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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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
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The North Loop bar is one of Austin’s earlier cocktail bars, serving up well-made classic, house, and low-abv cocktails in an easy space, led by mastermind Pam Pritchard. The bar is open for indoor and outdoor service; takeout cocktails can be ordered online.

A bar top with shelves of bottles and glasses.
The Tigress Pub
The Tigress Pub/Facebook

2. Drink.Well

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207 E 53rd St
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 614-6683
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The North Loop favorite serves up excellent craft cocktails from owner Jessica Sanders and her stellar team which includes the highly talented Caer Maiko Ferguson of Asian cocktail pop-up Daijoubu. There is indoor and outdoor service, as well as curbside pickup service via online orders.

A bar with padded bar seats.
Drink.Well.
Drink.Well

3. Small Victory

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108 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78701
(737) 701-0500
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Industry vet Josh Loving's intimate downtown cocktail haven serves up well-done classics, along with a choose-your-own-adventure guide, martini-style. There is indoor dine-in service (reservations are available), as well as takeout cocktails.

A bar with a bar top on the left and tables with a long blue banquette on the right.
Small Victory.
Robert J. Lerma/Eater Austin

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. There is indoor and outdoor space, plus takeout frozen cocktails are available.

Nickel City
Nickel City
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

5. Here Nor There

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612 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 949-7995
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While it seems like it’s difficult to get into the hidden downtown bar, it actually isn’t. Just download the app and book a required reservation (read: you don’t need to be a member). Once in, you’ll find thoughtfully put-together cocktails in a fun vibey space. There is indoor service only.

6. The Driskill Bar

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604 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 474-5911
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The mezzanine lounge of historic downtown Austin hotel 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. There is indoor service only.

An elegant bar with a statue of a horse in the middle and a domed stained glass above it.
The Driskill Bar
The Driskill/Facebook

7. Firehouse Lounge

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605 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 212-4244
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The hidden bar behind a bookcase inside an actual hostel features a fun vibe and excellent cocktails. There is indoor service only.

A bar with people.
Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge/Facebook

8. Garage

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503 Colorado St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 369-3490
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Much like some of the other bars on this map, 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. There is indoor service only, and reservations are available.

A bar.
Garage.
Garage/Facebook

9. The Roosevelt Room

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307 W 5th St
Austin, TX 78701

Nerd out over the downtown cocktail bar's sprawling cocktail menu, which spans drinking history from the early years to modern classics. There is indoor space with reservations available, and takeout cocktails can be ordered online.

A bar with table seating on the left.
Roosevelt Room.
Marc Swendner

10. 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. Be prepared to make hour-and-a-half reservations for tableside service and some of the best craft cocktails. There is indoor service only. 

A bar with leather booth seats and tables.
Midnight Cowboy.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

11. Milonga Room

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1201 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 886-1920
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The downstairs bar at East Austin Argentinian restaurant Buenos Aires focuses on amaro and South American cocktails. There is indoor service, and takeout cocktails can be ordered online.

A coupe glass with green liquid and white foam.
A drink from Milonga Room.
Milonga Room/Facebook

12. 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 intriguing cocktail list. Sneak upstairs to Mezcaleria Tobala for a smoky-tasting tour of mezcals. There are both indoor and outdoor areas.

A bar with stone walls.
Whisler’s.
Mark Weatherford

13. Little Brother

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89 Rainey St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 305-3133
Visit Website

Perhaps Austin’s smallest indoor bar on Rainey also serves up a great cocktail lineup, from well-crafted classics to really fun frozens. There is a patio too, and takeout drink orders can be placed online.

14. Half Step

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

Another 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. The team also includes the other co-founder of Asian cocktail pop-up Daijoubu, Sharon Yeung. There are indoor and outdoor spaces.

A bar with people seated.
Half Step.
Claire McCormack

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1. The Tigress Pub

100 W N Loop Blvd Unit G, Austin, TX 78751
A bar top with shelves of bottles and glasses.
The Tigress Pub
The Tigress Pub/Facebook

The North Loop bar is one of Austin’s earlier cocktail bars, serving up well-made classic, house, and low-abv cocktails in an easy space, led by mastermind Pam Pritchard. The bar is open for indoor and outdoor service; takeout cocktails can be ordered online.

100 W N Loop Blvd Unit G
Austin, TX 78751

2. Drink.Well

207 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751
A bar with padded bar seats.
Drink.Well.
Drink.Well

The North Loop favorite serves up excellent craft cocktails from owner Jessica Sanders and her stellar team which includes the highly talented Caer Maiko Ferguson of Asian cocktail pop-up Daijoubu. There is indoor and outdoor service, as well as curbside pickup service via online orders.

207 E 53rd St
Austin, TX 78751

3. Small Victory

108 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
A bar with a bar top on the left and tables with a long blue banquette on the right.
Small Victory.
Robert J. Lerma/Eater Austin

Industry vet Josh Loving's intimate downtown cocktail haven serves up well-done classics, along with a choose-your-own-adventure guide, martini-style. There is indoor dine-in service (reservations are available), as well as takeout cocktails.

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. There is indoor and outdoor space, plus takeout frozen cocktails are available.

1133 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78702

5. Here Nor There

612 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701

While it seems like it’s difficult to get into the hidden downtown bar, it actually isn’t. Just download the app and book a required reservation (read: you don’t need to be a member). Once in, you’ll find thoughtfully put-together cocktails in a fun vibey space. There is indoor service only.

612 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701

6. The Driskill Bar

604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
An elegant bar with a statue of a horse in the middle and a domed stained glass above it.
The Driskill Bar
The Driskill/Facebook

The mezzanine lounge of historic downtown Austin hotel 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. There is indoor service only.

604 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701

7. Firehouse Lounge

605 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
A bar with people.
Firehouse Lounge
Firehouse Lounge/Facebook

The hidden bar behind a bookcase inside an actual hostel features a fun vibe and excellent cocktails. There is indoor service only.

605 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701

8. Garage

503 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
A bar.
Garage.
Garage/Facebook

Much like some of the other bars on this map, 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. There is indoor service only, and reservations are available.

503 Colorado St
Austin, TX 78701

9. The Roosevelt Room

307 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701
A bar with table seating on the left.
Roosevelt Room.
Marc Swendner

Nerd out over the downtown cocktail bar's sprawling cocktail menu, which spans drinking history from the early years to modern classics. There is indoor space with reservations available, and takeout cocktails can be ordered online.

307 W 5th St
Austin, TX 78701

10. Midnight Cowboy

313 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
A bar with leather booth seats and tables.
Midnight Cowboy.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

The former brothel-turned-speakeasy offers a small, refined oasis from the mess of Dirty Sixth. Be prepared to make hour-and-a-half reservations for tableside service and some of the best craft cocktails. There is indoor service only. 

313 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78701

11. Milonga Room

1201 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
A coupe glass with green liquid and white foam.
A drink from Milonga Room.
Milonga Room/Facebook

The downstairs bar at East Austin Argentinian restaurant Buenos Aires focuses on amaro and South American cocktails. There is indoor service, and takeout cocktails can be ordered online.

1201 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

12. Whisler's

1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
A bar with stone walls.
Whisler’s.
Mark Weatherford

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

1816 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

13. Little Brother

89 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701

Perhaps Austin’s smallest indoor bar on Rainey also serves up a great cocktail lineup, from well-crafted classics to really fun frozens. There is a patio too, and takeout drink orders can be placed online.

89 Rainey St
Austin, TX 78701

14. Half Step

75 1/2 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701
A bar with people seated.
Half Step.
Claire McCormack

Another 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. The team also includes the other co-founder of Asian cocktail pop-up Daijoubu, Sharon Yeung. There are indoor and outdoor spaces.

75 1/2 Rainey St
Austin, TX 78701

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