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A liquor shelf with mezcal bottles and taxidermied cats.
Mezcalería Tobalá
Mezcalería Tobalá

16 Excellent Hidden Speakeasies in Austin

Learn how to find Austin’s secret bars with great cocktails

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While practically every Austinite loves day-drinking on a breezy patio with a gorgeous view, something can also be said for imbibing in a dark, tucked-away corner. And in Austin, there are a bunch of bars that fit that bill. From hidden speakeasies like Firehouse Lounge — which is literally behind a bookshelf — to downstairs cocktail rooms accessible only by secret codes — like Here Nor There — even parking garage bars like Ego’s and Small Victory, there are plenty of ways to feel like a VIP even though it’s definitely no longer Prohibition.

For the city’s must-hit essential cocktail bars, Eater has it covered elsewhere, along with the best all-around bars and restaurant bars. And then there are guides to other specific drinks, like refreshing frozen drinks, that other Austin cocktail staple margarita, craft beer, wine, happy hours, bloody marys, and mimosas.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID 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.
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Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar

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This Cherrywood mezcaleria helmed by the owners of Mi Madre’s can be found through the side patio of the ground-level Schoolhouse Pub bar. Climbing the stairs to enjoy mezcal from copitas in the candlelit room or choose a stout margarita to sip on the cute rooftop patio.

Small Victory

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Don’t be fooled by the downtown location – head up the stairs through a parking garage to be treated to comfy sofas and booths in this intimate cocktail bar. In addition to an extensive cocktail menu, there is a huge selection of spirits, wines, and other aperitifs.

Here Nor There

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Head down a gated alleyway near the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin to descend underground to Here Nor There. While originally slated as a members-only bar, this speakeasy offers reservation requests through its own app. Request your day and time, and, if approved, you’ll receive a code to enter. Once downstairs, guests are greeted by a giant taxidermied bear, a super dimly lit interior, and some of the city’s most delicious (albeit expensive) cocktails. Menus change regularly.

Firehouse Lounge

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Once inside the Firehouse Hostel in downtown Austin, slide open the bookshelf next to the check-in desk to enter a Prohibition Era-style bar. No reservations are required, so this Dirty Sixth Street-located watering hole can get quite festive on the weekends. While craft cocktails are on the menu, the full bar is equally excellent for grabbing a bottle of beer in the expansive space.

The downtown bar is located in, you guessed it – a parking garage. Reservations are highly encouraged at this tiny bar, where you might envision Dom Toretto orating about family. Look for the “cocktails” neon sign over parked cars to spot the entrance off of Fifth and Colorado and enjoy inventive sips in the mid-century style concrete room.

Eden Cocktail Room

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Yes, you’re in the right place in downtown Austin. Look for a red light and a purple door across from a dumpster in the alleyway connecting Brazos and San Jacinto between Sixth and Seventh Streets. Step inside the dark, inviting, wooden-and-exposed-brick room for a Biblical sin-themed bar, with drinks named like In the Beginning, Naked and Shameless, and Fruit of the Forbidden. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Midnight Cowboy

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Yes, the downtown space used to be a brothel, and yes, fairly recently. Hence, the same Midnight Cowboy Modeling website. While no longer owned and operated by the Alamo Drafthouse, nothing has changed at this Dirty Sixth speakeasy. Make reservations (or look for a light on at the door), press the Harry Craddock button when you arrive, and slide into one of the sleek, black booths for classic cocktails.

DuMont's Down Low

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Another former brothel, this whiskey-themed downtown speakeasy is nestled in the basement of the former Fado Irish pub. Boasting more than 70 labels of whiskey, this space will make you feel like you’re partying in the French Quarter, or maybe that’s just the alleged ghost of former owner Blanche DuMont

Red Headed Stepchild

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You have to know the code to enter Red Headed Stepchild, which is hidden underneath a “Floppy Disk Repair Co.” sign and mirrored facade. Either make friends with the bouncer or get on the secret text chain in order to learn the monthly entrance code. Once inside, you’re greeted by bar swings (you read that right), neon sign reading “mmm…your hair smells pretty,” and fun cocktails.  

The Secret Bar at W Austin Hotel

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Otherwise known as the “Red Room,” this small lounge in the downtown Austin hotel can be accessed by going through the Records Room inside the Living Room on the ground floor of the W Austin Hotel. Open Thursday through Saturday, the red-lit room is a cozy place to enjoy a quiet evening. 

The Treasury 

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One of Austin’s newest hidden bars in East Austin, the Treasury is a bank-themed bar located behind Shangri-La. There are no reservations, so expect a crowd on the weekends, but it does offer a happy hour daily from 6 to 8 p.m. — espresso martini, anyone? Bonus: you can bring in burgers from the Golden Castle trailer upstairs. 

Milonga Room

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Reservations are required to enter the secret basement speakeasy at the bottom of East Austin Argentinean restaurant Buenos Aires Cafe The intimate Amaro-focused bar is the perfect spot for a pre- or post-dinner sip, although it does also serve the same great empanadas offered upstairs.

Kinfolk Lounge & Library

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Owned and operated by the folks behind Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill within the downtown restaurant, this semi-secret downstairs lounge is accessed by the stairs next to the bar. In the 170-year-old cellar, guests can imbibe a whole slew of brown spirits neat or on the rocks, or order Prohibition-Era to modern classics. Don’t skip the Old Fashioned. 

Mezcalería Tobalá

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Since this upstairs bar at East Austin’s Whisler’s doesn’t take reservations and is only open on the weekends, it tends to get packed, so plan accordingly. Head upstairs outside of Whisler’s to lounge in a tiny wooden room smelling of palo santo where there’s only one thing on the menu: mezcal. 

No, this isn’t a speakeasy, but since the bar is located within a parking garage on South Congress, you have to know exactly where you’re looking to visit Austin’s best karaoke bar. On weekends there’s usually a line out the door, and if you want to sing, you best believe you have to get there early. Order wild and crazy shots while waiting for your turn.

Watertrade

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Technically not a speakeasy, the South Congress Hotel bar is still definitely off the beaten path. Attached to omakase restaurant Otoko, which is tucked away in the courtyard of the compact Japanese cocktail bar is open to the public, as well as Otoko diners before their dinner. Make a reservation or take a chance at a walk-in opening. A limited izakaya-style menu featuring bar bites is also available. 

Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar

This Cherrywood mezcaleria helmed by the owners of Mi Madre’s can be found through the side patio of the ground-level Schoolhouse Pub bar. Climbing the stairs to enjoy mezcal from copitas in the candlelit room or choose a stout margarita to sip on the cute rooftop patio.

Small Victory

Don’t be fooled by the downtown location – head up the stairs through a parking garage to be treated to comfy sofas and booths in this intimate cocktail bar. In addition to an extensive cocktail menu, there is a huge selection of spirits, wines, and other aperitifs.

Here Nor There

Head down a gated alleyway near the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin to descend underground to Here Nor There. While originally slated as a members-only bar, this speakeasy offers reservation requests through its own app. Request your day and time, and, if approved, you’ll receive a code to enter. Once downstairs, guests are greeted by a giant taxidermied bear, a super dimly lit interior, and some of the city’s most delicious (albeit expensive) cocktails. Menus change regularly.

Firehouse Lounge

Once inside the Firehouse Hostel in downtown Austin, slide open the bookshelf next to the check-in desk to enter a Prohibition Era-style bar. No reservations are required, so this Dirty Sixth Street-located watering hole can get quite festive on the weekends. While craft cocktails are on the menu, the full bar is equally excellent for grabbing a bottle of beer in the expansive space.

Garage

The downtown bar is located in, you guessed it – a parking garage. Reservations are highly encouraged at this tiny bar, where you might envision Dom Toretto orating about family. Look for the “cocktails” neon sign over parked cars to spot the entrance off of Fifth and Colorado and enjoy inventive sips in the mid-century style concrete room.

Eden Cocktail Room

Yes, you’re in the right place in downtown Austin. Look for a red light and a purple door across from a dumpster in the alleyway connecting Brazos and San Jacinto between Sixth and Seventh Streets. Step inside the dark, inviting, wooden-and-exposed-brick room for a Biblical sin-themed bar, with drinks named like In the Beginning, Naked and Shameless, and Fruit of the Forbidden. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Midnight Cowboy

Yes, the downtown space used to be a brothel, and yes, fairly recently. Hence, the same Midnight Cowboy Modeling website. While no longer owned and operated by the Alamo Drafthouse, nothing has changed at this Dirty Sixth speakeasy. Make reservations (or look for a light on at the door), press the Harry Craddock button when you arrive, and slide into one of the sleek, black booths for classic cocktails.

DuMont's Down Low

Another former brothel, this whiskey-themed downtown speakeasy is nestled in the basement of the former Fado Irish pub. Boasting more than 70 labels of whiskey, this space will make you feel like you’re partying in the French Quarter, or maybe that’s just the alleged ghost of former owner Blanche DuMont

Red Headed Stepchild

You have to know the code to enter Red Headed Stepchild, which is hidden underneath a “Floppy Disk Repair Co.” sign and mirrored facade. Either make friends with the bouncer or get on the secret text chain in order to learn the monthly entrance code. Once inside, you’re greeted by bar swings (you read that right), neon sign reading “mmm…your hair smells pretty,” and fun cocktails.  

The Secret Bar at W Austin Hotel

Otherwise known as the “Red Room,” this small lounge in the downtown Austin hotel can be accessed by going through the Records Room inside the Living Room on the ground floor of the W Austin Hotel. Open Thursday through Saturday, the red-lit room is a cozy place to enjoy a quiet evening. 

The Treasury 

One of Austin’s newest hidden bars in East Austin, the Treasury is a bank-themed bar located behind Shangri-La. There are no reservations, so expect a crowd on the weekends, but it does offer a happy hour daily from 6 to 8 p.m. — espresso martini, anyone? Bonus: you can bring in burgers from the Golden Castle trailer upstairs. 

Milonga Room

Reservations are required to enter the secret basement speakeasy at the bottom of East Austin Argentinean restaurant Buenos Aires Cafe The intimate Amaro-focused bar is the perfect spot for a pre- or post-dinner sip, although it does also serve the same great empanadas offered upstairs.

Kinfolk Lounge & Library

Owned and operated by the folks behind Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill within the downtown restaurant, this semi-secret downstairs lounge is accessed by the stairs next to the bar. In the 170-year-old cellar, guests can imbibe a whole slew of brown spirits neat or on the rocks, or order Prohibition-Era to modern classics. Don’t skip the Old Fashioned. 

Mezcalería Tobalá

Since this upstairs bar at East Austin’s Whisler’s doesn’t take reservations and is only open on the weekends, it tends to get packed, so plan accordingly. Head upstairs outside of Whisler’s to lounge in a tiny wooden room smelling of palo santo where there’s only one thing on the menu: mezcal. 

Ego's

No, this isn’t a speakeasy, but since the bar is located within a parking garage on South Congress, you have to know exactly where you’re looking to visit Austin’s best karaoke bar. On weekends there’s usually a line out the door, and if you want to sing, you best believe you have to get there early. Order wild and crazy shots while waiting for your turn.

Related Maps

Watertrade

Technically not a speakeasy, the South Congress Hotel bar is still definitely off the beaten path. Attached to omakase restaurant Otoko, which is tucked away in the courtyard of the compact Japanese cocktail bar is open to the public, as well as Otoko diners before their dinner. Make a reservation or take a chance at a walk-in opening. A limited izakaya-style menu featuring bar bites is also available. 

Related Maps