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Photo: Raymond Thompson/EATX

Cocktail Confidential: Austin's Most Underrated Bars

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Gourmands.
| Photo: Raymond Thompson/EATX

Cocktail Week 2013 is not just about giving readers an excuse to drink more - Eater wants you to drink more widely, too. Bartenders from top Austin bars like Bar Congress, Midnight Cowboy, the W Austin, and Weather Up, as well as folks from some of Austin's best restaurants, share the city's hidden drinking gems.

From the divey goodness of Dirty Bill's to darkened whiskey drinking at the Cloak Room, not to mention the underrated cocktail programs at places like Vino Vino and The Tigress, let this map be your guide to the underground stars of Austin's bar scene.

Don't see a favorite hangout of yours on the map? Chime in in the comments or hit the tipline.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Los Pinos

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11715 Bee Cave Rd
Bee Cave, TX 78738
(512) 263-2320
James Holmes of Olivia and Lucy's Fried Chicken says this West Austin spot "has damn fine margaritas."

2. drink.well.

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207 E 53rd St
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 614-6683
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Several bartenders around town love it here. They have W libationist Joyce Garrison's vote, and Tyler Naumann of Searsucker says, "No place has my respect more than Drink.Well. Mike and Jessica, they do so much for the community and the bar world in Austin. Drink.Well is highly regarded, but they win my vote for support, talent, execution, and range."

3. FINO Restaurant Patio & Bar

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2905 San Gabriel St
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 474-3027
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Rachel DelRocco, one of Qui's barkeeps, says, "I may be a little biased having started my restaurant work in Austin at Fino Restaurant but the bartenders that have been in and out of there and are still there have always been and are incredibly talented. I learned wine, cocktails, and everything bar from that program and it's still being curated thoughtfully and executed with a lot of care. Whatever you are in the mood for be it a cocktail, beer, aperitif, sherry, wine, amari, brandy, agave, and on and on, they have an incredibly precise selection where every spirit chosen and cocktail made has a purpose and is just enjoyable and easy."

4. Austin's Pizza

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2324 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 795-8888
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David Voss, Operations Manager at Craft Pride says, “Austin Pizza on the Drag is pretty legit for a campus bar."

5. The Tigress

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100 W North Loop Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 600-3232
All sorts of bartenders around town love the Tigress. Brian Dressel of the Midnight Cowboy says "They consistently put out solid cocktails with one of the simplest back bars in town. Nice bartenders and interesting regulars always make for a good conversation."

6. Vino Vino

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4119 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 465-9282
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Justin Elliot of Qui is a fan "of what Brian Elder and his team have been doing with the cocktail program at Vino Vino for a while now. Thoughtful, well-executed classic cocktails presented alongside house variations, all provided with deft service and balanced with great food and an expansive wine list."

[Photo: Jay B.S./Yelp]

7. Cloak Room

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1300 Colorado St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 472-9808
Jason Stevens of Bar Congress calls the Cloak Room one of his favorite dives in Austin.

[Photo: Meredith D./Yelp]

8. TAPASITAS Tapas & Bar

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800 W 6th St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 436-9633
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Justin Elliott also has kind words for "my old friend Jeff Boley (easily the funniest, most ridiculous cocktologist in town) is at the helm at Parind Vora's rebrand of the old Bar Mirabeau spot, Tapasitas, and having only been once I can say that he's got a really fun, growing cocktail bar and I just hope that the general cocktailing public finds their way over to that side of town to give it a chance. Boley is a national treasure and he's assembling a really talented team to execute his program."

[Photo: Tapasitas/Yelp]

9. Dirty Bill's

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511 Rio Grande St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 477-3789
Bill Rogers, the manager of the Living Room Bars at the W Austin, has nothing but praise for this downtown gem. "From my first time there after moving from NYC and countless times visiting since, it is one of the best bars in Austin. The bartenders are very personable and truly make it a 'local' feel. They have great selections of DJ’s and different vibes on different nights. DJ Go Go Garcia has created an authentic Hip Hop night on Sundays that battles the lame and overcrowded Kung Fu across the street while pulling in the football fans from West Sixth to celebrate a win or drink away a loss. Many a great night has either started or finished at Dirty Bills. And if you think your too cool… see you on Sixth Street, it’s too small for pretension."

[Photo: Jourdan A./Yelp]

10. The Elephant Room

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315 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 473-2279
Brian Dessel of the Midnight Cowboy is also a fan of the Elephant Room. "Some of the best bartenders around. Think Sam Malone. They always seem to remember everyone's name and never leave you with an empty glass. Also, live jazz is an added bonus."

[Photo: Allison J/Yelp]

11. Firehouse Hostel and Lounge

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605 Brazos St, Ste 100
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 201-2522
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Tyler Naumann, the bar manager at Searsucker, says, "I believe that Firehouse has a unique style that is consistent, that I fully respect."

12. Whisler's

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1816 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
Joyce Garrison of the W says, "Whisler's. That is all."

13. The Sahara

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1413 Webberville Rd
Austin, TX 78721
The bartenders at School House Pub call this East Side spot Austin's most underrated.

[Photo: Ashwini K./Yelp]

14. QUI Restaurant

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1600 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
Rob Pate of Peche likes to visit former Peche barman Justin Elliott behind the bar.

15. Gourmands Neighborhood Pub

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2316 Webberville Rd
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 610-2031
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Weather Up bartender Fidel Campbell wanted to give a shout out to Gourmands as "a great local hang."

16. The Grackle

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1700 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 524-0133
Bartender Brian Floyd of Qui says, "the Grackle might have a divey, rocknroll feel, but it has a good beer and whiskey selection at awesome prices, and Aaron, Yassi and Andy are the nicest barkeeps anywhere."

[Photo: Catherine T./Yelp]

17. Casino Southside Lounge

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1502 W Ben White Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
David Voss, Operations Manager at Craft Pride, calls this "a great dive bar down south."

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1. Los Pinos

11715 Bee Cave Rd, Bee Cave, TX 78738
James Holmes of Olivia and Lucy's Fried Chicken says this West Austin spot "has damn fine margaritas."
11715 Bee Cave Rd
Bee Cave, TX 78738

2. drink.well.

207 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751
Several bartenders around town love it here. They have W libationist Joyce Garrison's vote, and Tyler Naumann of Searsucker says, "No place has my respect more than Drink.Well. Mike and Jessica, they do so much for the community and the bar world in Austin. Drink.Well is highly regarded, but they win my vote for support, talent, execution, and range."
207 E 53rd St
Austin, TX 78751

3. FINO Restaurant Patio & Bar

2905 San Gabriel St, Austin, TX 78705
Rachel DelRocco, one of Qui's barkeeps, says, "I may be a little biased having started my restaurant work in Austin at Fino Restaurant but the bartenders that have been in and out of there and are still there have always been and are incredibly talented. I learned wine, cocktails, and everything bar from that program and it's still being curated thoughtfully and executed with a lot of care. Whatever you are in the mood for be it a cocktail, beer, aperitif, sherry, wine, amari, brandy, agave, and on and on, they have an incredibly precise selection where every spirit chosen and cocktail made has a purpose and is just enjoyable and easy."
2905 San Gabriel St
Austin, TX 78705

4. Austin's Pizza

2324 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705
David Voss, Operations Manager at Craft Pride says, “Austin Pizza on the Drag is pretty legit for a campus bar."
2324 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705

5. The Tigress

100 W North Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
All sorts of bartenders around town love the Tigress. Brian Dressel of the Midnight Cowboy says "They consistently put out solid cocktails with one of the simplest back bars in town. Nice bartenders and interesting regulars always make for a good conversation."
100 W North Loop Blvd
Austin, TX 78751

6. Vino Vino

4119 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78751
Justin Elliot of Qui is a fan "of what Brian Elder and his team have been doing with the cocktail program at Vino Vino for a while now. Thoughtful, well-executed classic cocktails presented alongside house variations, all provided with deft service and balanced with great food and an expansive wine list."

[Photo: Jay B.S./Yelp]

4119 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78751

7. Cloak Room

1300 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
Jason Stevens of Bar Congress calls the Cloak Room one of his favorite dives in Austin.

[Photo: Meredith D./Yelp]

1300 Colorado St
Austin, TX 78701

8. TAPASITAS Tapas & Bar

800 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
Justin Elliott also has kind words for "my old friend Jeff Boley (easily the funniest, most ridiculous cocktologist in town) is at the helm at Parind Vora's rebrand of the old Bar Mirabeau spot, Tapasitas, and having only been once I can say that he's got a really fun, growing cocktail bar and I just hope that the general cocktailing public finds their way over to that side of town to give it a chance. Boley is a national treasure and he's assembling a really talented team to execute his program."

[Photo: Tapasitas/Yelp]

800 W 6th St
Austin, TX 78701

9. Dirty Bill's

511 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78701
Bill Rogers, the manager of the Living Room Bars at the W Austin, has nothing but praise for this downtown gem. "From my first time there after moving from NYC and countless times visiting since, it is one of the best bars in Austin. The bartenders are very personable and truly make it a 'local' feel. They have great selections of DJ’s and different vibes on different nights. DJ Go Go Garcia has created an authentic Hip Hop night on Sundays that battles the lame and overcrowded Kung Fu across the street while pulling in the football fans from West Sixth to celebrate a win or drink away a loss. Many a great night has either started or finished at Dirty Bills. And if you think your too cool… see you on Sixth Street, it’s too small for pretension."

[Photo: Jourdan A./Yelp]

511 Rio Grande St
Austin, TX 78701

10. The Elephant Room

315 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
Brian Dessel of the Midnight Cowboy is also a fan of the Elephant Room. "Some of the best bartenders around. Think Sam Malone. They always seem to remember everyone's name and never leave you with an empty glass. Also, live jazz is an added bonus."

[Photo: Allison J/Yelp]

315 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701

11. Firehouse Hostel and Lounge

605 Brazos St, Ste 100, Austin, TX 78701
Tyler Naumann, the bar manager at Searsucker, says, "I believe that Firehouse has a unique style that is consistent, that I fully respect."
605 Brazos St, Ste 100
Austin, TX 78701

12. Whisler's

1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Joyce Garrison of the W says, "Whisler's. That is all."
1816 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

13. The Sahara

1413 Webberville Rd, Austin, TX 78721
The bartenders at School House Pub call this East Side spot Austin's most underrated.

[Photo: Ashwini K./Yelp]

1413 Webberville Rd
Austin, TX 78721

14. QUI Restaurant

1600 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Rob Pate of Peche likes to visit former Peche barman Justin Elliott behind the bar.
1600 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

15. Gourmands Neighborhood Pub

2316 Webberville Rd, Austin, TX 78702
Weather Up bartender Fidel Campbell wanted to give a shout out to Gourmands as "a great local hang."
2316 Webberville Rd
Austin, TX 78702

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16. The Grackle

1700 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Bartender Brian Floyd of Qui says, "the Grackle might have a divey, rocknroll feel, but it has a good beer and whiskey selection at awesome prices, and Aaron, Yassi and Andy are the nicest barkeeps anywhere."

[Photo: Catherine T./Yelp]

1700 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

17. Casino Southside Lounge

1502 W Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
David Voss, Operations Manager at Craft Pride, calls this "a great dive bar down south."
1502 W Ben White Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

Related Maps