If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the heart of Austin beats an intoxicating rhythm of brews and spirits that help define our vibrant nightlife. Austin’s social scene, a pulsating playground of socializing and storytelling, mostly unravels in its countless lively bars.
The best bars in Austin have their own personality, brimming with unique tales and taste profiles that could spin many a yarn over your favorite pint of craft beer or specially-curated cocktail. But since there are so many top bars in Austin, it can get a bit tough to find the best of the best.
So in this article, we have listed the coolest bars in Austin. So let’s take a look.
14 Best Bars in Austin Shouldn’t miss
Table of Contents
1. Scholz Garten Hidden Bar in Austin
By Local Guide Andrew Lunt
When we talk about legends, we can’t miss out on the golden oldie of Austin’s bar scene – Scholz Garten. Over 151 years of history lie within every nook and cranny. Texan ghosts of the past probably still nurse beers in its hallowed hallways.
It’s the place where you’d want to soak in the collective memory of Austin over a chilled mug of beer and some sausages. It is one of those hidden bars in Austin that once you find out, you can never forget.
2. Freedmen’s Chill Bar in Austin
We have tried to find the most fun and unique bars in Austin, and this one certainly fits the bill. Let’s pivot to Freedmen’s next – a cathedral of old-world charm nestled in an antiquated stone building.
It’s where the barkeep knows more about whiskey than you’ll ever comprehend, turning every sip into a learning experience. It is one of the best bars in Austin that you can find, with a chill environment all around.
3. Cheer Up Charlies
By local Guide D 2
Slide into Cheer Up Charlies if you’re looking for a bar that’s unique “Austin”. Beneath a rocky overhang, the psychedelic murals and locally sourced cocktails color your night with an eclectic vibrancy. It’s like a rainbow decided to settle down and open a bar, and boy, has it done a magnificent job! This place often makes it to the list of the best bars in Austin.
4. Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden
At Banger’s Sausage House, our story takes on a fun, frothy twist – this place dances to the rhythm of its sausages and beer selection. With a name like that, you’re guaranteed a roller coaster ride of unabashed flavor and unmatched brew variety. It is certainly one of the most chill bars in Austin, TX.
5. Craft Pride Chill bar
Pride, like Craft Pride, shouldn’t be bottled up—rather, it should be poured into a glass and shared. Home to some of the most distinctive Texan brews available, each pour imbues you with pride for the Lone Star state. Sit under their sprawling tree, clutching a craft beer, and you’ll surely catch yourself humming a country tune or two.
6. Draught House Pub & Brewery
By Local Guide Benjamin Judah
Draught House Pub is no ordinary watering hole. Enveloped in an atmosphere that whispers tales of the old world, it transcends the normative pub experience with its rotation of awesome brews that make every visit feel like the first. You can almost see the devotion in every hand-drawn pint at the best dive bars in Austin!
If you’re traveling to Texas with kids, you can explore the city during the daytime. Here’s a list of 11 things you can do with your kids in Dallas.
7. The Eleanor – Wine Bar in Austin
It is not a tough job to find bars in Austin, but if you are looking for great wine bars in Austin, then this one’s for you. In every story, there’s always a queen. In ours, it’s The Eleanor. With all poised elegance and potent cocktails, this bar proves why it deserves the crown. Marble, brass, and a dash of 1930s glamour—it’s like Gatsby decided to throw his parties in Austin. Also, if you are looking for the best live music bar in Austin, this one’s for you.
8. Midnight Cowboy Country Bar
Tread a covert path with me to Midnight Cowboy. Formerly a massage parlor, its sultry past only adds to the allure of this unmarked, reservations-only lounge. Between the low lighting and sophisticated cocktails, it carries an air of clandestineness that makes you feel like you’re in on a delicious secret. For those who want a little bit of countryside, this is the best country bar in Austin
9. Garage Cocktails
By Local Guide JiShun Zhou
Don’t be fooled by the name—Garage isn’t just any old car park. Housed in an actual parking garage, it takes you by surprise with its acclaimed cocktail program. It’s like hiding the Hope diamond in a sandbox, a gemstone of sophistication in a decidedly everyday setting. It certainly is one of the most fun bars in Austin, Texas.
10. The Driskill Bar
By Local Guide Christine P
If you’re looking for cool bars in Austin with a theme, you cannot miss the Driskill Bar. By now, you should know we Austinites enjoy our tales as much as our ales. The Driskill Bar, within the grand 1886 Driskill Hotel, is a storyteller par excellence. Picture yourself sipping classic libations beneath a painted Texan sky ceiling—yup, it’s as poetic as it sounds!
11. Friends Bar
By Local Guide Paul Franklin
A journey of sips is incomplete without good company, like the kind you’ll find at Friends Bar. It’s as friendly as the name suggests, offering a music-filled tribute to the vibrant soul of the city.
Drop in, join the dancefloor, and quickly see why everyone wants to be friends with Friends. The Friends bar is definitely at the top of our list among the best bars in Austin, downtown.
12. Maggie Mae’s Rooftop Bar
By Local Guide SenorFoodblog
Raise your glass to Maggie Mae’s, the Gallant Lady who charms you with enticing cocktails and live music. This iconic bar on 6th Street stands as a beacon of Austin’s cultural zeitgeist making it one of the best rooftop bars in Austin.
13. Aviary Wine & Kitchen
By Aviary Wine & Kitchen
Pivot from hops to grapes and visit the Aviary Wine & Kitchen—an urban escape where wine whispers eloquent sonnets. The Aviary lures you in with an array of sophisticated wines, their wings fanning out an intoxicating bouquet of aromas.
Don’t forget to peck at their unique food options as they’re worth raving about. Great food, great drinks; best of both worlds! That makes this bar one of the best bars in Austin. If you liked these bars in Austin, consider traveling a bit north to visit the 15 best bars in Chicago!
14. The Red Room Lounge
Close with a crimson hue at the Red Room Lounge, a dim-lit cellar with an exhaustive list of wines. It’s here where the velvety notes of a well-aged Cabernet or the playful sparkle of a Prosecco play seductive symphonies in your glass. It’s pure poetry in one of the coolest bars in Austin, Texas!
Our Final Words
As our journey of ‘sip-ploration’ around Austin comes to a close, here’s a gentle reminder: enjoy this vibrant bar scene wisely and responsibly. It doesn’t matter if it’s the frosty kiss of a craft beer, the sophisticated grace of a cocktail, or an eloquent wine—remember to savor each sip safely.
We included something for everyone, from the best sports bar in Austin to the best gay bars in Austin, Texas. Because, isn’t that the true heart of Austin’s nightlife—where every moment exists to be relished responsibly? Cheers to that, my fellow explorers of the best bars in Austin downtown!