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Best Bars in Austin

The Best Cocktail Bars in Austin | Part 2

Garage

This stylish bar tucked in the back of a parking garage has that local secret society vibe as well, which ensures that tourists won’t stumble in and interrupt your vibe. Most people walk right past the discreet entrance to Garage without realizing the sumptuous cocktails that await inside. Virtually hidden inside the parking garage on Colorado and marked by a turquoise neon sign, the dark, industrial cocktail bar Garage is boasting one of the most buzzing drink menus in Austin. Want something with citrus and herbal notes? Go with the Indian Paintbrush (vodka, grapefruit, lime, rosemary). Feeling brave? Go for the Forked Tongue (sotol, jalapeño, lime, green Chartreuse, saline).

Backbeat

This retro cocktail bar with a rooftop lounge is firmly entrenched in the Austin cocktail scene. Backbeat Lounge, with an interior clad in a blend of modern and retro, is a perfect match of cocktail ambiance and get your groove on in a glass. Owners Michael and Jessica Sanders have fortified South Austin with a worthy cocktail bar. The two-level lounge’s menu is divided into three flavor profile sections: up beat, down beat, and off beat. It’s now open seven days a week for those that don’t discriminate drinking days. The progressive cocktail program, like the atmosphere, consists of modern cocktails with a retro twist, like the Leisure Suit (dry gin, Galliano, Kina d’Or aperitif, absinthe, and orange bitters), an aromatic take on the Prohibition-era drink “Tuxedo No. 2.”

Whisler’s

Whisler’s has fast become an East Side hub for happy hour and late-night revelry in Austin. The cocktail menu updates regularly and includes interesting drinks like the herbal cocktail, the Bossa Nova (gin, genepy, coconut milk, lemongrass, lime, chile oil) as well as go-to classics like their perfectly balanced Whisler’s Old Fashioned (rye, demerara syrup, angostura bitters). If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, head to the connected specialty mezcal bar, Mezcalería Tobalá, upstairs from the main bar.

We hope you had fun covering the latest bars in town, the hot new restaurants offering serious cocktail game, and the veteran spots mixing it up with a fresh bar program. It is now time to take this serious research and a pick a cocktail bar in Austin to test the best cocktails for yourself.


Cocktail Bars in Austin

The Best Cocktail Bars in Austin | Part 1

If you are looking for buzzing cocktail bar choices in Austin, the booze havens with a fresh mixology vibe are plentiful for your sipping pleasure here. Austin’s bar scene is  known for the liveliness of Sixth Street and for the watering hole dives with that distinct Texas aura. In recent years, the evolution of elevated cocktail bars has brought on a fever pitch regarding the simple fun is trying new spins on cocktails of all types. We have picked out the hottest and most tantalizing spots for the best cocktails in Austin when it’s time to go out on the town for a fresh concoction. With so many options in Austin, we had to pick our Elite Eight:

The Townsend

Located right across the street from the century-old Paramount Theater, The Townsend is quickly becoming a crowd favorite. The cocktail program, developed by acclaimed bartender Justin Elliott, is elegant and distinguished,  like the vibe of the bar itself. You won’t find flaming shots or zany concoctions here but you will find Elliott’s signature cocktails like the Ex-Novia, a lavish blend of Tequila Ocho reposado, Amaro Montenegro, manzanilla sherry, and Americano rosa. And, because topping every cocktail bar list isn’t enough, they were recently voted as one of Austin’s best restaurants by the Austin American-Statesman. Order the burger, the fries, and the hot chicken and thank us later.

Geraldine’s

Geraldine’s is on the fourth floor of the Hotel Van Zandt and is a living, breathing embodiment of Austin’s unique culture. So it isn’t a surprise that the cocktails, developed by Jen Keyser, would also be. Try the playful bandana-wrapped Willie’s Cup (High West whiskey, hemp milk, sage), created in honor of the legendary Willie Nelson. With Jennifer Keyser at the helm of Geraldine’s bar program, drinkers can expect to be wowed. The updated version of the Willie’s Cup, with hoppy sage syrup, what was named as the official drink of Austin. Also try the Far from the Tree, made with rum and Paula’s Texas Orange, or other boozy frozen options.

The Roosevelt Room

Co-owned by two of Austin’s top bartenders, Justin Lavenue and Dennis Gobis, The Roosevelt Room is a cocktail bar which has a seemingly infinite number of drink choices, while still remaining accessible to cocktail enthusiasts of all levels. Peruse the big chalkboard menu, which is broken down by the era in which the cocktail originated, or from the signature drink menu which features creative concoctions designed by the co-owners. Try the smoky and fragrant Cigar Box (mezcal, smoked black tea syrup, lavender bitters, tobacco bitters, flamed cinnamon stick).

Firehouse Lounge

For the secret trapdoor feel bar, found behind the false bookcase in the lobby of the Firehouse Hostel, this speakeasy is less “keep it to yourself,” and more “stay as long as you like,”  thanks to the chill bar staff who are sincerely enjoying making bomb cocktails for each patron. Join them for happy hour (5-8pm daily) for a $6 daiquiri (rum, lime, sugar), the Gold Rush (bourbon, lemon, honey), or many other approachable adult beverages.

Midnight Cowboy

This well-established speakeasy lounge with vintage cocktails is an Austin standard.  If you plan on visiting the Midnight Cowboy Bar, make reservations online a few days in advance to guarantee a table in the unmarked speakeasy. Reservations are for two hours and there’s a two drink minimum per guest (which is good because these drinks are STRONG). With so many signature cocktails to choose from, you may feel indecisive, but consider the Blackstrap Pawnshop (blackstrap rum, Curaçao, Amaro Montenegro pineapple, lime, club soda) or the Nome de Guerre (rye whiskey, walnut liqueur, velvet falernum, Laphroaig rinse, salt tincture, bitters), which is prepared table-side.