I have had the pleasure of exploring the vibrant bar scene in this bustling Texan city, and I can assure you that Austin knows how to have a good time. In this article, I will take you on a lighthearted journey through the top eight watering holes that deserve a spot on your social calendar.

So, whether you're a local looking for a new hot spot or a visitor eager to experience Austin's unique nightlife, get ready to sip, socialize, and soak up the fantastic atmosphere of these top-notch establishments. Cheers!

Firehouse Lounge

Firehouse Lounge
🗺️ 605 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
☎️ 512-201-2522
🌐 Website
Sunday: 12 PM–2 AM
Monday: 5 PM–2 AM
Tuesday: 5 PM–2 AM
Wednesday: 5 PM–2 AM
Thursday: 12 PM–2 AM
Friday: 12 PM–2 AM
Saturday: 12 PM–2 AM
Great drinks
Soulful 70s vibes
Unique and fun
Hidden entrance
Quirky movies playing

Walking into Firehouse Lounge is like stepping into a time machine. The soulful 70s vibes emanating from the speakers immediately transported me to a groovy era. The hidden entrance through the inconspicuous bookshelf added an element of mystery and excitement to the experience.

From the moment I ordered my drink, I knew I was in for a treat. Firehouse Lounge has a wide selection of great drinks crafted by talented bartenders who clearly know their craft. Whether you're in the mood for a classic cocktail or an innovative creation, there's something to satisfy every palate.

What truly sets Firehouse Lounge apart is its unique and fun atmosphere. The walls are adorned with vintage firehouse memorabilia, adding to the charm and character of the place. As I sank into one of their plush leather chairs, I couldn't help but feel like I was a part of history.

To add to the ambiance, quirky movies were projected on the big screen, providing the perfect backdrop for conversations and laughter. The crowd was diverse, from hipsters to professionals, making for a lively and engaging social scene.

In conclusion, Firehouse Lounge is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a memorable night out in Downtown Austin. With its great drinks, soulful 70s vibes, unique atmosphere, and hidden entrance, it truly stands out among the best bars in the area. So, grab your friends, find the secret bookshelf, and step into a world of quirky and delightful indulgence at Firehouse Lounge.

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The Driskill Bar

The Driskill Bar
🗺️ 604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
☎️ 512-391-7107
🌐 Website
Sunday: 2 PM–12 AM
Monday: 2 PM–12 AM
Tuesday: 2 PM–12 AM
Wednesday: 2 PM–12 AM
Thursday: 2 PM–12 AM
Friday: 2 PM–2 AM
Saturday: 2 PM–2 AM
Unique flavors
Delicious food
Excellent service
Beautiful hotel

As I walked into The Driskill Bar, I was immediately captivated by the ambiance. The bar, nestled within the beautiful Driskill Hotel, exuded an old-world charm mixed with a vibrant energy. The dim lighting and plush leather seating created an intimate and cozy setting, perfect for a night of indulgence.

One thing that stood out to me about The Driskill Bar were the unique flavors of their cocktails. Their skilled mixologists crafted concoctions that were both inventive and delicious. From the refreshing jalapeño margarita to the smoky mezcal old fashioned, each sip was a delightful adventure for the taste buds.

Not only did The Driskill Bar deliver on the drinks, but the food was also exceptional. The menu offered a variety of small plates that perfectly complemented the libations. From the crispy fried brussels sprouts to the succulent beef sliders, every bite was a delectable treat.

The service at The Driskill Bar was truly outstanding. The staff was attentive, knowledgeable, and went above and beyond to ensure a memorable experience. From recommending personalized drink options to offering insightful suggestions about the local area, they were true professionals who knew how to make guests feel valued.

Overall, The Driskill Bar provided a charming and sophisticated atmosphere within the bustling streets of Downtown Austin. With its unique flavors, delicious food, and excellent service, it is without a doubt one of the best bars this city has to offer. Whether you're a local looking for a night out or a visitor seeking a taste of Austin's vibrant bar scene, The Driskill Bar is a must-visit destination.

You might also want to check out the best happy hour in Austin.

Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy
🗺️ 313 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
🌐 Website
Sunday: 5–11 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 5–11:45 PM
Wednesday: 5–11:45 PM
Thursday: 5–11:45 PM
Friday: 5–11:45 PM
Saturday: 5–11:45 PM
Semi-private setting
Knowledgeable staff
Custom-made cocktails
Intimate atmosphere

Walking into Midnight Cowboy, I was immediately transported back in time to the glamour and intrigue of the Prohibition era. This hidden gem in Downtown Austin offers a unique and semi-private setting that adds an air of exclusivity to the experience. The speakeasy-style entrance only heightened my anticipation as I eagerly awaited what was to come.

The knowledgeable staff at Midnight Cowboy were a delight to interact with. They took the time to understand my preferences and made spot-on recommendations for their custom-made cocktails. Each drink was a work of art, carefully crafted with top-notch ingredients and a touch of creativity. From classic Old Fashioneds to innovative concoctions, Midnight Cowboy truly raised the bar for cocktail craftsmanship.

What truly sets Midnight Cowboy apart is its intimate atmosphere. The dim lighting, plush seating, and hushed conversations create an ambiance that is both alluring and comforting. It's the perfect place to unwind with friends or take a date night to the next level.

With its semi-private setting, knowledgeable staff, custom-made cocktails, and intimate atmosphere, Midnight Cowboy easily secures a spot on the list of the best bars in Downtown Austin. So, if you're looking for a truly memorable and immersive experience, you won't be disappointed at Midnight Cowboy. Just remember to make a reservation, as this hidden gem can fill up quickly!

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Small Victory

Small Victory
🗺️ 108 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
☎️ 512-903-9450
🌐 Website
Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 5 PM–1 AM
Wednesday: 5 PM–1 AM
Thursday: 5 PM–1 AM
Friday: 5 PM–1 AM
Saturday: 5 PM–1 AM
Intimate atmosphere
Great bourbons and martinis
Knowledgeable and friendly bartenders
Unique cocktail experience
Reservation only

When it comes to finding the best bars in Downtown Austin, Small Victory is truly a hidden gem. Tucked away in a discreet alley, this bar offers an intimate atmosphere that immediately welcomes you with its cozy vibes.

What sets Small Victory apart from other bars is its impressive selection of bourbons and martinis. Whether you're a connoisseur or just dipping your toes into the world of cocktails, the knowledgeable bartenders are more than happy to guide you in your choices. They have a knack for suggesting the perfect drink based on your preferences, ensuring that each sip is a delightful experience.

The cocktails themselves are a work of art. Small Victory prides itself on creating unique concoctions that tantalize your taste buds. From innovative twists on classic recipes to brand new creations, every drink is crafted with meticulous attention to detail. The presentation is equally impressive, with beautifully garnished glasses that add a touch of elegance to the experience.

To guarantee an intimate experience, Small Victory operates on a reservation-only basis. This ensures that you have a dedicated spot to unwind without the hustle and bustle of crowded bars. It's the perfect place for a date night or a night out with close friends.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a bar that offers an intimate setting, remarkable bourbons and martinis, and a one-of-a-kind cocktail experience, Small Victory is your go-to spot in Downtown Austin. So, make a reservation, relax, and allow yourself to be swept away by the artistry of their drinks.

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Upstairs at Caroline

Upstairs at Caroline
🗺️ 109 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
☎️ 512-982-6766
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11 AM–12 AM
Monday: 4 PM–12 AM
Tuesday: 4 PM–12 AM
Wednesday: 4 PM–12 AM
Thursday: 4 PM–12 AM
Friday: 12 PM–12 AM
Saturday: 11 AM–12 AM
Great happy hour
Large outside patio
Tasty fresh food
Friendly and hospitable service

First and foremost, I must mention the great happy hour that Upstairs at Caroline offers. With discounted prices on drinks and delicious food specials, it's the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring Austin.

One of the highlights of this bar is the large outside patio. Whether you prefer lounging under the warm Texas sun or enjoying the breeze in the evening, this spacious patio provides a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. It's an excellent spot to catch up with friends or meet new ones while sipping on your favorite cocktail.

Speaking of cocktails, I was pleasantly surprised by their drink menu. The bartenders at Upstairs at Caroline take pride in expertly crafting a wide variety of innovative and classic drinks. From their signature concoctions to old favorites, there's something to satisfy every palate.

Beyond the libations, Upstairs at Caroline also boasts a menu of tasty, fresh food. Whether you're craving a juicy burger, a refreshing salad, or some mouthwatering appetizers, their kitchen serves up a delightful array of options to complement your evening of merriment.

Finally, I must commend the friendly and hospitable service provided by the staff. From the moment I walked through the door, I was greeted with warmth and enthusiasm. The bartenders and waitstaff were attentive, ensuring that I had a memorable experience.

In conclusion, Upstairs at Caroline is a standout bar in Downtown Austin. With its great happy hour specials, spacious outside patio, tasty fresh food, and friendly service, it's no wonder that locals and tourists alike flock to this establishment. Whether you're seeking a fun night out with friends or a relaxing evening under the Texas sky, this bar has it all.

You might also want to check out the best dive bars in Austin.

Edge Rooftop

Edge Rooftop
🗺️ 110 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701
☎️ 512-608-4503
🌐 Website
Sunday: 5–11 PM
Monday: 5–11 PM
Tuesday: 5–11 PM
Wednesday: 5–11 PM
Thursday: 5 PM–12 AM
Friday: 5 PM–12 AM
Saturday: 5 PM–12 AM
Friendly and helpful
Delicious food
Relaxed upscale vibe

Walking into Edge Rooftop, I was immediately struck by the friendly and helpful staff. I was warmly greeted and promptly shown to my seat, which had a stunning view of the downtown skyline. The atmosphere was relaxed and chic, with a subtle elegance that set it apart from other bars in the area.

The menu at Edge Rooftop exceeded my expectations. The delicious food options were a delightful surprise. From small plates to share to hearty entrees, there was something to satisfy every palate. The attention to detail in both presentation and flavor was impeccable. I couldn't resist ordering the lobster sliders, and they were absolutely divine.

The rooftop bar truly lived up to its name, as it provided an exceptional view of the city while sipping on my expertly crafted cocktail. The bartenders took their craft seriously, creating unique and refreshing drinks that perfectly complemented the warm summer evening. I couldn't help but feel a sense of relaxation wash over me as I soaked in the stunning vistas and enjoyed my drink.

What truly sets Edge Rooftop apart from other bars in Downtown Austin is its relaxed upscale vibe. The combination of modern decor, attentive service, and breathtaking views created an ambiance that was both refined and approachable.

If you're looking for an upscale bar with delicious food, a relaxed atmosphere, and spectacular views, then Edge Rooftop is a must-visit. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

You might also want to check out the best bars in South Austin.

Lavaca Street Bar

Lavaca Street Bar
🗺️ 405 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701
☎️ 512-469-0106
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11:30 AM–2 AM
Monday: 11 AM–2 AM
Tuesday: 11 AM–2 AM
Wednesday: 11 AM–2 AM
Thursday: 11 AM–2 AM
Friday: 11 AM–2 AM
Saturday: 11 AM–2 AM
Great atmosphere
Delicious food
Fair prices
Friendly bartenders

Walking into Lavaca Street Bar is like stepping into a party that's been going on for years. The bar has a great atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. The dim lighting and rustic decor create a cozy and inviting vibe that is perfect for a night out with friends.

But what impressed me the most about Lavaca Street Bar was the food. I tried their famous loaded nachos and they were absolutely delicious. The chips were perfectly crisp, the cheese was melted just right, and the toppings were fresh and flavorful. It was the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer.

Speaking of beer, Lavaca Street Bar offers a wide selection at fair prices. Whether you're a fan of craft brews or prefer a classic domestic, they have something for everyone. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, always willing to recommend a drink that suits your taste.

Overall, my experience at Lavaca Street Bar was nothing short of fantastic. The combination of great atmosphere, delicious food, fair prices, and friendly bartenders make it one of the best bars in Downtown Austin. If you're looking for a laid-back hangout with a touch of Austin charm, make sure to pay Lavaca Street Bar a visit. Cheers!

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Higher Ground

Higher Ground
🗺️ 720 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701
☎️ 512-291-2060
🌐 Website
Sunday: 2 PM–12 AM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 4 PM–12 AM
Wednesday: 4 PM–12 AM
Thursday: 4 PM–2 AM
Friday: 4 PM–2 AM
Saturday: 2 PM–2 AM
Well styled cocktail bar venue
Spiral staircase and draping garden outdoor patio
Friendly bartenders and good service
$1 East Coast oysters on Tuesdays until 10:00 p.m.
Private DJ'd dance party and burlesque show upstairs

Walking into Higher Ground is like stepping into a beautifully styled cocktail bar venue, complete with its own unique and trendy atmosphere. The first thing that caught my attention was the stunning spiral staircase leading up to the second floor, where a private DJ'd dance party and burlesque show was about to begin. The bar has a playful but professional vibe, which adds to its allure.

One of the highlights of Higher Ground is its outdoor patio. As I stepped outside, I couldn't help but be in awe of the draping garden and the inviting ambiance it created. It's the perfect place to relax with a drink in hand, especially during the warmer Texas nights.

The bartenders at Higher Ground were no exception to the bar's friendly and welcoming atmosphere. They were not only knowledgeable about the drink menu but also went above and beyond in making sure every customer was well taken care of. The service was prompt and attentive.

An unexpected perk at Higher Ground was the Tuesday night special of $1 East Coast oysters until 10:00 p.m. Being a seafood lover, this was a delightful surprise that made my evening even more enjoyable.

Overall, Higher Ground is definitely one of the best bars in Downtown Austin that I have had the pleasure of visiting. With its stunning decor, friendly bartenders, and unique offerings like the DJ'd dance party and oyster special, it's a must-visit for anyone looking for a great night out.

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Susan Wright

Susan has a passion for helping small, locally-owned restaurants and businesses to tell their stories and showcase their unique offerings to the public. With a loyalty to her hometown of Austin, TX, Susan is committed to making sure these establishments get the recognition they deserve. Outside of work, Susan enjoys exploring Austin's food and music scene with friends, hiking in the nearby hill country, spending time in nature, and savoring every bite of barbeque she can find.