This is less of a photography post and more of an “I love Austin so much, I want you to love it too!!” post. Whether you’re looking for a date night spot, a bachelorette destination or somewhere to unwind after a long week, I’ve got just the place for you – here is my list of the best Austin happy hours!
If you follow me on Instagram
, you know it’s no secret this is one of my favoriteeeee topics. Anywhere I can get a $6 glass of rosé, right?! Being an Austin-native and an east side resident, giving recommendations has become one of my favorite things. There is SO much to do here, but if you’re similar to me, you just don’t have the time (or let’s be real: the $$) to try everything to be disappointed.
I’m approaching my three-year anniversary of moving back to Austin from college and I’ve finally gotten to a place where I know exactly where I want to go for drinks. (As for food, well…I’m still forever indecisive. That’s what dating a chef does to you!) I’ve broken out the best Austin happy hours by vibes/location type, rather than price, since I find people are more often looking for the way a certain place feels, rather than what’s on the menu!
- Kitty Cohen’s – Let’s start with the fact they have a wading pool in the middle of the patio. A POOL. IN A BAR. Palm Springs vibes are strong with this bar and their cocktail list is SO MUCH fun. Oh and the flamingo wallpaper (you know they one you constantly see on Instagram?) it’s in the bathroom 😉
- Must Try: Their lemony gin-prosecco punchbowl, served with crystal teacups. Make sure you bring a couple people with you, because it’s A LOT of booze, but it’s so dang good.
- Austin East Ciders Tap Room – If I’m not drinking rosé, then I’m definitely drinking cider. AES is the classic Austin go-to cider and the opening of their tasting room on the east side about a year ago is too hard to pass up.
- Must Try: Get the cider flight to try all of them! Bonus tip: ask for their limited batch brew for something quirky they’ll never sell in stores.
- BONUS bonus: They have free karaoke on Thursdays (with an incredible catalog) where you eat your first drink free for singing a song! On Saturday, they have some adult crafts out to do while you’re hanging out drinking!
- Upstairs at Caroline – Departing the east side and heading downtown for this one! Upstairs at Caroline is the bar on the Aloft Hotel roof. The patio is completely midcentury modern/West Elm-inspired and it’s an indoor-outdoor vibe. It gets busy but it’s still worth the trip since the patio is huge!
- Must Try: The frosé! Austin is HOT. Gotta stay cool and classy, right?
- Wine Belly – The little gem is so small you may miss it, but it’s South Central in the 78704! Their wine list is decent and they have great deals on happy hour bottles.
- Must Try: Any of the Sauvignon Blancs from Napa – can’t go wrong!
- Lenoir – This is a recent addition to my list, but OMG, it’s a favorite now. They’re located near Shoal Creek off of South First St. Not only is this restaurant killer (warming: you HAVE to have food reservations since it only seats about 20 people total), but the WINE GARDEN behind the building. Holy cow. It is so, so beautiful, they have a great happy hour (50% off bottles) and sometimes even a little relaxing live music.
- Must Try: Bartender’s Choice – they’re incredibly knowledgeable there, so tell them if you want white, red or pink and they will recommend you the best! Last time I was there I had a semi-bubbly rosé that was straight up DELICIOUS.
- Colleen’s – Another new find, but I’m mainly stuck on the decor here. It reminds me of a classy Charleston restaurant with its design, but it’s right in the middle of the Mueller development off of 51st Street! The patio is so cute and it’s right next to an Alamo Drafthouse, score!
- Must Try: the drinks here are classic, nothing crazy on the menu, a $6 happy hour Moscow Mule / French 75 is nothing to pass up!
- Launderette – I’ve been going to Launderette for years! It’s a converted midcentury modern laundry mat with a retro patio on the east side that has quirky modern American food and killer cocktails. My favorite ones have color changing straws.
- Must Try: The “Bird of Paradise” – it’s a tasty mix of tequila, grapefruit, lime, sea salt and soda! As for a snack, get two orders of the Brussel sprouts and the mini birthday cake ice cream sammies. Thank me later!
- The ABGB – If you’re more of a beer person, this one is for you! The whole vibe of the ABGB is quintessentially Austin. Live music, food, patio and drinking. Bring your pup, order a slice and get ready to relax.
- Must Try: Even though it’s a beer garden, I get a bottle of the Texas Keeper Cider – it’s brewed locally in south Austin! As for food, any of their pizzas are tasty! I usually get cheese
- JT Youngblood’s – This one is also in the Mueller development, across from Mueller Lake Park! This classic fried chicken place has some pretty good drinks, too. Not to mention it’s SUPER family-friendly so the kids in your life can come too (and there is a playground nearby!)
- Must Try: The on-tap margarita is strong but super good! If you come for brunch on the weekend, they the mimosa flight and chicken and waffles.
The Hole-in-the-Walls – In my humble opinion, the best places are holes in the walls that are a little grungy but that never change. I’m a one-trick pony and pretty much never leave the east side unless I absolutely HAVE to. 🙂 All of these are between Manor Road and the central east side.
- Yellow Jacket Social Club – why break what isn’t broken? This place is always busy, but there is almost always a seat on the patio. You may miss this gem since it’s hidden behind a wall of bamboo. It’s on east fifth, near Tamale House!
- Must Try: This is a pretty classic bar, so grab some of the local beers or an Austin east cider like me! Bonus: they have a cheap and delicious brunch on Sundays!
- Whistler’s – This place is common thread on “best Austin happy hour” lists. Whether this is actually a hole-in-the-wall remains to be seen, but it definitely has that vibe. When you walk up, chances are you’ll ask yourself “Uh, what is this place?” But it’s actually a Mescal Bar! They have other craft cocktails here, but it’s a nice blend of a relaxed hangout mixed with a killer bar program.
- Must Try: This is another case of “ask the bartender!” – they will be able to point you towards a mescal cocktail you’ll like!
- El Chile – I may be biased because it’s two minutes from my apartment / two of my favorite people introduced me, but I love this little Mexican joint. This is a more relaxed, chill restaurant so it’s the perfect escape of the trend-hunting crowds of Central was Austin.
- Must Try: Any of their margaritas and DEFINITELY a taco, their ingredients are super fresh.
What do you think are the best Austin happy hours? Comment them on my recent Instagram post! Looking for more wedding planning advice? I’ve got the goods for you here!