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The 10 Diviest Bars in Austin

By Megan Giller
July 17, 2014
Photo by: Flickr/Frank Heinz

We love our dive bars almost as much as we love our breakfast tacos. Even as craft cocktail bars abound around Austin, authentic dives — like the soon-to-be-reopened Poodle Dog Lounge — are the city's lifeblood. Here are 10 of our favorites.

  • Photo by: Flickr/lidocaineus

    Horseshoe Lounge

    Before there was Barley Swine or Lick or Henri’s, a little strip mall in South Austin had the Horseshoe, which still stands strong. We’ve challenged the Barley Swine crew to a late-night game of shuffleboard on more than one occasion, and we’re planning on winning again next time, too.

    2034 S. Lamar Blvd., 512-442-9111

  • Liberty

    This East Sixth Street spot is as well known for its grungy atmosphere as it is for the original East Side King location out back. Grab a Lone Star and then get yourself a big bowl of chicken karaage while you soak in the atmosphere.

    1618 1/2 E. Sixth St., 512-600-4791

  • Photo by: Flickr/Tamburix

    Lala’s

    It’s Christmas! All year! Whether you think it’s tacky or fantastic, ‘tis the season at this Allandale hole-in-the-wall. Spend a leisurely evening playing pool or checking out the jukebox, and be sure to wear your favorite ugly sweater.

    2207 Justin Ln., 512-453-2521

  • Photo by: Flickr/America Y'all

    White Horse

    On weekend nights, this is the surest place to get your two-step on to local bands like Shakey Graves, along with alt-country, rockabilly, rock and just plain country. And since it’s Austin, the couple two-stepping better than you is likely to have dreadlocks and tattoo sleeves. 

    500 Comal St., 512-553-6756

  • Mean Eyed Cat

    The Johnny Cash-themed bar may have a West Fifth Street location, but it still fits our requirements for a dive. Don’t miss the barbecue from Stubb’s, a recent addition.

    1621 W. Fifth St., 512-920-6645

  • Jackalope

    Dirty Sixth hasn’t been completely taken over by dance clubs and frat bars. This dark spot offers an old-school Austin punk atmosphere with great burgers and beer.

    404 E. Sixth St., 512-472-3663

  • Ginny’s Little Longhorn

    This tiny two-stepping joint on Burnet Road has become known for its Sunday activity: chicken-shit bingo, which is exactly what it sounds like. Beer and setups are the name of the game, so bring your own liquor. Also check out the live country music almost every night.

    5434 Burnet Rd., 512-458-1813

  • Scoot Inn

    The old tree trunks in the Scoot’s spacious backyard are the perfect place to watch live music from an impressively large stage, or head inside to dance in front of the smaller stage. What makes this a dive? The building is older than almost any Austinite can remember, the drinks are cheap, and they host a national skeeball league and competition, Brewskee-ball.

    1308 E. Fourth St., 512-394-5486

  • Ego’s

    The dank basement locale has long been a favorite place for karaoke. We recommend getting there early almost every night of the week if you want to sing before midnight.

    510 S. Congress Ave., 512-474-7091

  • Photo by: Flickr/Manny Moss

    Carousel Lounge

    The circus theme is more than a little creepy, but that’s part of the charm at this old-Austin place. Sit in an old-timey booth and watch one of the many local bands that play here. The ginger ale we ordered to go with the gin we brought from home might have been from 1975.

    1110 E. 52nd St., 512-452-6790

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Places Mentioned

Carousel Lounge

Lounge • Austin

Atmo.21 Decor20 Service20 CostI
 
 
 
Historic Scoot Inn

Bar • East Austin

Atmo.23 Decor16 Service19 CostI
 
 
 
The Jackalope

Night Club • Downtown

Atmo.22 Decor21 Service20 CostM
 
 
 
Mean Eyed Cat

Bar • Austin

Atmo.24 Decor24 Service20 CostI
 
 
 
The White Horse

Bar • East Austin

Atmo.24 Decor20 Service21 CostI
 
 
 
Lala's

Bar • Brentwood

Atmo.24 Decor24 Service19 CostI
 
 
 
The Liberty

Bar • East Austin

Atmo.22 Decor15 Service21 CostI
 
 
 
East Side King

Thai • East Austin

Food27 Decor18 Service21 Cost$14
 
 
 
East Side King

East Austin

Food27 Decor18 Service21 Cost$14
 
 
 
East Side King

Asian • East Austin

Food27 Decor18 Service21 Cost$14
 
 
 
Barley Swine

American • Austin

Food27 Decor23 Service26 Cost$67
 
 
 
Horseshoe Lounge

Bar • Zilker

Atmo.22 Decor15 Service22 CostI
 
 
 
 
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