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The 10 Hottest Bars in Austin

By Megan Giller
July 7, 2014

Take a break from the heat with a cold beverage at one of these cool places.

  • Photo by: Natalie Paramore

    Pleasant Storage Room

    Rum is the new "It" spirit, and the Downtown haven hits it hard, with tasty communal punch with snappy names like Bay of Figs as well as individual cocktails. Don’t miss the solid Cuban eats like Peruvian snapper ceviche, tostones and sweet plantains.

  • Container Bar

    An amalgamation of shipping containers, the bar was delayed for three years, but finally opened in time for SXSW. Owner Bridget Dunlap’s message to fans and naysayers about the space? “We did it, motherf#*kers!” Check out the Malaysian Dang trailer for solid eats too.

  • Wright Bros Brew and Brew

    Wright Bros has quickly become the place to drink, whether you want Flattrack Coffee or craft beer. They have 39 taps, including three nitros and a cask engine, most of which feature local breweries like Hops and Grain. The food menu is nothing to sneer at either: breakfast, bar snacks, charcuterie and sandwiches like a Niman Ranch pastrami and Hops and Grain Alteration-braised brisket are all on offer.

  • Haymaker

    From the team behind Black Sheep Lodge, this hot spot knows craft beer, with 40 taps, plus hefty sandwiches and several types of poutine. Housed in a hip converted auto-parts shop, it’s everything you want from East Austin.

  • Drink.Well

    We can’t keep up with all the fun events and happenings at this North Loop area bar. But even on an average day, the craft cocktails rise to a new level of delicious, and the food (Texas Kobe burger, anyone?) stands out as well. Be prepared for standing-room-only on the weekends.

  • Half Step

    This swanky lounge brings the last missing element to Rainey Street: craft cocktails. Bar manager and co-owner Chris Bostick says the bar is "slightly sultry and grown-up," and we couldn’t agree more. The small menu allows mixologists to focus on quality, and neat details like the Clinebell ice machine make it a special occasion.

  • Bar Congress

    The hip, shotgun-style bar sandwiched between Second Bar + Kitchen and Congress features some of the best cocktails in town. We like the creamy Apricot Beret with pisco, Aperol, triple apricot preserves, lime, egg white and purple rain (a housemade juice mixer), as well as nonalcoholic cocktails like the Maraska Phosphate (Maraska cherry, Vietnamese cinnamon, acid phosphate and seltzer). Be sure to order pastry chef Erica Waksmunski’s plated desserts from the Congress menu, including the fried malt pudding.

  • Whisler’s

    The old grungy Rabbit’s Lounge has been replaced by a much less grungy cocktail bar (don’t worry, the Johnny Cash graffiti mural is intact). The drink menu (from Lustre Pearl veteran Scranton Twohey) features house libations like a chai-bourbon-ginger cocktail as well as the classics, and the open-air bar, complete with picnic tables, provides a casual vibe. The upstairs Mezcalería Tobalá boasts a dizzying array of mezcals, served the traditional way, plus mezcal chocolates.

  • ABGB

    A person can only drink so many craft cocktails before they start jonesing for some craft beer. The new Austin Beer Garden and Brewery from Uncle Billy’s alums provides just what you’re looking for, with unusual artisanal pizza to boot. The Oltorf locale has immediately become the place to drink on a casual afternoon. 

  • Craft Pride

    Do you have a Texas-shaped tattoo? Do you like craft beer? Well, we have the place for you. This Rainey Street bar is entirely Texas-themed, including the beer selection. There’s Adelbert’s, 512 Brewing, Hops and Grain, Independence and more, plus themed decor like a Texas-shaped wood carving on the ceiling. Add a few slices from the Via 313 pizza trailer in the backyard and you have a winning combination.

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Places Mentioned

Via 313 Pizza

Pizza • East Austin

Food27 Decor15 Service23 Cost$15
 
 
 
Wright Bros. Brew and Brew

Coffee Shop • East Austin

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Bar Congress

Bar • Austin

Atmo.25 Decor25 Service22 CostE
 
 
 
Half Step

Cocktail Bar • Rainey Street

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Container Bar

Bar • Rainey Street

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Haymaker

Sandwich Shop • Cherrywood

Food20 Decor21 Service21 Cost$19
 
 
 
Drink.Well

Bar • North Loop

Atmo.22 Decor23 Service21 CostE
 
 
 
Pleasant Storage Room

Bar • Warehouse District

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
 
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