New & Hot Places

The 10 Hottest Bars in Austin

From a hip wine-centric South Congress lounge to a retro poolside patio, Austin certainly has no shortage of watering holes. Here are our picks for the 10 hottest spots in town right now.

June's

SoCo (South Congress)
Dream team Larry McGuire (Lamberts, Perla’s) and Master Sommelier June Rodil helm this all-day hangout serving clever interpretations of New American favorites, including breakfast chalupas, seasonal salads and bone marrow bolognaise, plus cocktails, craft beer and more than 60 international wines by the bottle or glass. The bright space has a French bistro vibe, with black-and-white checkered floors, a mirrored wall behind Rodil’s rotating featured wines, a vintage jukebox and dog-friendly patio.

What to drink: While the varied wine list, curated by namesake sommelier June Rodil, rules here, the cocktails are also not to be missed. Try June's Punch, a combination of several rums, brandy, absinthe, clarifed milk, green tea, spices and pandan.

Insider tip: The vintage jukebox inside isn't just pretty. It's packed with all sorts of modern indie gems. 

Kitty Cohen's

NewEast Austin
Cocktails, frozen drinks and punch bowls big enough to share headline this stylish East Side destination. Finding aesthetic inspiration from 1970s Palm Beach, the indoor lounge features palm trees on the walls and a baby grand piano, while the patio has a shallow wading pool, umbrella-shaded seating and an outdoor kitchen for occasional pop-ups and events.

What to drink: To help maximize your hangout time, the menu at this retro lounge focuses on tasty, seasonal cocktails like the Kitty Spritz (grapefruit liqueur, white wine, soda) and Bo Derek (Ancho Reyes, Deep Eddy peach vodka, ginger beer).

Insider tip: Wear shoes that are easy to slip off so you can dip your toes into the patio wading pool.

Ah Sing Den

NewNew AmericanEast Austin
Asian flavors headline this East Austin lounge’s menus of “ tipples and morsels,” featuring cold poke bowls, crispy pork ribs, steamed buns and seafood, plus an array of wine, beer, sake and cocktails. Named for the owner of a notorious opium den in Dickensian London, the exotic space is accented by embellished light fixtures, tropical colors and cozy tables for close conversation.

What to drink: Try the sweet-spicy-tangy Burmese Mission (gin, lime, Thai basil, clementine togarashi syrup), a welcome concoction at this opium den–inspired reinterpretation of the former East Side Showroom.

Insider tip: Partner Mickie Cohen's handcrafted interior design is just as impressive as ever, so come ready to Instagram.

Delicious

Zilker
Part gourmet food market, part farm-to-table counter joint, this Lamar Union locale sells culinary provisions and offers a menu of locally sourced prepared foods such as breakfast tacos, sandwiches and salads at lunch, and happy-hour bites alongside beer and wine.

What to drink: In addition to a lengthy list of local and craft beer, this market and cafe boasts an impressive selection of wine, thanks to the oenophile owner Raj Singh.

Insider tip: During happy hour, every day from 3–6 PM, all drafts, wine and bites are $2 off.

Revelry Kitchen + Bar

AmericanEast Austin
From the owner of Corner Bar comes this Eastside watering hole, serving craft cocktails, wine and beer alongside elevated pub grub in a bright space decorated with murals. A sizable patio beckons in nice weather, while happy hours and TVs keep things lively -- especially on game days.

What to drink: This latest addition to East Sixth Street features refreshers like the RKB Mint and Cherry limeade (black cherry vodka, mint syrup, lime, Topo Chico) and stiffer selections like the Mezcal Perfectio (Del Maguey crema mezal, Campari, vermouth, sweet vermouth, bitters).

Insider tip: North Austinites take note — a second location is slated to open on North Lamar this spring.

The Little Darlin

South Austin
Beer by the tap, bottle and can is the focus at this neighborhood spot, also pouring cocktails and frozen drinks from a full bar. The kitchen serves up a diverse, vegetarian-friendly menu featuring small plates such as chicken croquettes and street corn plus entrees (think rotisserie chicken and étouffée), while a spacious backyard offers washers, horseshoes and other games.

What to drink: Choose from a dozen local draft beers or rotating frozen drink specials, both perfect for lounging in the spacious backyard patio.

Insider tip: Come hungry because the bar food here (parsley popcorn, pimiento cheese croquettes, duck fat eggplant dip) is not to be missed.

Backbeat

Zilker
From the owners of drink.well comes this retro cocktail bar combining hip, midcentury design with a wide range of throwback cocktails. In addition to an extensive rum selection, expect small producer champagne and wine, a short snack menu and breezy rooftop patio.

What to drink: The signature Backbeat cocktail was a runner-up in the Official Drink of Austin competition... and can be made with a spirit of your choosing.
Insider tip: Relax on the rooftop patio with Backbeat's all day Sunday happy hour specials. 

Irene’s

Downtown
From the team behind 24 Diner, Easy Tiger and Italic comes this welcoming destination serving an all-day menu of classic American dishes (think King Ranch chicken, pot roast and a signature strawberry cake) as well as breakfast items from a takeaway window and creative house cocktails. The friendly space includes a comfortable patio for lounging and plenty of vintage touches, such as an upright piano and pink neon signage.

What to drink: The drinks here are incredibly affordable. Cocktails run just $7 each and wine by the glass costs just $6. First-timers should try the stiff Goodnight Irene, named after the Southern grandmother who inspired the place.
Insider tip: Food here is served until 2 AM and includes a "steak and whiskey" option: a one pound bone-in NY strip served with a sizable shot of Old Granddad whiskey.

Chicon

GastropubEast Austin
Andrew Wiseheart and Ben Edgerton (Contigo, Gardner) are the driving force behind this ranch-inspired, neighborhood spot featuring wood-grilled New American favorites, including some family-style or shareable plates, plus bar snacks and garden-fresh cocktails; Mexican textiles and hand-blown glass lend pops of color to the rustic, wood-paneled interior, and plenty of shaded seating is available on the outdoor patio.

What to drink: The Greener Side (pictured) is a perfectly refreshing tonic for summer, made with gin, aquavit, arugula, lime and a splash of soda.
Insider tip: On Sunday–Thursday, all house cocktails are $2 off from 5–6:30 PM.

Milonga Room

East Austin
Amaro is what it’s all about at this intimate bar below Buenos Aires Cafe, serving rare bottles, amaro cocktails and the restaurant’s signature empanadas in an antiques-filled, candlelit space with live music. P.S. Reservations required.

What to drink: The Argentine version of a mint julep (pictured) is a must-try, made with Cynar, pompelmo (grapefruit) soda, lemon and mint. 
Insider tip: Be sure to text the number below to snag a reservation (and directions for entry) before you go.

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