From brand-new breweries to a subterranean cocktail lair to a mahogany bar physically transplanted from an old New York venue, Austin certainly has no shortage of noteworthy watering holes. Here are our picks for the 12 hottest spots in town right now.
What to drink: With 16 taps of exquisitely crafted brew constantly flowing, it's hard to choose. Luckily, you don't have to if you opt for a flight of favorites like the Amandus (Belgian strong golden ale) and seasonals like the Naked Sapphire (single hop German pils).
Insider tip: For $1,000, you can become a Patron Saint of Lazarus by adopting one of just 300 hand-blown, gold leaf chalices. The perk? Lazarus beer for life.
What to drink: Go for an outdoor-worthy sipper like the Tillery Tea Thyme (Bulleit bourbon, black tea, honey, thyme and lemon) or the sage margarita (Casamigos silver tequila, dry Curacao, honey, lime).
Insider tip: Arrive well before sunset to snag one of the choice patio seats facing the Colorado River. You won't be disappointed.
What to drink: Choose one of the many local craft beers on tap or a strong, cold margarita — only $5 weekdays from 3–7 PM.
Insider tip: Be sure to arrive hungry — and with friends — so you have an excuse to order the 10-pound can of nachos, topped with pulled pork, chili or beans.
What to drink: Try the herbal and refreshing The First Whisper, made with St. George gin, green Chartreuse, lime and sarsaparilla bitters.
Insider tip: Monday brings happy hour all day, which means $3 domestic beers and wells plus $4 imported beers, select wines and Deep Eddy vodka cocktails.
What to drink: At Cedar Tavern, try the potent Bijou, made with Ford's Gin, Dolin sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse, Aperol and orange bitters.
Insider tip: The bar mirror is actually double-sided; inquire about renting the hidden back bar for private events.
What to drink: Namesake sommelier June Rodil's wine list rules here, but don't miss cocktails like June's Punch, a combination of several rums, brandy, absinthe, clarified milk, green tea, spices and pandan.
Insider tip: The new happy hour is a dream. Monday through Friday, all food and sparkling wine are 50% off — and drinks are $2 off — between 4 and 6 PM.
What to drink: Feeling classic? Order a Boulevardier. Feeling sassy? Try the Fire Crotch margarita.
Insider tip: After you find the Floppy Disk Repair sign, you'll also need to figure out the latest password to gain access to this "peekaboo bar."
What to drink: St. Elmo's six different brews bring something for everyone, from a floral kölsch to a toasty dry stout.
Insider tip: Dine outside at Soursop, which features flavorful dishes like sambal wings, pho-tine and a green curry chicken sandwich.
What to drink: Choose from a dozen local draft beers or rotating frozen drink specials.
Insider tip: Come hungry because the bar food here (parsley popcorn, pimiento cheese croquettes, duck fat eggplant dip) is not to be missed.
What to drink: Try a cocktail on tap, like the Smoke & Mirrors (smoked Larceny bourbon, Luxardo maraschino, Solerno, Angostura bitters and Jerry Thomas bitters).
Insider tip: Can't choose from the lengthy list of barrel-aged and draft cocktails? Then opt for a flight, which comes with two selections.
What to drink: Veterans behind the bar mean you can confidently order everything from classics to custom requests.
Insider tip: Happy hour, which runs from 5–10 PM daily (and all-day Sunday through Tuesday) includes deals like $2 wells, $4 shot-and-beer combos and $6 classic cocktails.
What to drink: This time of year is perfect for the seasonal Primus, a banana- and clove-rich weizenbock.
Insider tip: Check the taproom's website for updates on cask nights, events and appearances from food trucks like Melted, Art of Tacos and Belly Up.