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The City Guide to Cocktails

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It’s that time again! The Austin Food Blogger Alliance has released the best damn guide to where to eat and drink in Austin, and I have once again taken on the laborious task of writing about cocktails. I expect a thank you card from each and every one of you after what I put my liver through. (I loved every minute of it!)

Bribery Bakery, Photo by Arianna Trevino
Bribery Bakery, Photo by Arianna Trevino

Bribery Bakery 1900 Simond Avenue  Austin, TX

A colorful, whimsical bakery with an array of tasty, fruit-forward cocktails. If you’re hanging out near Mueller, it’s definitely worth a try even for the ambiance alone! Happy hour is weekdays from 3-6 with $2 off all cocktails, beer and wine.

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The Townsend

The Townsend 718 Congress Avenue Austin, TX

This elegant space has got to be 1 of my top 5 cocktail experiences, ever. Maybe top 3. Okay, definitely top 3. The space is luxurious, the staff are masterful in their knowledge and ability, and they even have delicious food. One of my favorite cocktails there is the Bottom Buzzer, which is even adorned with a delicate pink flower. The Townsend has an obsession with detail, and it shows. If you’re looking for a great cocktail experience, then definitely come here. (Also, I know I’m not supposed to be talking about food, but they serve some of the most tender octopus in town.)

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The Townsend

Nightcap  1401 W 6th St, Austin, TX

One of the newest, and most impressive spots in town. This adorably renovated house feels modern, sleek, and even somehow cozy. The cocktails are as easy on the eyes as they are on the lips. The Honeymoon Suite may look like it’ll taste like dessert, but it brings a delicate balance with the tart dried berries they sprinkle atop to make it appear like rose petals on sheets. Their Legs in the Air cocktail (they like to have fun the with the names) adds a lovely herbal note with violet, and the I Would Hit That is perhaps their most visually arresting.

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Nightcap’s Honeymoon Suite

Small Victory 108 East 7th Street Austin, TX

An intimate speakeasy tucked away downtown. The space is small, but never feels crowded, and the bartenders truly know their stuff.

Whisler's Taven's Eastside Queen
Whisler’s Taven’s Eastside Queen

Whisler’s Tavern 1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX

It appears unassuming, but the interior is absolutely breathtaking at this craft cocktail bar. Expect amazing drinks, and equally exceptional food trucks at this slightly off-the-beaten-path bar.

Weather Up 1808 East Cesar Chavez Street Austin TX

Infinitely secretive, and hardly advertised, this place draws the crowd that wants to be ‘in the know.’ The cocktails are expertly crafted, and they have an obsession with ice, which clearly works in their favor.

Midnight Cowboy 313 East 6th Street Austin, TX

This small, luxe space was formerly occupied by a massage parlor, hence the name. Mystery abounds, reservations are practically mandatory, and this bar eschews loud, club-like scenes for intimate booths with cart service; you get your drink made table side, and the bartenders truly know their stuff.

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Nightcap

Techo 2201 Manor Rd, Austin, TX

This intimate mezcaleria offers balanced, artfully crafted cocktails. The menu boasts over 20 mezcals currently, and the owners tirelessly obsess over the quality of their products, and take great care in carefully curating their selection. There’s a great patio, and I consider this bar to be one of the best kept secrets in town.

Techo, Photo by Nicolai McCrary
Techo, Photo by Nicolai McCrary

The Hightower 1209 East 7th Street Austin, TX

This spot, known mostly for their incredible food, also boasts an incredible cocktail program. Many of the current offerings are perfect for the patio, including their Tequila Fresa Press, and wine gimlets. I personally love the Oaxahappened, a smoky mezcal cocktail with salt bitters.

The Hightower
The Hightower

El Sapo 1900 Manor Road austin, TX

This tasty burger spot offers more than just frozen margaritas. Their impressive cocktail program includes several creations made with house-infused spirits, including the tequila-based El Cucuy which is infused with jalapeños. If you’re looking for something balanced and light, look no further than their cucumber and gin drink, the Sureño.

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El Sapo’s El Cucuy

Barley Swine 6555 Burnet Road Austin, TX

Beverage manager, Robert Stevens, has created a menu using seasonal ingredients from local farms. Many of the components, including shrubs and sodas, are made in house. Select drinks are available for their Swine Time happy hour Monday-Thursday from 5-6:30.

Garage Bar 503 Colorado Street Austin, TX

This absolutely hidden space (it’s inside a parking garage) is worth the hunt. The space is dark, sexy, and their upscale drinks list will appease any liquid appetite.

Isla 208 West 4th Street Austin, TX

Isla’s Caribbean cantina makes the best Daiquiris and  Mai Tais in town, with several delicious creations of their own. They have an impressive selection of rums, and do offer flights. Happy hour runs all night on Wednesday and 4-7 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

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Nightcap

Peche 208 West 4th Street Austin, TX

Peche (next door to Isla) is known for absinthe, and pre-prohibition cocktails with a twist. Not sure what to order? Tell the bartender what flavors you usually like, and they’re sure to make you something you’ll love. Happy hour (all night Sunday and Monday, and 4-7 Tuesday-Friday) offers $5 select cocktails. 

Roosevelt Room  307 West 5th Street Austin, TX

This place was named Austin’s Best New Cocktail Bar 2015 by Thrillist. The menu celebrates the 7 major drinking eras since the cocktail’s birth in the 1800s. Don’t stop at the downstairs bar, there’s also an intimate lounge upstairs. Happy hour is all night Tuesday, and 5-7 any other day.

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School House Pub’s Extra Credit

School House Pub 2207 Manor Road Austin, TX

This unassuming pub offers more than just elevated bar fare, they also have a solid selection of specialty cocktails that you can get for $2 off from 3-7. I recently had the Extra Credit which had just a hint of sweetness to match a slightly bitter flavor, and was balanced all around.

 

 

The Best Cocktails In Austin


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As a member of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, it is with great pleasure, and perhaps a bit too much of a sense of duty (you read that right), that I present to you the places to get the best, damn cocktails in our fair city.

Nicolai McCrary Photography – Qui

Qui

5pm-10pm

1600 E 6th Street Austin, TX 78702 (512) 436-9626

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Nicolai McCrary Photography – Qui

As a card-carrying member of the East Side, I can’t express enough of my love for Qui, and its ever-inventive cocktails. (When I first went, they were all Game of Thrones themed!) Their menus change fairly frequently, and they do not disappoint ever. On anything.

Odd Duck
Odd Duck

Odd Duck

5pm-10pm

1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (512) 433-6521

Few things are more inventive than the food at Odd Duck. One of those few things, is their cocktails. Their new, daily happy hour includes some amazing $5 moscow mules.

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Claire McCormack Photography – drink.well

drink.well

207 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751 (512) 614-6683

Everyone due north of anything downtown, knows to visit drink.well. They are the cocktail kings of the (barely) north! I guess I should stop with the Game of Thrones references….

Midnight Cowboy

6pm-2am

6th Street

This small, luxe space was formerly occupied by a massage parlor, hence the name. Mystery abounds, reservations are practically mandatory, and this bar eschews loud, club-like scenes for intimate booths with cart service; you get your drink made table side, and the bartenders truly know their stuff. Last time I went, I just told the man what types of drinks I normally like, and he blended up something customized, and wonderful just for me.

La Condesa
La Condesa

La Condesa

5pm-10pm

400 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

You can’t mention cocktails in Austin without an honorable (in a good way) mention of margaritas. Margaritas aren’t the only thing they have, but they do make incredible ones.

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Trace

Trace

5:30pm-10pm

W Austin, 200 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 542-3660

I drink so much at Trace that I’d like to formally apologize for whatever it is I may have done there. I don’t know what it is, but maybe they do. Sorry, just in case. (This is all code for: the cocktails are great!)

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The Highball

The Highball

4:30pm-2am

Lamar Plaza Shopping Center, 1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (512) 383-8309

Where do you go when you want an amazing pub quiz, or just want to chill very elegantly before a movie?

Justine’s Brasserie

Justine’s Brasserie

6pm-2am

4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 385-2900

This avant grade, hip spot is known as much for its food and vibe as its drinks. Bonus: the bartenders double as vinyl djs. The French 75 is always a favorite.

Justine’s Brasserie

Peche

4pm-1am

208 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 494-4011

From absinthe to handmade cocktails, to a open-late kitchen and extraordinarily knowledgeable staff – Peche has it all. Happy hour is usually 4-7, every day but Saturday and all night Sunday-Monday. I go for the Spicy Bees Knees when they have it, and they can custom make just about anything if you let them know the flavors you’re looking for.

East Side Show Room

5pm-2am

1100 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 467-4280

I honestly feel deeply ashamed that it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been to East Side Show Room. Those guys are the best, and past visits have taught me that they sometimes have absinthe if you ask nicely.

 

Eastside Queen
Whisler’s

Whisler’s 

4pm-2am

1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 480-0781

It appears unassuming, but the interior is absolutely breathtaking at this craft cocktail bar. Expect amazing drinks, and equally exceptional food trucks at this slightly off-the-beaten-path bar.

Whisler’s

The Gatsby

4pm-2am

708 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 320-1526

The Gatsby is a great stop downtown with a 20’s flair. I’m a big fan of the Old Sport with old-fashioned bitters, and a bit of lemon oil.

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Weather Up

 Weather Up

4pm-12am

1808 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 524-0464

Infinitely secretive, and hardly advertised, this place draws the crowd that wants to be ‘in the know.’ The cocktails are expertly crafted, and they have an obsession with ice, which clearly works in their favor.

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Weather Up

Garage Bar

5pm-2am Tues-Sat

503 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 369-3490

Winners of a recent ‘best drink in Austin’ contest (and also in a crazy-cool location – it’s literally hidden away in a parking garage). They also have a great weekday 5-7 happy hour with discounts on both cocktails and wine.