Whether this is the first date, a blind date, or the define-the-relationship date, here are our top picks for date-friendly bars around Austin. Stay Gold What makes Stay Gold great for a date is its variety. You can choose inside or outdoor seating, beers or cocktails, live tunes or tasty food truck fare. If this is your first date, we suggest starting on the patio, and if things go well, you can snuggle up in one of the indoor booths across from the bar. Easy Tiger Easy Tiger is another well-rounded bar that is both impressive and easygoing. Enjoy cozy inside nooks, outside areas for hangs, c .
Midnight Cowboy Midnight Cowboy adds a touch of class and exclusivity to a street otherwise known as "Dirty Sixth".
According to the prohibition-era theme, you won't find a sign illuminating the way to Midnight Cowboy. Instead, you must make a reservation, whereupon the staff will give you the correct buzzer number for the evening. This luxury cocktail speakeasy was formerly a brothel by the same name and accommodates no more than eight people in a party at once. Depending on your order, the mixologist might concoct your poison tableside with a rolling-cart full of fresh ingredients.
As former patrons might have said, don't be fooled by size – small drinks pack quite a potent punch. • 313 E 6th St, +1 512 843 2715, . Tue-Sat 6pm-2am Yellow Jacket Social Club Photograph: John Pesina/johnpesina.com People are first drawn to Yellow Jacket Social Club by the smattering of wooden tables amid an explosion of crepe myrtle trees on a gravel patio.
They're then won over by an interior bar that's a modern take on an old saloon with some winning details: reclaimed steel, timbers, railroad spikes and swinging doors, all of which are sourced from the surrounding East Side neighbourhood. Don't expect any dressed-up cocktails or fancy service here, but do explore the hard-to-beat Cuban-influenced food menu. Most importantly, the prices run across the board.
Bring your dog, your bike and your tattoos – the culture here is highly accepting of all. • 1704 E 5th St, +1 512 480 9572, . Open every day 11am-2am Easy Tiger Easy Tiger bar, Austin, Texas Easy Tiger's indoor/outdoor beer garden is so well designed and busy that it caught the attention of magazine.
Nestled up against Waller Creek, which runs through downtown Austin, Easy Tiger boasts views of high-rises, greenery, rock and water. The Wes Anderson-inspired decor is evidenced by the 1970s vignettes of bold wallpaper and retro hand-painted signage. In addition to a full bar, this place offers a rotating menu of obscure beers and wines, though they tend to sell out fast.
Go for the housemade sausage and bread once you're sauced and ready to hit one of the ping-pong tables. • 709 E 6th St, +1 512 614 4972, . Open every day 7am–2am Dry Creek Cafe & Boat Dock Photograph: Big Man SE3/flickr Hold your horses, for there is neither a cafe nor a boat dock here. Instead, a landlocked winding road leads to a ramshackle bungalow atop Mount Bonnell that looks as delicate as a house of cards.
So what's the draw? Simplicity in the form of ice-cold beer, an old country jukebox, and a rickety deck that offers a lush view of where Texas Hill Country begins. Though the surrounding area has been populated with the mansions of the nouveaux riches, Dry Creek holds fast to its humble history and roots, refusing to change with the times.
• 4812 Mount Bonnell Rd, +1 512 453 9244, . Mon-Sat 4pm-9pm Lustre Pearl Photograph: As the founding and most frequented bar of the Rainey Street district, Lustre Pearl charms its visitors with a semi-restored aesthetic and sprawling backyard. Social butterflies hit the giant, deliberately dilapidated house to hang out, hook up and hoolah hoop. The place is so consistently charged with energy, an entire night in Austin could be devoted to weaving in and out of the young professional and/or collegiate crowd.
Should you indulge in one too many Black Eyes (Shiner Bock with a shot of Jack Daniel's), the food truck conveniently resides in Lustre Pearl's backyard, ready to come to the rescue one greasy plate at a time. • 97 Rainey St, +1 512 469 0400, . Open every day 4pm-2am Whip In Whip In, Austin, Texas Whip In is revered for its novel interpretation of a convenience store-turned-restaurant and bar, located on an unassuming (and unattractive) corner of Interstate 35 in South Austin.
It is a place to shop for obscure grocery items, order Texas-influenced Indian food (dal puppies are a must), participate in a trivia game, or drink from a selection of 72 microbrews on tap. Family-owned and operated, beer lovers will always find someone behind the bar who can talk shop and knowledgeably guide a tasting.
And should you like something you drink, chances are you can find it in store to take away. • 1950 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd, +1 512 442 5337, . Open every day 10am-midnight Bar Congress Photograph: Casey Dunn Bar Congress serves as a sophisticated conduit between its popular eatery, Second Bar + Kitchen, and the five-star Congress restaurant.
The dark, narrow bar is classy, sophisticated and well-appointed. The operation is stacked with top Austin talent, featuring an approachable sommelier and artistic bartender whose concoctions may well erase the memory of any other drink you've ever put to your lips. Service is paramount at any institution run by award-winning chef and Bar Congress is no different.
But it's not all pomp and circumstance here: this is Austin, and Bar Congress does know how to kick back and relax, as evidenced by seasonal series like the summer's Tiki Tuesdays and Wednesdays. • 200 Congress Ave, +1 512 827 2760, . Tue-Sat 5pm-midnight Hotel San Jose bar Photograph: Jamie Kosich Designs/flickr This private, understated patio par sits in the hotel grounds.
Frequented by the creative, artistic types seeking asylum from the Texas heat, the bar serves a small but fine selection of beer, wine and sake, as well as quite possibly the most refreshing sangria in town. Hotelier Liz Lambert (of the ) is behind the minimalistic south-western design accented with desert plants, vibrant red glassware, and a consistently killer soundtrack. Careful, you might get so comfortable in this South Congress oasis that a happy hour could turn into an overnight stay.
• 1316 S Congress Ave, +1 512 444 7322, . Open every day 5pm-midnight Barbarella Photograph: Xgray/flickr Feel like dancing (dirty or otherwise)? Then make your way to Red River Street's Barbarella. Smoky, red-lit rooms are tucked away at the turn of every corner and an always packed dancefloor is illuminated by several large screens and a disco ball. Weeknight themes cater to an array of cultures and sub-genres from "Tuesgayz" to Thursday "Gritz & Gravy", Friday "Footloose", and Saturday "New Noise".
If you need a brief break from the sweaty shimmying, the back patio connects to the calmer neighbouring bar, Swan Dive. But if you're young and looking to make a home-run, chances are you'll stick close to hipster-heavy Barbarella. • 615 Red River St, +1 512 476 7766, . Open every day 10pm–2am Bar Ilegal Bar Ilegal, Austin, Texas Set within the grounds of , many people don't even realise Bar Ilegal exists.
The tiny, nondescript stone shed might look like a storage unit, but inside awaits a quiet alternative to the general hoopla of Rainey Street. The bar only serves mezcal imported from an authentic, small-batch distillery in Oaxaca, southern Mexico, the bottles of which neatly line the wall of the small bar, backlit by flickering candles.
Because of the size, there is usually only one – knowledgeable – bartender on hand. As with mezcal itself, this hidden bar-within-a-bar should be savoured slowly as you discover its subtle nuances. • 609 Davis St, +1 512 494 4120; . Hours vary • Caitlin M Ryan is the editor-in-chief of daily digital magazine
best first date bars in austin - Best date
While finding the potential human you’ll spend your life with happens mostly on the internet, you’re going to have to actually meet them in person eventually. And whether you’ve only gotten to stalk them virtually or you’ve been forcefully set up by a mutual friend, nothing about a first date is easy. What you need: a casual place (this isn’t a rose ceremony) that proves you know what you’re doing (this isn’t amateur hour) where you can actually hear each other talk, enjoy whatever it is you’re drinking, and possibly eat something too - because getting accidentally wasted probably isn’t the look you’re going for either.
Ready? Great, so are we. Here are Austin’s best first date bars. the spots It’s a Wednesday night and the guy you’ve been talking to on and off for two weeks finally mans up and asks you out. He suggests the East Side, but leaves the place entirely up to you.
In this situation, choose Stay Gold. The lively patio situation has everything you need to keep things running smoothly (games, a food truck, and plenty of space), and if things are going well you can move inside for live music, dim lighting, and a more intimate vibe. One of our go-to spots for fancy cocktails, this converted East Side house has magic powers for mitigating first-date awkwardness.
The vibe inside leans romantic, but the backyard situation is much more upbeat. Order “The Falls” - it’s an excellent off-menu cocktail involving brown liquor and lime.
And ordering anything off-menu instantly gets you 100 bonus first date points. Looking for a low-key place where you can actually get to know someone? The Drafting Room, an excellent new wine bar, is a great choice for more serious contenders.
This place popped up out of nowhere on Rainey Street, and no one is complaining. The patio is one of our new favorite hangs, and the French food you can order from L’Estelle House (which it’s hidden behind) is excellent. Go ahead and spring for the bottle, you’re going to want to stay a while. Slightly off the beaten path, have faith in your GPS and you’ll find Yellow Jacket Social Club behind some train tracks and inside a tiny forest.
The inside space is small and no-frills (at best), so you’ll want to be outside under the twinkly lights and trees, which are what you’re here for. Their frozen drink specials are always good, and when you start getting hungry order a shrimp and grits to share.
Fact: ordering mezcal makes you look a lot cooler than you actually are. And Whisler’s is one of the best places in town to do it. The tiny Mezcal-only bar upstairs has a great vibe, and once you’re tired of drinking the smoky stuff you can head to the always-happening patio downstairs for a full cocktail menu and some snacks from the Thai-Kun truck. Plan to go between 4 and 7pm to take advantage of the $7 cocktails during happy hour.
Whether or not you’re going out with someone who knows the difference between Rye and Bourbon, everyone likes nice things. So treat them (and yourself) right at Drink.Well., a place that delivers on its name. The cocktails are beautiful, the food is great, and the location is just removed enough to feel secluded - but not so far removed that you can’t make a quick exit should things go south quickly. Casual, cool, and all things beer, Gibson Bar has just about everything on tap.
Their cocktails are also a great option, especially during happy hour - and if you’re a gin & tonic person the well drinks also happen to be extremely affordable ($3).
The low-commitment setting is ideal for a last-minute meetup, or a quick chance to feel things out. And if you have a few too many G&T’s, you can always soak them up (and save yourself from immense regret tomorrow) with a Luke’s Inside Out sandwich right next door. Another wine bar that should be on your radar, especially for early in the game dates, is House Wine. Located in a quaint house right off Barton Springs Road, this is an excellent place for a glass of wine, a cheese plate, and hopefully learning more about each other besides your shared interests in excercise and dogs.
If you’re dating on a budget, there’s also an outstanding happy hour and daily specials. And if you’re feeling adventurous, every Monday is open mic night, so test the waters and let sh*t get weird. Brand new to Austin is Kitty Cohen’s, a cross between a chic 1970’s Palm Springs hotel and a chic grandma’s Palm Beach house. There’s a palm tree-covered patio, funky retro decor, beachy cocktails, and a pool - all of which add up to an environment that feels less like a bar and more like an alcohol-fueled vacation.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy getting to know one another. Reminder: this is whole dating thing is supposed to be fun.
Bars in have evolved into much more than simple drinking establishments. At any given bar, the focus may be on whipping up fancy custom cocktails, presenting live music, brewing craft beer, hosting trivia, or offering games such as ping pong and cornhole.
Whether you’re looking for an activity-packed evening or a quiet date night, one of these bars will meet your needs. The most reliable sign of a high-quality dance hall in Texas is the presence of elderly folk, particularly old people who skillfully dance and spin and are blissfully unaware of anyone other than their partner.
On some nights, the Broken Spoke is bursting with lively seniors who dance circles around the youngsters.
Usually, there's a mix of young and old, cowboys and hipsters, Austinites and tourists. The rectangular wooden dance floor splits the room in two with seating areas on either side. The bands, whether they’re young or old, play mostly traditional country music. Because that’s the kind of music owner James White likes, he’s been doing things this way since 1964, and he has no intention of changing.
Another fan of traditional country music, Willie Nelson, has been known to drop in here when he’s not touring. Featuring an intimate and colorful indoor space plus a sprawling outdoor patio against a limestone cliff, Cheer Up Charlies is just plain fun. Expect themed dance parties, live music, drag shows, film screenings, and karaoke. Arlo’s vegan food truck offers a delicious way to refuel after a long night of dancing.
And if your digestive system needs a little boost, there’s even freshly brewed kombucha on tap. If you want to learn about the history of the cocktail as you imbibe, The Roosevelt Room can take you to school. The menu is broken up by era based on when the drink was created. In the elegant downstairs area, customers are seated, and full table service is available. Reservations are recommended. Upstairs, you can seat yourself at the long bar, or have a more private experience at one of the sleek booths.
Snacks and light meals are also served, ranging from spiced nuts to spinach and arugula salads. Whiskey connoisseurs will find 400 premium selections to choose from at Seven Grand. Even if you’re not an expert, the bartenders are, and they can help guide you to just the right whiskey for you. Whether you prefer your whiskey straight or as part of a handcrafted cocktail, this is a classy spot to hang out or enjoy a game of pool.
There’s also a large outdoor patio where live bands perform on occasion. A dog-friendly bar on the east side, Shangri-La features a slightly divey indoor space with pool tables and a large outdoor patio. In addition to standard cocktails and beer, the bar has an extensive selection of frozen drinks, such as the Dmango Unchained and the Tangri-La.
The Baton Creole food trailer sells crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and other Louisiana delicacies. The interior looks a little like Pee-wee’s Playhouse with overstuffed chairs, mismatched loveseats and multicolored walls. It’s a coffee shop during the day, but the focus turns to infused booze in the evening. The bar’s specialties include drinks with a variety of infused liquors. Don’t miss the espresso-infused whiskey. Those with a sweet tooth will love the strawberry-infused vodka.
Adventurous drinkers might want to try the habanero-infused mezcal. Also, the large outdoor patio is dog-friendly. During happy hour at the Saxon Pub, a 50-year-old would be considered a young whippersnapper. However, most of the old folks head home around 9 p.m., and the clientele comprises a mix of ages, depending on the bands playing that night.
Presenting a mix of roots rock and country, the Saxon Pub is the musical soul of south Austin. Bonnie Raitt sometimes pops in when she’s in town. Bob Schneider plays a wildly popular show almost every Monday night, and The Resentments anchor the Sunday night lineup. The White Horse features an eclectic mix of country, bluegrass, Cajun and conjunto music.
Regardless of the musical style, the dance floor at this hipster honky-tonk is always buzzing with activity. House bands include Conjunto Los Pinkys, Rosie & the Ramblers, and Two Hoots & a Holler. Two-stepping lessons are offered before most weeknight shows. Occupying a long, narrow building, the Continental Club feels intimate but not too cramped. When it gets crowded up front, there’s a pool room in the back that offers a little more breathing room.
The musical acts are often some variation of rockabilly, blues, or straight-up rock ’n’ roll. Frequent performers include the gravel-voiced Jon Dee Graham, deadpan storyteller James McMurtry and country crooner Dale Watson. The bar's annual tributes to Elvis Presley and Buck Owens are truly special nights, attracting some of Austin’s best musicians.
There’s a dance floor in front of the stage that’s either tiny or medium-sized depending on where they decide to put the chairs for a given show.
Located on the University of Texas campus, the is an excellent place to see major stars and up-and-coming artists in an intimate setting. The cafe/bar is easy to miss if you’re not familiar with the UT campus. It’s tucked inside the nondescript Texas Union building near Guadalupe and 24th. Singer/songwriters such as Darden Smith and Sara Hickman perform here regularly for attentive audiences.
After many relocations, Antone’s has finally found a (hopefully) permanent home in downtown Austin. Nationally renowned blues/rock star Gary Clark Jr.
is a part-owner of the club, which is continuing the late Clifford Antone’s commitment to featuring blues artists. The ground floor has a simple layout with the band at the back and a long bar on one side.
There aren’t many chairs, but that’s not a problem if you’re dancing all night. For those who prefer their music with a little more of an edge, Mohawk presents everything from rap to punk to heavy metal, plus several bands that just can't be categorized.
Expect a heavily bearded crowd and offbeat events such as wrestling and drunken spelling bees. The multilevel layout is perfect for restless roamers during mild weather. You can wander inside and out and enjoy different views of the band as well as always-stellar people watching. For an unbeatable combination of BBQ and music, head directly to Stubb’s. The multilevel historic building has a relaxing, rustic feel with exposed-brick walls and high ceilings.
The outdoor amphitheater attracts major musical acts while the indoor stage often presents local artists. Stubb’s brisket and pulled-pork are also works of art.
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