If you’re out on the town and looking for a little more decadence, ditch the dives and order a side of ambience with your cocktail. These bars have it all: delicious drinks, hoppin happy hours and amazing atmospheres. From the antique to the avant guard, here are some of the most beautiful bars in Austin.
Built in an old warehouse, Whisler’s has an industrial, post-modern sophistication complete with gorgeous tall tiled ceilings, crystal chandeliers and seductive dim lighting. Everything about this bar, from the exposed stone walls, to the ancient wooden furniture, to the foggy pane windows – and especially the creepy pictures hanging over the bathroom sinks in lieu of mirrors – is simultaneously haunting and captivating. For a drink just as mysterious as their atmosphere, try their signature Angel Eyes cocktail with blanco tequila, cocci Americano, blueberry, sage and lime.
Virtually hidden underneath Buenos Aires Café Este on 6th street is a small but endearing speakeasy that harkens back to 1920’s Argentina. The Milonga Room is full of old world character and mystery, flawlessly capturing the spirit of another world and another time. Filled with smiling old black and white photos, candlelight and velvet seats, this quaint bar specializes in amaro cocktails and antique ambience. For a sexy, sultry craft cocktail, try their Suavecito, with housemade malbec syrup, Benedictine, Pierre Ferrand Ambre and fresh sage.
This unique downtown bar has an unexpected beauty that comes from turning the everyday upside down. Upon approaching this underground establishment, it seems like an ordinary parking garage. It’s what’s inside that will surprise you. Exposed cement clashes with candlelight and hanging light bulbs in a dark, swanky parking garage-turned lounge. Are you inside? Are you outside? All that’s certain is that The Garage breaks the mold of interesting bars. Just enjoy the sweet confusion that is this unconventional watering hole as you sip on expertly-made hand crafted cocktails made by local mixologists. Try their refreshing custom Indian Paintbrush cocktail, with vodka, grapefruit, lime and rosemary.
Located in the heart of south Austin, The Townsend mixes modern cocktails with classic sophistication and décor. This bar showcases dark, rich wooden bookcases full of bound books, live music and dimly lit chandeliers that hang from elegant tray ceilings. The Townsend is chic, classy and upscale. You won’t find a juke box or dart board here. Just live performances, craft cocktails and exquisite ambience. For a dark drink that matches this bar’s sophistication, try the Lamplight cocktail with Old Grand Dad bonded bourbon, Drambuie, lemon and Chinese 5 spice.
This French comfort food restaurant and craft cocktail bar is full of southern charm and modern flare. Peche sets a romantic yet contemporary mood with crystal chandeliers, exposed brick walls and wood-beamed ceilings. Known for their boozy milkshakes and absinthe-based drinks, this southern-style speakeasy is sure to capture your heart and your tastebuds. For an adult twist on a classic childhood treat, try their signature Peche milkshake with house made vanilla ice cream, absinthe and cherry flavoured liqueur.
Not much to look at from the outside, Midnight Cowboy is easy to miss. But you should definitely take the time to tour this tiny updated saloon in downtown Austin. The bar consists of plush leather booths where hand-crafted cocktails are made table-side. From the old fashioned wallpaper and antique wood furnishings to the windowless walls and low ceilings, this bar embodies the essence of the old-fashioned saloon. For a one-of-a-kind tableside cocktail, try their Soft Hand with Barbados rum, orange amaro, sherry, lemon, egg and fresh nutmeg.
Located inside the historic Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin, the Driskill Bar is the epitome of elegance. Dripping with Texas-sized decadence and oozing southern opulence, this gorgeous hotel bar is full of gilded ceilings, antique furnishings and classic beauty. One look around the grand space and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped inside an old southern plantation, complete with rich oak, metal sculptures and taxidermied mounted heads.