It’s five o’clock, the streets are filling with hungry night owls and you’re looking for a good stiff drink. With bars on virtually every corner, there’s a bevy of options for the imbiber on a budget. So if you’re looking for a bar that’s easy on the wallet and heavy on the drinks, here’s some great dives around Austin that serve cheap drinks (and eats).
Barfly’s – Central Austin
Tucked away on the second floor of an old building, Barfly’s is the epitome of dive bar, with cheap drinks, dim lighting, outdoor patio and kooky comic book decor littering the walls. Hailed as ‘Austin’s Most Epic Dive Bar”, this totally unassuming watering hole has all the essentials: foosball, pool tables, classic arcade games, super friendly staff, a jukebox and just the right amount of grunge. If you get hungry, you can grab a reasonably priced bite downstairs at Burger Tex. Although there’s no draft beer, Barfly’s has a great selection of local craft beers to help support Austin’s ale economy, plus their drinks are always cheap – and strong!
Mugshots – Downtown Austin
Located near – but not too near – the infamous 6th Street, Mugshots is a perfectly unpretentious little dive gem in the heart of hipster town. Their name is a clever double-entendre that alludes to the fact that they sell cheap beers and booze, as well as a nod to the various “mugshots” that don the walls inside. The inside is dark and intimate, with exposed brick, red-light chandeliers and flickering candles on the tables. Along with a great selection of beers and cheap drinks, Mugshots also offers unbeatable specials like a $5 “Happy Meal” – which comes with a Miller Highlife and whiskey shot, and $2 grilled burgers and cold pitchers of Lone Star for just $4 every Friday! With a dance floor, jukebox and small stage there’s some room to rock out and let loose, or check out the photo booth and take your very own “Mugshot” to commemorate this dive-tastic occasion.
Full Circle Bar – East Austin
Appealing to the big kid in all of us, Full Circle Bar is a fantastically fun and casual hangout in east Austin that offers cheap drinks, fun games and plenty of indoor/outdoor seating so you can camp out with friends and play the night away. This playful bar is not your average dive, with an outdoor cornhole garden, free lectures in their backyard, and even skeeball leagues and cornhole clubs for the competitive regulars. Not only does Full Circle Bar offer great beers and drinks at cheap prices, they also offer tasty tater-tot inspired treats and sammies from I Tot You Well. This friendly neighborhood ‘adult playground’ is great for parties, bachelorettes, groups, or just a fun night out with good peeps.
The Little Longhorn Saloon – Central Austin
Located in central Austin, The Little Longhorn Saloon is a honkey-tonk hole in the wall that has cool drinks, great music and lots of friendly faces. Any night of the week you visit this tiny dive you’re bound to find people two-steppin and toe tapping all over the dance floor. Although they don’t sell food, you can bring in food from nearby grub spots like Hat Creek Burger, Peached Tortilla and Brooklyn Pie Co. But what people really can’t stop talking about is their totally weird – and kinda gross – “Chicken Sh** Bingo”, which is literally chickens defacating on a bingo board…if that doesn’t pique your interest then just visit for the fantastic happy hours, country music and generously poured drinks. (Plus rumor has it the legendary Willie Nelson is known to drop by from time to time).
Dirty Bill’s – Downtown Austin
The one and only dive bar on swanky West 6th Street, Dirty Bill’s is a low-key chill spot where you can grab a drink and listen to good tunes while you catch up with friends – or get to know a date. The interior of the bar is small, narrow, and dark, but packed with personality and people any night of the week. There’s a juke box in the corner and plenty of hip-hop for the twenty-somethings, plus DJ’s and live music on occasion. And if you’re hungry you can get a juicy steak right next door at The Original Hoffbrau.
The Jackalope – Downtown Austin
Perched right off dirty Sixth, The Jackalope is a classic dive bar that offers a plethora of drinks in all forms – shots, bombs, drafts, bottles and cocktails. But unlike your average run-of-the-mill dive bar, Jackalope offers some majorly tasty bar food like loaded burgers, stuffed po’ boys, open fired pizzas, hot dogs, wings and more! They even have a few vegetarian options like a grilled portabella sandwich, toss salad, waffle fries nachos and sweet potato tots – all very reasonably priced. And if you want even more of a deal, you can get 2 for 1 burgers on Wednesdays and half price whole pizzas on Tuesdays!
The Tiniest Bar in Texas – Downtown Austin
OK, so we don’t actually know if this is the tiniest bar in Texas, but this is definitely one tiny bar that’s positively full of Austin’s good vibes. The Tiniest Bar in Texas is a quaint little hole in the wall right off west 5th street that’s offers strong cocktails, lots of beer, plenty of outdoor seating and great drink specials and events like Saturday night trivia with $1 Lone Stars. Although there’s not much to it on the inside, the spacious covered patio is where the party is at every night, with TVs, lots of tables and a big stage so you can take in a live show under the stars. If you get the hungry there’s scrumptious Mediterranean munchies right next door at Austin’s Habibi (Regulars say you have to try the the Timiest Bar in Texas’s tequila root beer!)
Donn’s Depot – Downtown Austin
Located in the heart of downtown, Donn’s Depot is a grown-up take on the classic dive bar, with great dancing, live music and drinks o’ plenty. The decor is divey and adorable, with dim lights, knick knacks and a huge dance floor dedicated to the Texans Two Step – and the ladies bathroom is in an old train caboose! The crowd at Donn’s Depot is a little more old school, so there’s not a lot of hipsters or just-turned-twenty-oners, just chill folks waiting to dance to their favorite song while they sip an ice cold beer. There’s no kitchen at the bar, but they do have free popcorn to snack on plus pizza and tasty Italian right across the street at Lucky’s Puccias.