Whether it’s funk and soul or blues and rock & roll, there’s something about the crisp, pure sound of your favorite song being played on vinyl that you just can’t beat. And bars all over Austin are hopping on the dj train and getting back to basics by serving up tasty drinks and even tastier sounds on some of our favorite old records – and a few new ones that we can’t wait to discover. So if you’ve got a great vinyl stash collecting dust or you’re a self-proclaimed music aficionado looking for some seriously sick spins, why not head out and check out the ever-growing music scene around the city. From special guest spins to bring your own vinyl, here is a rundown of where to find the best vinyl nights in Austin.
Irene’s – Vinyl Happy Hour (Monday-Saturday 3:30PM-6:30PM and Sundays 10AM-2PM)
A super unique early morning and late night concept in Austin, Irene’s is a hip downtown hangout that serves up breakfast from 2AM-7AM daily out of their walk-up window and dinner from 11AM – 2AM Monday thru Friday in their swanky, mid-century themed cafe. The alluring vibe of Irene’s is a mixture between classic Americana, 1950’s greaser and Austin weird, with groovy cocktail names like Strawberry Fields and Coney Island Baby and a throwback menu that includes homemade chicken pot pie, pigs in a blanket and steak & whiskey. And to keep the old-school theme going, Irene’s hosts a can’t miss vinyl happy hour every day of the week, where you can listen to a chill blend of vinyl tunes while you enjoy great happy hour deals including $3 house spirits and $2 off snacks like chicken wings and meatballs. Definitely not a bad way to spend the afternoon in Austin.
Oskar Blues Brewery – Vinyl Night (Thursdays 6PM-8PM)
A popular brewpub and beer garden in north Austin, Oskar Blues Brewery brings quality, craft beer to the Austin masses. Whether you’re looking for a pale ale, a lager or a rich IPA, this buzzworthy brewery delivers in taste, quality and personality. With three successful locations in the U.S., Oskar Blues Brewery definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to good beer and good people. Stop by the Oskar Blues Brewery in Austin Thursday – Sunday and catch a kitschy themed happy hour like Americana Afternoons and Classic Hip Hop Live. But if you want to throw back some brews with your buds and jam out while DJ’s spin some killer tunes on the turntable, then check out Vinyl Night at the Oskar Blues every Thursday, featuring some of Austin’s best spinners like DJ Hugznbugz, DJ Desi B and DJ Alex G. Because brews and vinyl always go hand in hand!
The Wheel – BYOV (Tuesdays 4PM-Close)
Located in shabby-chic east Austin, The Wheel is a casual bicycle-themed pub that offers Austinites happening daily happy hour specials, a neat little backyard to lounge with libations and, of course, plenty of places to park your bicycle! Along with a carefully curated selection of rotating craft beers, The Wheel also serves up spectacular handcrafted cocktails named after the partners’ daughters – like The Charlotte with Plantation White Rum and The Madison with Knob Creek Rye – as well as mouthwatering sandwiches from the renowned Austin Daily Press. And if you’re looking for a place to take your favorite records and jam out while you drink, head over to the Wheel on Tuesdays for their BYOV night, where they’ll play any record you bring in – manager approved, of course, so don’t bring in any inappropriate records because you probably won’t hear them.
Handlebar – Timeless Tuesdays (Every Tuesday at 10PM)
An eccentric bar in downtown Austin, Handlebar prides itself on being “The Best Place in Austin to Get Weird”. Despite its obvious name, this bar is not at all mustache themed, but rather an adult anything-goes type of playground. The spacious outdoor patio at Handlebar has plenty of games for tipsy guests to play, like giant jenga and even a grown-up sized see-saw – because who doesn’t want to drink on a see-saw?! Some of the wacky drinks at Handlebar include the Charlie Chaplin with Pimms No. 1, the Salvador Dali with Wahaka Blanco Mezcal and the Doc Holiday with Ransom Old Tom Gin. And if you’re looking for a soul-filled night of funk and grooves, check out the Handlbar’s Timeltess Tuesdays with DJ Silent Rob: an all-vinyl happy hour with a set record list that includes hip-hop, funk, soul and R&B.
Mohawk – BYOV.inyl (Thursdays)
One of Austin’s awesome music venues and dive bars, Mohawk is a great place to spend any night of the week. Along with irresistible happy hour specials nightly, Mohawk also boasts a tasty drink list with 10 draft and over 100 local craft beers as well as an indoor and outdoor stage where they host some of Austin’s most talented musical performers across all genres. Whether you’re a rock fan or a country lover, Mohawk has a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. But if you came to hear your favorite beats being played while you sit back and sip happy hour drinks, then visit the Mohawk on Thursday for their super fly BYOV.inyl night, where you and your friends can bring in a record or two and share it with the rest of the bar – just keep it PG.
Volstead Lounge – Vinyl Happy Hour (Fridays 6PM-10PM)
Located in the heart of dirty sixth street, Volstead Lounge is the classic Austin dive bar archetype that serves up generously poured drinks and a variety of off-the-wall events including dance parties, trivia nights and live performances. Inspired by Old World New Orleans, this cozy little lounge has so much more to offer than handcrafted cocktails, a rotating beer tap and excellent list of old world wines. At Volstead you can find great DJ’s, great vibes and great dancing all night every night. And to keep it fresh on Fridays, Volstead hosts a free, funky Vinyl Happy Hour with a handful of all-vinyl DJ’s spinning soul, blues, rockabilly and classic rock as well as Vintage Vendors by Eastside Pop-Up and a superb selection of cocktail and wine specials. So you can groove the night away to a swinging blend of tunes played by some of Austin’s best DJ’s.
So it’s not technically a “vinyl night”, but Justine’s Brasserie still qualifies for the list of best vinyl happy hours in Austin thanks to their quaint antique record player that spins swanky jazz vinyls all night, every night. This sexy, indulgent late night spot in east Austin serves up exotic French fare that includes everything from escargot and tuna tartar to Dom Perignon and Côtes de Bordeaux. The cozy interior of Justine’s is dimly lit, with candles and chandeliers accompanying rustic-chic, Parisian decor. Whether you’re on a hot date or with a group of friends, this intimate spot is the perfect place to nosh on a delightfully decadent dinner while you enjoy the seductive, sultry sounds of classical jazz flowing sensually from room to room.
The ABGB – BYOV (Tuesdays)
One of Austin’s most popular beer gardens, The ABGB is a huge warehouse-like brewery that specializes in house micro-brews and tasty pub bites. The substantial beer list at AGBG includes rotating and set brews ranging from Czech style Pils to hearty American Lagers. The fresh, seasonal food menu at this beer garden includes pizzas, po’boys, sliders and small plates, all made with love by Chef Tim Stevens. Whether you’re hungry for banh-mi or muffalettas, the AGBG’s got you covered. And if you’re looking for a fun, authentically Austin experience featuring all the classic hits that we all love to hear, head to the Austin Beer Garden and Brewery on Tuesday night for their BYOV happy hour and bring in whatever record you feel like hearing!