Top 5 Bars in Austin

from Nick Saverino

Austin, Texas doesn’t lack in it’s share of drinking hubs. Whether you’re looking to wind down after a hard days work, meet up to celebrate a friend’s birthday, catch a big game, or break out in dance to music (can be live, out the jukebox, or a needle on a record), Austin has great watering holes where “everybody knows your name” (we have your meta-data, that’s how know).

Nicky Savs at The Golden Horn
  1. Casino El Camino- When people look into Austin, they always hear about the famous “6th Street,” and it’s no surprise when you the line of shot bars fronting the historic buildings, but there’s one dive in particular that stands out from the strip of bar barkers and it’s Casino El Camino. Rock music blasts from the juke box in this dark, slightly gothic bar. You can order a Bloody Mary with a meal on top of it, but if you find yourself in Casino El Camino just get an actual meal from it’s burger stand in the back. Rarely do locals hang where the tourists go, but Casino’s burger is always an exception for those who want to indulge on their cheat day. Grab a drink, order a fresh made burger, get the verde chili fries, and perk your ears up for your name to be called while you shoot a game of pool.
  2. Tiki Tatsu-Ya- When you go to a bar, sometimes you want more than a drink, you want an experience, and that’s what Tiki Tatsu-Ya nails. Don’t drink out of glass when you can drink out of a cobra’s mouth. Your group can get shipwrecked together when you’re served the Skeleton Cruise—a cocktail served on a ship, and be prepared for the lights to go down when your ships coming in. Tiki Tatsu-Ya is pure gimmick and that’s the fun in it. Biggest recommendation is if you go as a group, plan your reservations way ahead of time.
  3. Long Play Lounge– Austin is a growing city, and when the city expands, it’s always important to have a neighborhood bar for the locals to gather to, and there may be no place more welcoming than Long Play Lounge up north in the Crestwood neighborhood. A quaint bungalow, this bar is operated by local musicians who are working between touring and gigs. Unlike your typical bar playing music through a jukebox or one’s personal playlist, all the tunes toot through the speakers thanks to the bartender’s personal record collection, or the guest deejay’s personal collection, depending on the night you visit. Order up a cocktail a soak in the grooves of what the local musicians love to hear.
  4. Ego’s- When it comes to a bar hopping, and element that can get missed is the activity of entering the bar. Some of the best bars are atmosphere’s you don’t see coming, and Ego’s, on South Congress is tops here. Located in the bottom floor of a parking garage of an unused building just north of Austin’s SOCO district, Ego’s is a karaoke bar where all ranges of talents are welcome. You may have to wait in line to enter, but once you cross that threshold, you’ll be remiss to not sign your name up and let the world know what you sound like when you’re alone in your shower.
  5. The Golden Horn- This is one of Austin’s newer bars, up in the North Loop neighborhood, and it earns it’s early praise for just being perfectly spaced and decorated. The former burger joint Burger Tex was redesigned to give a nod to the bar in the 1987 movie, Barfly—The Golden Horn is also conveniently located under one of Austin’s favorite service industry post-shift dive bars, Barfly’s. Darts, a pool table, booths, and numerous seats at the bar, The Golden Horn is new, but it’s atmosphere feels like it’s been the neighborhood bar and go-to haunts for all us barfly’s for the last 40 years.

*Bonus Bar* Drinks Lounge- This is only on the list because my editor told me one of the bars on the list MUST serve Powers Irish Whiskey. So, go there if you want that.

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