Austin Bars & Nightlife

Bars & Nightlife neighborhood
Blue Owl Brewing
2400 E. Cesar Chavez St., Holly
The house-brewed beer at Blue Owl is sour—in the best way—due to their signature all-natural fermentation process, fittingly called sour-mashing, which results in lower acidity content and a tart, hoppy taste. (Staff on hand can provide you with a tasting guide to start, or opt for their $15 self-guided tasting tour.) Along with the unique texture/flavor medley of their distinctive brews, the bar itself is an elevated experience compared to your typical brewery: It is lofty, whitewashed, and fun.
208 W. 4th St., Downtown
This pre-Prohibition-style, New Orleans-inspired craft cocktail bar is a great option for drinks and light dinner. Though it began as Austin’s first absinthe bar (the infamous green liqueur was legalized in the U.S. in 2007), their dinner menu, curated by executive chef John Lichtenberger, is worth a trip, too. The riffs on French standards like duck confit, bouillabaisse, and escargots are beloved, as are their only-in-Texas specialties, like Texas wild boar with polenta, braised short ribs with duck-fat mashed potatoes, and lamb bourguignon sourced from a nearby ranch. As for the cocktails, the go-tos (besides absinthe, of course) are gin, whiskey, vodka, and rum concoctions—some original, like the Fig Manhattan (rye, sweet vermouth, house cherry vanilla bitters, fig foam), some reinterpretations of tried-and-true favorites, like Sazerac (a New Orleans classic).
The Blackheart (Closed)
86 Rainey St., Rainey
The Blackheart Bar is in an 1889 Victorian house on Rainey Street. The backyard area, which is decorated in strings of light, is a popular hangout spot—locals perch on the large picnic tables and even bring their dogs along. The bar is dominated by a large selection of whiskey, but the Moscow Mule is also well-loved, as is the near-nightly live music. You can sometimes see two bands in a night—one inside, one outside—which is a lot for a tiny bar, but draws a very fun dancing crowd.
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