Austin Bar Reviews and Drink Specials
maintained by Rayfes

Let me preface this by saying that I like drinking good beer.  On most nights I just want to relax in a place with a nice atmosphere with friends.  Music is nice but if it's too loud it's annoying.  Yeah I guess that means I'm old (born in '74 baby!).  I also don't like waiting forever for a beer but I can forgive such travesties of drinking at places like Logan's which compensate by allowing you to buy beer in larger glasses.  Ample seating and rest room facilities are plusses as well.  There are many many places I've never been to so please if you know of a good bar I should visit.  Also, feel free to tell me your impressions of a reviewed bar and whether you agree with it or not.  I'm not going to put rankings on the bars because different things appeal to different people.  These reviews are purely my opinion.  This is still under construction so please tell me if you see anything screwy!  If you know of a web site for the bar let me know so I can link to it.  When I say "no cover" I mean that I've never seen them charge cover.



Before we get to the reviews here's a list of drink specials that I know of.  This list is definitely incomplete so feel free to on new places and stuff that's no longer available.  You'll notice that most of the drink specials are on 6th street where most of the college kids hang out.
 
Day of the week: Place: Special: Web site: Cover:
Most Days Waterloo Brewing Co. "Happiest Hour" 5-6p, pints $1.75
Cedar Street 6-8p pints $2
Library domestic draft $1
Library Long Islands $2
Old Alligator Grill domestic pints $2
Touche margarita's, domestic bottles, s.o.b. $2
Amazon pints until 11p $1
Blind Pig Beer of the week $2
Buffalo Club wells $2 ?
Casino El Camino domestics until 7 $1.50
Casino El Camino premium beers until 7 $2
Cheers wells $1
Chrome Test Tubes $2
Colorado Room Frozen margaritas $2
Fat Tuesday 9oz. Daquiris $2
Logan's domestic liters $4.50
Lovejoy's pints until 10pm $2
Ritz beer of the week pints $2
SOHO frozens $2
Treasure Island jello shots $1
Sunday Jazz on 6th local beers $1.75 ?
Pecan Street Ale House pints $1
Draught Horse domestic beer pints $1.75
Draught Horse domestic beer pitchers $5.75
Colorado Room wells $2
Aquarium Long Islands $2
Paradise Cafe Cajun Marys $3
Paradise Cafe Tecate $2
Dallas Nite Club light longnecks $0.50
Dallas Nite Club most others $1.50
Cheers domestic pints $1.50
Daquiri Factory drafts $2
The Drink Shiner drafts $1
Gatsby's domestic bottles $1.75
Gatsby's wells $1
Library wells $1
Lucy's domestic bottles $1.50
Lucy's wells $2
Treasure Island everything $0.25
Monday Longhorn Lodge Frozen drinks and wells $2
Jazz on 6th imports $2 ?
Trudy's all day happy hour $
Draught Horse Guinness and Murphy's pints $2.25
Colorado Room Bud / Bud Light $1
Shakespeare's draft beer $2
Aquarium wells $2
BW-3 23oz. Honey Brown $2.50
Warehouse domestic bottles $1.75
Cheers domestic pints $1
The Drink frozen drinks $2
Library wells $1
Lucy's wells and margaritas $2
Pecan Street Ale House pints $1
Treasure Island drinks $0.75
Tuesday Daquiri Factory domestic beer $1
Longhorn lodge Mexican beers $2
Pecan Street Ale House drinks $2
Library domestic bottles $1
Library wells $1
Posse East domestic pints $1.25
Draught Horse 66 pints on tap all $2.75
Colorado Room Miller / Miller Lite $1
Dog and Duck pint night 11a-11p $
Shakespeare's drafts $2.50
Aquarium Long Island $ 2
Paradise Cafe Mexican Martini's $3
Paradise Cafe Dos Equis Special Lager $2
Warehouse karaok, wells $0.50
Warehouse domestic bottles $1.50
311 pints and wells $2
Amazon frozen ritas and mexican beer $2
Cheers domestic pints $1.50
Daquiri Factory import bottles $1.50
Wednesday Copper Tank pints $1 Yes
Longhorn Lodge Guinness, Bass, Shiner, Fat Tire, Dos Equis, Newcastle Bud Light pints $2
Waterloo Brewing Co. pints $1.75
Library domestic draft $1
Library import draft $2
Posse East domestic pitchers $6
Posse East domestic pints $1.75
Draught Horse pitchers at happy hour prices until 11p $
Colorado Room Bud / Bud Light $1
Shakespeare's Mexican beers $2
Aquarium pints $1.50
Paradise Cafe Sam Adams pints $2
Paradise Cafe call Martinis $3
Dallas Nite Club 8-10p longnecks $0.69
Dallas Nite Club 8-10p most others $1.69
Warehouse beers $1.50
Thursday Library any bottle beer $1
Aquarium any bottle beer $1
Copper Tank Mexican Martini special $ ?
Longhorn Lodge domestic bottle beers $2
Longhorn Lodge wells $1
Library Long Island $2
Posse East Shiner Bock pints $1.50
Bob Popular anything $1 Yes
Draught Horse 23oz glasses of house brands of beer $2.25
Buffalo Club wells $1
Colorado Room wells $1
Shakespeare's anything $2
Paradise Cafe Dos Equis Special Lager pints $2
Dallas Nite Club 8-10p longnecks $1
Dallas Nite club others $2
BW-3 23oz. Honey Brown $2.50
Warehouse wells $0.50
Warehouse domestic bottles $1.50
Friday Longhorn Lodge wells $2
Polly Ester's longnecks $2 Yes
Buffalo Club until midnight, Bud / Bud Light $2
Colorado Room until midnight, Bud / Bud Light $2
Shakespeare's until 10p, drafts and well $2
Paradise Cafe 8-10p, longnecks $0.75
Paradise Cafe others $1.75
BW-3 23oz. Black Star $2.50
Saturday Longhorn Lodge frozen drinks $2
Buffalo Club until midnight, wells and domestics $2
Colorado Room until 11p, wells and Buds $2
Shakespeare's until 10p, drafts and wells $2
Paradise Cafe Long Island $3
Paradise Cafe Tecate $2
Dallas Nite Club 7-10p, longnecks $0.69
Dallas Nite club others $1.69


Now on to the reviews!  I'm too lazy to add links to the pictures from these bars.  If you want to see if I have pictures from a particular bar use the search at the bottom of the page.
 
Bar Name:
Review:
Website:
607 Used to Side Street Bar, just opened late Feb 2001, dance club upstairs, relaxed downstairs, cover sometimes but it's worth it to see Katy.
Abratto's Admittedly, I haven't been this dance club in a few years but it was ok for a dance club and they do have drink specials but don't expect to get really good beer there. Look for Tony if you're there. On 5th street behind Copper Tank. Now defunct, became Voodoo Room or Lounge but it's the same thing.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Wicked place to see a movie. Well designed theater makes it easy to get in and out of your seat without crowding past everyone else. The best part of it is that you get to drink in the theater! No mainstream movies but other good things like Spike and Mike's Animation Fest and Quentin Tarantino personally showing stuff that interests him. Highly recommended, interesting place for visitors.
Aquarium This place gets packed on Thursday nights because of the $1 beer special. If you get a spot at the bar it's bearable. Used to be Steamboat.
Asave New (2001) Tequila bar on 6th, Stephanie is cool, check it out.
B.B. Rover's Obviously I like this place because they have a whole bunch of beer on tap and over a hundred in bottles. It's up north on Jollyville. I'm actually surprised I don't spend more time there! Highly recommended for trying different beers during happy hour, never been there on a weekend night. Bad food.
B.D. Riley's This placed owned by John Erwin opened on Oct. 26th, 2000. It's located right next to Logan's on 6th near Brazos and is an Irish Pub. The food is excellent and atmosphere friendly. I've spent more money here than any other bar since they've opened if that tells you what I think of them! Tell 'em I sent ya.
Babe's A live music place on 6th with some good burgers.
Bitter End B-Side The basement here is a really cool place to hang out and they make their own very fine beer.
Blind Pig Pub Many good beers on tap and usually a good crowd, small outside area in back
Bob Popular This 6th street bar used to be Toulouse but now it's a huge dance club. There are many different areas in this place so don't pick this 6th street bar as a meeting place (they also charge cover). I've had a good time there and there's some nice outside seating as well. Interesting place to take visitors. The beer selection sucks though.
Boomerz Where else can you see a drunk cowboy try to work a cell phone?
Buffalo Billiard's Huge place on 6th with lots of good beer on tap, pool tables and foosball
Bull McCabe's An Irish bar on Red River. Nice but never seems to be happenin'
Carlos and Charlie's This restaurant on Lake Travis is newly remodeled and is a nice place to relax. The view is only mediocre though and there really isn't much good beer there. Huge.
Casino El Camino You'll always find a few people here and you can get an excellent burger as late as 2am (Thanks Jim!) Decent beer selection.
Caucus Club Nice outside deck but I think it's something bad now (permanent RAVE?)
Cedar Street This 4th street bar is really interesting. They have on open sunken alley in the middle and enclosed bars on the each side. The beer selection is pretty good but the prices are steep and their service has improved . The crowd has a good mix and they usually have good bands there. I don't go there often mostly because of the price and the cover charge but I always have a good time when I do go.
Chester H's I don't want anyone else to find out about this bar because it is so special and could be potentially ruined by the Dallas yuppies that have taken over north Austin.
Club Avalon This bar is in the middle of an industrial park in way north Austin. It opened in the middle of 1998 and since I used to live in north Austin I was excited to have a bar open fairly close to my house. I went there on opening night and I don't think I've been back there since. It's technically a dance club so they think they should charge cover. They have a fairly limited beer selection and the few good beers they had (Red Hook ESB) tasted horrid there. I hope it was just an initial problem with their kegging equipment. The prices weren't bad and they have some nice pool tables. However, the building itself is a warehouse with really bad insulation so the upstairs area is blisteringly hot in the summer and with all the hard edges in there the music not only sounds bad but actually gives you a headache! I'll try them again in a few months and see if they've gotten better. Update- I think they've closed down!
Club de Ville A cool spot on Red River.
Continental Club Go for bingo happy hour sometime. One of the few places in Austin that Pearl tastes good to me.
Cool River Cafe This chain place opened in 2000 and there's one in Las Calinas so I expected it to suck like the north Iron Cactus and North by Northwest. However I was pleasantly surprised by the HUGE bar area and excellent food. The drawbacks are that it's way up north (off Parmer) and pricey, try $5.75 for a "large" glass of good beer.
Copper Tank Located at 5th and Trinity this was one of the first brewpubs (Waterloo was first). The beer there is pretty good but I've had better microbrew at some of the other popular brewpubs (like Waterloo). It still beats the socks off of most mass market beer though. I recommend the Big Dog Brown Ale although their Firehouse Stout is good too. They usually have seasonal brews that are good as well. I've spent a lot of time in this bar and I like it a lot for the most part. Wednesday is $1 pint night so it gets pretty crowded and they'll try to charge you a few bucks to come in. Thursday's are usually dead there. Friday is nice and the beers only jump to $2. This place is pretty big and the cigar room is a cool place to hang out. This isn't Hooter's but you'll probably like the waitresses!
Crown and Anchor An excellent bar north of campus. Many good beers on tap and big glass pitchers. Always a friendly crowd and good food. Sitting outside on a beautiful day is what life is all about.
Dallas Nite Club Close to cheesy country bar, 'nuff said. Ok, admittedly I know several pretty ladies that found their husbands here. Beer selection as diversified as the people, they may only serve Coors Light here. (cover)
Dog and Duck Pub A relaxing place just southwest of campus. Excellent beer selection, some outside seating. Extremely busy on St. Patty's Day (hit 4th instead).
Draught Horse A great beer bar and brewpub northwest of campus. A ton of beer on tap and their own brewpub beer is good enough to challenge the big boys. Their Vanilla Porter is a personal favorite and they have numerous food and drink specials (see above) like free pizza on Wednesdays and free Bratwurst on Saturdays. Bring a gas mask.
Earl Campbell's A good BBQ joint on 6th but not much of a drinkin' place. Bad service
El Arroyo (5th St.) Good food, cool place to have drinks outside for happy hour, say hello to Clay
El Arroyo (Far West) Good food, decent place for happy hour but no outside seating yet
Fado's This is a 4th street Irish bar. The inside of this bar is very nice and they will serve you imperial pints (20oz.) of the popular good beers like Boddington's and Guinness. The prices are a little steep ($4.50) but the place is fun and fairly large. I don't have much else to say about this place except that I've spent more money here than any other bar.
Fat Tuesday's This 6th street bar used to be really cool but it seems to have dropped off badly now. I hardly ever see a crowd there and when I do it's usually a bunch of old people. The 190 Octane is a killer drink but they don't have anything good on tap or in bottles. They have a large outside area and it's too bad this place sucks so bad now. Maybe it's better for happy hour but I doubt it. It can be cool during Mardi Gras though.
Flamingo Cantina This is a pretty cool place to watch a band, especially looking down from the open air second floor. That openness seems to be encouraging to certain people. Beer selection is ok but nothing on tap and there's nothing good cheap (is there ever?) but I'm willing to put up with it more when I'm listening to a good band. Expect to pay cover of course.
Gingerman I LOVE this 4th street bar(even though I don't go there much.) They have over 100 beers on tap and seeing all those faucets on the wall makes my heart skip a beat. The prices are typical but if you buy beer by the half yard it's not so bad. I tried to get a full yard beer once but they wanted a $50 deposit on the glass! The outside area is ok. Never a cover but never any women either. I guess beer bars don't appeal as much to that gender and I have to admit it keeps me from going there more often.
Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon A very cool, albeit small, place to hang out. Another of the few places where Pearl and Lone Star taste good.
Hula Hut This restaurant on Lake Austin is a good place for Happy Hour but it gets a bit crowded sometimes and they don't have anything on tap. Something about being on the water there is just nice though! And it's close to downtown.
Iguana Grill This restaurant off of 620 overlooks Lake Travis and is much better than Oasis in my opinion. It gets crowded on weekends so go for a long lunch during the week sometime. The setting is very relaxing even if they don't have good beer. The food is actually decent for a place on the lake. Highly recommended.
Iron Cactus This 6th street bar bar has a really cool rooftop deck. However, there are problems. For one, sometimes they'll have a special on the beer they have on tap on the first floor. However, if you're on outside deck you can't get the special! Also, they denied us their usual Tuesday drink special once because it was Cinco de Mayo! What a bunch of pricks. I try to avoid going there and they also usually charge cover. The north location is good because it gives those north Austin Dallas yuppies someplace to go and feel at home.
Ivory Cat This piano bar pretty much blows. I don't like their piano player or the crowd there. The only reason I had a good time was because I was there with a fun group of friends.
Jazz Feels the same as Babe's but it's not.
LaLa's Similar to Ginny's. Good mix of old and young, cheap prices. Christmas decor all year and elves that drop from the ceiling when guys open the bathroom door. A Tuesday night type of hangout. (Report from Logan)
Logan's This bar at the west edge of the main strip of 6th street right by my apartment. They get pretty crowded sometimes but they will sell you beer in a very nice 1 Liter mug so it's tolerable. Seeing a cute little girl walking around with a huge beer is special! They also have many tvs so it's a good place to watch a game and they also periodically play movie clips, a nice touch of something different. The music is a bit loud but what are you going to do? The prices are very reasonable for the amount of beer you get and they have a decent selection of beers on tap. No cover but you may have to wait in line.
Lovejoy's A dark bar with many good beers on tap.
Lucky Lounge This over crowded 5th street bar used to have a bunch of hot chicks in it. Now it's just a meat market with loud music that takes forever to get you a beer. I don't plan on returning there. I had a good time there with my friends despite their best efforts to keep me sober with their ridiculous wait for beer. Update- I go there often and it's the place that's #2 on my bar tab this year. Service has improved now that we know some people. Matt is a cool guy. Still not quite as cool as it used to be but worth checking out.
Maggie Mae's This old 6th street bar has a very nice rooftop deck and a so-so beer selection. They usually want cover and the crowd there usually sucks so I don't go there often. Update- their location on the corner has been sold and is now the Drink. They still have the rooftop and the shotgun bar below it.
Malaga Good food next to Cedar Street but not much of a bar scene.
Mezzaluna Downtown or north, this place usually has a good high end bar scene especially for happy hour. Hit the downtown location Thursday for some good eye candy. Excellent food.
Mother Egan's Another new Irish Pub (I like this trend!) at 715 W 6th close to Katz's Deli. The layout seems nice and well executed but I admit I'm too lazy to walk down to it often from my place.
Mother of Pearl's Go here when it's ugly outside. The bar area gets pretty lively sometimes. Average beer selection with some good specials. Look for Logan at the bar.
North by Northwest I was really excited about this place before it opened. The same owners have Copper Tank and I was hoping this would be a north Copper Tank. Unfortunately this is primarily a restaurant with a woefully small bar area. It's a real shame since their brewpub beer is so good.
Oasis This restaurant overlooks Lake Travis and has a spectacular view especially for sunset. That's the good part. The bad part is that the food sucks, the service sucks, the beer selection sucks, and you have to wait forever for everything. Frankly if those people didn't have that view to sell they'd be out of business! I try to avoid going there although visitors often want to go there. I suggest going to Iguana instead.
Paradise Cafe A nice spot that's a little different from the rest on 6th. Great food and nice staff along with a decent drink special just about everyday. Say hello to Rena and Frank.
Paradox Cheesiest dance club around. Some Iranian guy owns this dance club at 5th and Trinity and there's girls there using fake IDs to get in as 18! They have some crazy drink special like $.75 pitchers of Rolling Rock to get people in there but it's still not worth it. I will admit that I have had a good time dancing there on occasion but I don't go more than once a year or so. Expect to pay cover and wait in a line to get in. Update: renamed to "Enigma", same crap.
Pete's Piano Bar This bar used to be really cool but it's gone seriously downhill. I think it all happened when they went to "dueling pianos." Somebody let me know if this place is ever cool again. They have some good bottled beer and decent drink specials along with free peanuts.
Posse East Another excellent bar north of campus. Great beer selection and food. Sit outside.
Red Fezz This place opened at the end of the summer 2000 and no can believe there's room for a bar when they find out where it's located: between Lucky Lounge and Antone's. Pretty popular right now and a fun place. Interesting decor and worth a visit any night.
Saba A little place between Fado and Cedar Street. Decent beer selection and sometimes a cool crowd. Not always worth going into if there's a line to get in
Shakespeare's For some reason I really like this relatively small bar on 6th street. They have several good beers on tap and a good selection of bottles. I don't think they ever charge cover and we really like to hang out in the outside area out back. I think they have some special thing for South Park on wednesdays as well.
Shoal Creek Saloon Hang out on the back patio on a nice afternoon and eat some Cajun food. 9th and Lamar.
Side Street Bar This is a cool place (although it doesn't get rockin' until late) just off of 6th street. They have a few good beers on tap but the music is a little loud sometimes. This place is really dead early on though. Update- closed down and now reopened as 607, see Katy at the bar
Sky Lounge A new place (as of 10/00) on 5th and Congress. Opening weekend was awesome. Each time since has been a little less enjoyable but this is a unique place. It's a nice dance club but not cheesy, definitely worth checking out. Expect to wait in line and pay cover unless you're Jeff or Jim. I'm there more than I'd expect to be and I'm ok with that.
Speakeasy This is the place to go if you like the Dallas scene. You'll see lots of dressed up people swing dancing. The bar is very nice inside but you'll pay ridiculous amounts of money for drinks to pay for that niceness. There's usually a cover. I do like relaxing on the rooftop deck though. The stairs up to it can be a little intimidating but there's a rest room halfway up to give ya a break. I don't think I've ever tried to order a pitcher of beer there but they would probably think it's a social faux pas to drink beer like that. I pretty much try to avoid going to this place.
Steamboat This 6th street bar is a decent place to catch a live band. Not the greatest beer selection but a nice place nonetheless. Update- this Austin landmark (where Janis Joplin played long ago) is gone, now it's a fun college bar called the Aquarium.
Tangerine's Horrible place in the Arboretum. Filled with dorks in suits and old women thinkin' they still got it. Bad service, probably because I wasn't wearing a suit.
The Drink A new place on 6th street (as of 10/00) where Maggie Mae's used to be. I met the bartender and DJ shortly after they opened and they seemed like nice people. Unfortunately since it's more of a dance club I don't see myself spending much time there.
The Element Worst bar on 4th street. Cheeseball dance club with constant techno music. Cute women there but not enough to make up for how bad the place is. Note to gang bangers: get dressed up, pretend like you're important, and stay in this club and away from everything else on 4th.
The Library This 6th street bar used to Hondo's. It seems pretty popular right now so it can be crowded at times especially on Thursday's when they have $1 domestic longnecks. They also sell a few good beers by the bottle and have some decent stuff on tap. It's a bit loud but everyone seems to have a good time there. Good place to hang out with the college kids.
The Pier Another excellent place to sit outside and it's on the water. Decent food.
The Ritz This 6th street bar has a lounge downstairs and a dance floor (that usually charges cover) upstairs. They have a good beer selection downstairs. I can't think of a good reason why I don't go there more often.
The Roxy This 6th street dance club is not for me. Every once in awhile I'm in the mood to go to a dance club and I still wouldn't choose this one. The music pretty much sucked (too techno most of the time) and they didn't have anything resembling a beer I'd actually enjoy drinking. I've only been there twice and hope never to return. Maybe I'll try to find Tony at Abratto's next time... Update- I think this bar is closed.
The Tavern Located on 12th and Lamar, this bar's claim to fame is that they have air conditioning (they've been around awhile!) This is a very nice place to relax for happy hour or catch a game. The food is ok and they have a few good beers on tap for reasonable prices which they will happily sell to you by the pitcher. Upstairs there's more seating and a pool table. No cover at this nice place but I've never been there on a weekend night. Update- lately this place has been a little smoky and the service was bad.
Trudy's Central Near 30th and Guadeloupe, this is a much smaller than Trudy's North Star but better. I've spent a lot of time in the back room and outside with friends in school at UT since it's so close to campus. The back room has a nice selection of beer and the featured pint and Shiner Bock are always on special. They have an all day happy hour early in the week which makes things even nicer. I've even had a few swirl margaritas there and they were pretty tasty! Highly recommended. One of the places in Austin that always has a decent crowd.
Trudy's North Star Near Burnet and 183, this large restaurant is one of our most common hangouts. The food is good and they have a good selection of beer on tap and the prices are reasonable. There's a smoking lounge upstairs with nice couches which work well with my fat ass and it's just a cool room. For more pleasant days they have outside seating as well. Highly recommended as a good place to relax for happy hour or during the week. I don't usually recommend this but try a Mexican Martini there sometime.
Truluck's New steak and seafood restaurant on 4th. Excellent food and service. Bar is too cramped for comfort.
Voodoo Room Used to be Abratto's see above, new name, same thing
Waterloo Brewing Co. This 4th street brewpub is very cool. They are a brewpub with some seriously good beer. I like to have one or 2 of each flavor every time I go there. Ed's Best Bitter and the Porter are my favorites. The burgers used to be very good but now they are below average. They have a rooftop deck which kicks butt as well. Highly recommended for happy hour. Bring your own women. First brewpub in Austin and possibly Texas!
Waterloo Icehouse (Burnet) A hangout for Monday Night Football or any Monday. Decent food and great beer prices.
Whiskey Bar Austin Bearing some resemblance to the fun Whiskey Bar in Dallas, the Austin version appeared in January 2001 and Danny and Matt really know what they are doing. The interior is well done and the crowd is always lively. The back room and VIP lounge will be killer when they're done. Highly recommend. Located on 5th near the Element.
Wylie's This 6th street bar is a good meeting place since it never has any cover and is usually not very crowded and located pretty much in the middle of the action on 6th street. The prices aren't that great but the back room and the outside area are nice. Update- Wylie's is gone and now the place is called Melagio and is nothing special (but not bad either), say hello to Fisher and tell him I sent you.


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