When one works a busy job in downtown Austin, one sometimes feels driven to drink after a long day’s work. Most of my favorite bars these days are on the Eastside, but usually my friends and I want a drink immediately post-work and don’t want to get in our cars, drive, park, et cetera. By that point you’ve basically missed the happy hour window.
While downtown Austin is generally less funky and more swanky than boozy pockets of east and south Austin, if you know where to look you can sniff out a great deal on both food and booze every day of the week. There’s some prime people watching opportunities too, if you’re into politicians and businessmen boozing and schmoozing.
Are you a fellow downtown Austin happy hour aficionado? Notice any that I’ve missed? Or is something outdated? I try to keep this list as up-to-date as possible but businesses always be changin’ their specials… if you have anything to add/change drop a comment at the bottom of the post.
SO! First of all, my very favorites… then we’ll move into a list of all the other downtown happy hours, chronologically by start time.
Best Downtown Austin Happy Hours:
Parkside / 301 E 6th St / Monday-Friday 5-6:30pm
Food specials: Half off entire bar food menu, including awesome oysters, various seafood, bar steak
Drink Specials: Half off beer and liquor. Mondays are Martini Mondays, discounted martinis all night
The food here is super solid. You can get a bar steak & frites for like $10 during HH, and it’s GOOD. They also have really, really good ceviche and crab fritters. The cocktail program is good, too. I’m a fan of their champagne cocktails.
Backspace / 301 E 6th St / Monday-Friday 5-6:30pm
Food Specials: Half off all antipasti
Drink Specials: Half off beer & wine
Backspace is right around the corner from Parkside and also owned by Shawn Cirkiel, which is why its HH is so similar. If Parkside is good for cocktails and seafood, Backspace is equally as good for wine and Italian food. I love their wide variety of dainty, tasty antipasti, and it’s so inexpensive. Good selection of Italian wines and cheap Peronis, too. The space is intimate, cozy, and candlelit. A+ if you can get there in time.
Searsucker / 415 Colorado / Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30, Sunday all night
Food Specials: $4-7 small plates – duck fat fries, beef tartar, sweet & spicy calamari, pork belly
Drink Specials: $5 wine, $5 house infused cocktails, $3 beers
What can I say, I just love me some Searsucker. Cheap, heavy pours of wine and really good house infusions, too. Their HH food selection is expansive; there’s something for everyone on this playful menu, from shrimp and grits to sweet & sour calamari to fried chicken lollipops.
Truluck’s / 400 Colorado / Every day 4:30-6:30pm
Food Specials: Half off bar appetizers – shrimp cocktail, mussels, calamari, smoked salmon flatbread
Drink Specials: Half off cocktails and wines, including my favorite HH sparkling/cava downtown 😉
This is the HH of choice when we’re in the mood for some champs… and we’re always in the mood for some champs, let’s be real. As I mentioned above, best $6 Cava in town. The seafood is gorgeous and while the HH prices aren’t extremely low, it’s a good value for the quality and portion you’re getting. And speaking of people-watching, this place is the best… it’s pretty classy so there’s some good cougar flirtin’ to be witnessed.
Maiko Sushi / 311 W. 6th St / Monday-Friday 3pm-close, Saturday-Sunday 5pm-close
Food Specials: Discounted rolls ($4-9) and all sorts of Japanese bar snacks
Drink Specials: A plethora of cheap drinks ranging from $2.75 beers to $7 cocktails, check out the menu link for everything
Maiko isn’t the top sushi in Austin or anything, but it’s tasty and somehow it manages to be HAPPY HOUR ALL THE TIME. Like, I don’t get it. But whatever, I’ll take a cheap sushi fix. And a lot of people must feel the same way because lately this place is PACKED, especially on weekend nights. Go to Maiko hungry because the sushi is more of a draw than their variety of house beers/wines and random drinks, but this isn’t really a dining destination, more of a stopover for a roll or two before your night out. And like I said, if you don’t like to wait in a crowd of bros and girls in tight dresses on a Friday night, this might not be the HH for you. But… SO CHEAP ALL THE TIME.
Downtown Austin Happy Hours By Start & End Time:
Swift’s Attic / 315 Congress Ave / Monday-Friday 2-6:30pm
Drink Specials: $6 specialty cocktails, $5 select wines, $2 Bud Lights, $1 off domestic drafts.
Food Specials: $4-8 bar food like edamame, beef kabobs, meatballs, corn fritters
Lavaca St Bar / 405 Lavaca St / Every day 3-7pm
Food Specials: none, but Surf & Turf Po’ Boy has a window inside and they are AMAZING
Drink Specials: $2.50 domestics, $3 wells, plus rotating daily drink specials – check their website.
Taverna / 258 W 2nd St / Sunday-Friday 4-7pm; Monday all night
Food Specials: $6-8 full size pizzas, discounted Italian small plates
Drink Specials: $2 mimosas, $3 wells, $4 house wine, $3.50 beers
Péché / 208 W 4th St / Tuesday-Friday 4-7pm; Sunday-Monday all night
Food Specials: Half-off bar snacks like pommes frites, mac & cheese, mushroom fritters
Drink Specials: Selected $5 fancy cocktails
Isla / 208 W 4th St / Weekdays 4-7pm; Tuesday & Wednesday all night
Food Specials: Half-off tasty Caribbean snacks like tacos, cubano sandwiches, etc.
Drink Specials: Selected $5 tropical cocktails
Halcyon / 218 West 4th / Monday-Friday 4-8pm
Menu – none to be found online :/
Food Specials: $5 bar snacks
Drink Specials: $2 off select cocktails, $1 off wells, beer and wine
Cru Wine Bar / 238 W 2nd St / Monday-Friday, 4:30-6pm
Food Specials: $3-5 small plates – goat cheese balls, mussels, calamari, etc.
Drink Specials: $3 off glasses or flights of wine; Thursdays 50% off all bottles of champagne!
The Driskill Grill / 604 Brazos St / Sunday-Wednesday 5-7pm, Thursday-Saturday 4-7pm
Food Specials: Discounted bar food menu
Drink Specials: Rotating cocktail, wine, margarita, and beer specials – every day is different, so check out the link!
Vince Young Steakhouse / 301 San Jacinto Blvd / Monday-Saturday, 5-7pm
Food Specials: Entire bar food menu $10: Lobster Rolls, Wagyu Brisket Burger, Crispy Quail, etc.
Drink Specials: $2 off signature cocktails, $3 off glass wine, $1 off house drinks, $4 draft beers
TRACE at W Austin / 200 Lavaca / Monday-Friday 5-7pm, Saturday-Sunday 3-5pm
Food Specials: Half-off bar nibbles – charcuterie, cheese, brisket tacos, HH burger, etc.
Drink Specials: $4 Texas beers, $5 Texas spirits, $7 craft cocktails, half-off wine by the glass
TRIO at Four Seasons / 98 San Jacinto Blvd / Every day, 5-7pm
Food Specials: $5 off bar food – meatballs, antelope sliders, crispy brussels sprouts, etc.
Drink Specials: Half off wine by the glass, half off rotating cocktail and beer specials
The Living Room at W Austin / 200 Lavaca St / Every day 7-10pm
Food Specials: Discounted bar food – brisket sliders, duck nachos, truffled popcorn, etc.
Drink Specials: Half-off Libations (house crafted cocktails)
Any other readers, bloggers, or HH lovers out there have their two cents on awesome downtown Austin happy hours? Don’t be shy, holler at me in the comments!
This list is all my own “research” (aka drinking + Googling things) and opinions, and it’s also part of the 2016 Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide! I started this list for the 2015 AFBA City Guide and have been updating it throughout the year so it’s still good for 2016, woohoo! Check out the link (or click the graphic below) for more essential round ups from Austin’s top food bloggers. Cheers y’all!