This isn’t an exaggeration: lounging on a patio while eating and/or drinking is one of my FAVORITE THINGS IN THE WORLD and definitely one of my favorite things about being in Austin. Sitting inside a restaurant is all well and good, but once you’re outside in the sunshine with that cold drink in your hand, you feel like you’re instantly on vacation.
Luckily Austin has no shortage of great patios on which to laze and sip the day away. Honestly, this post was a bigger undertaking than I originally thought it would be, because there are just so many patios to choose from! So, major disclaimer: this is in no way a round up of every single available patio in Austin. That would be daunting and exhausting, both for me as a writer and you as a reader. These are simply my favorite patios in Austin.
I loosely categorized everything by location – north/south/east/west/central. I’m defining this by proximity to the Austin downtown core. Like I said… loose categorization here, folks. I added links to menus and happy hour menus/info when it was available online. All this information is as recent and up-to-date as possible as of February 2016. If you notice any mistakes or have any updates on a venue, drop me a note in the comments.
And now… ONTO THE PATIOS! We’ll start with the Eastside, since that’s where I spend most of my prime patio time.
Contigo / 2027 Anchor Lane
Menu / Happy Hour 5:00-7:00pm
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a total sucker for Contigo. It’s where Rob and I had our first date, it’s where I’ve spent multiple New Year’s Eve parties, and it’s even where we got some of our engagement photos taken (like the one at the top of this post!). This twinkly, ranchy wonderland has an awesome seasonal cocktail program and an inventive food menu full of seasonal goods plus stand-by favorites (tempura-fried green beans, anyone?).
Salty Sow / 1917 Manor Road
Menu / Happy Hour 4:30-6:30pm
One of my favorite patio happy hours around – a very cute, bustling space, and best of all, everything on the HH menu is just $5! Order the Blanche (frozen blood orange margarita) or a glass of sparkling rosé, then treat yourself to the truffled deviled eggs or chicken liver mousse.
El Sapo / 1900 Manor Road
Menu / Happy Hour 3:00-7:00pm Monday-Friday, 3:00-5:00pm Saturday-Sunday
El Sapo is still slightly under-the-radar, at least I don’t see a ton written about it, but they have a pretty expansive patio out front, a prime location on Manor, fun tequila cocktails, and indulgent, Mexican-inspired burgers. Nothing not to love about that.
Patrizi’s / 2307 Manor Road
Some of the best pasta you’ll find in town, out of a truck in the back of the Butterfly Bar! Everything at Patrizi’s is fantastic, but their fresh pasta just can’t be beat. Make sure you wash it down with plenty of red wine.
Blue Dahlia / 1115 E. 11th St
Menu / Happy Hour 3:00-6:00pm Monday-Friday
Blue Dahlia is absolutely darling and its lush backyard patio is one of my favorite parts. I love to get a glass (or bottle) of rosé, order one of their fantastic cheese plates, and pretend I’m in a private European garden somewhere. One note: bring bug spray in the spring/summer, mosquitos love this spot.
Yellow Jacket Social Club / 1704 E 5th St
Yellow Jacket’s big patio is a double-whammy; ideal for both late-night boozin’ and morning brunchin’. Their drinks are cheap, their buckets of mimosas are fun, and their food menu is surprisingly delicious! I happen to favor the tuna melt and the shrimp & grits. Yes, my favorite things at Yellow Jacket are seafood-related, random but true.
Liberty / 1618 E 6th St
Menu / Happy Hour 4:00-8:00pm
Like Whisler’s, Liberty is home to an East Side King trailer, this one serving up ESK classics like beet fries, brussels sprouts, and pork belly buns. Unlike Whisler’s, Liberty serves insanely inexpensive drinks. Hit them up for cheap, strong wells and great brews. Oh, and bring the bug spray to this one, too.
Whisler’s / 1816 E 6th St
Menu / Happy Hour 4:00-7:00pm
Home to some of my very favorite Fancy-yet-approachable cocktails in Austin and an ideal patio chillzone for kicking back with a stiff drink or two. While Whisler’s itself doesn’t technically serve food, it’s home to an oh-so fantastic East Side King Thai Kun truck, full of ultra-spicy noodles, fish cakes, waterfall pork, and more. Perfect for soaking up all that strong booze!
Violet Crown Social Club / 1111 E 6th St
Menu / Happy Hour 5:00-7:00pm Monday-Friday
Your basic big, good patio for lots of daytime and night-time drinkin’. If you get hungry, a big greasy (in a good way) slice of pizza from the onsite Via 313 Detroit-style pizza trailer should hit the spot. I like the Cadillac: Gorgonzola, Fig Preserves, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmesan, & Balsamic Glaze.
Stay Gold / 1910 E Cesar Chavez St
Menu / Happy Hour 3:00-8:00pm Monday-Friday
I love everything about Stay Gold, and yes, this includes their patio. It’s big, casual, and perfect for a rowdy night of drinking before or after one of Stay Gold’s live soul, funk, or psych shows. Don’t forget a grilled cheese from the Toaster trailer to help soak up some of those cocktails!
Jacoby’s / 3235 E Cesar Chavez St
Menu / 5:00-7:00 Tuesday-Friday
The spacious patio out back at Jacoby’s is beautiful, with big trees and views of the Colorado River, and surprisingly quiet for being right on Cesar Chavez. Bring someone you want to impress – a date, or your parents, maybe – order a round of cocktails and some dry-aged, all-natural steaks from Jacoby’s local family ranch, and watch the sunset.
Easy Tiger / 709 E 6th Street
Menu / Happy Hour 4:00-7:00pm, Monday-Friday
The expansive, festive beer garden patio at Easy Tiger is definitely its selling point. Oh, but their bakeshop that makes huge, awesome pretzels… their sausages… their beer list… okay, never mind, Easy Tiger has tons of selling points. I can’t wait until they open their second location up in the Highland area.
Cedar Door / 201 Brazos St
Menu / Happy Hour 4:00-7:00pm, Monday-Friday
This is one of the biggest and best patios downtown, with plenty of seating, TVs, lots of drink specials, and a solid menu of basic patio/bar food. When I want to grab an easy drink outside and I’m in the middle of downtown, Cedar Door is one of my go-tos.
Vinaigrette / 2201 College Ave
This cute lil’ spot just opened and I’m already in love. Huge, local, fresh salads are the name of the game here, but Vinaigrette also offers apps, sandwiches, fresh juices, cocktails, and even frozen lemonade. All on a lovely, shaded patio with a giant oak tree (which my server told us is 600 years old, I know nothing about trees but I took her word on it).
Snack Bar / 1224 South Congress Ave
Menu / Happy Hour 4:00-7:00pm
This cushy, cozy patio is perfect for people-watching, not to mention a wine-lover’s dream. On Wine Wednesdays you can score 30% off bottles… and $6 draft wine on happy hour?! Count me in for both.
Toms Roasting Co. / 1401 South Congress Ave
Yes, this is the same Toms that makes the shoes, and the eyeglasses, and whatever else. BUT did you know it is also a delicious little cottage full of coffee, with a secret(ish), peaceful back patio that never seems to get too crowded, no matter how overloaded with tourists the rest of South Congress is?! Winner winner.
El Alma / 1025 Barton Springs Road
Menu / Happy Hour 3:00-6:00pm
Welcome to the jungles of Mexico! Not really, welcome to a green and gorgeous patio on Barton Springs, with tasty Mexican food and strong, cheap HH margs. To be honest, El Alma isn’t my very favorite Mexican food in Austin, but it does have my favorite Mexican restaurant patio in Austin.
Red’s Porch / 3508 South Lamar Blvd
Menu / Happy Hour 11:00am-7:00pm
Red’s offers three levels of outdoor seating with gorgeous views of the Austin hills. They also have a super immense happy hour & specials menu, daily specials, and a huge menu of bar food favorites. Oh, and don’t forget the corn hole, trivia, indoor/outdoor TVs for sports, and more. Total crowd-pleaser.
ABGB / 1305 W Oltorf St
Menu / Happy Hour 3:00-7:00pm Tuesday-Friday
I freakin’ LOVE ABGB! (Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co, for those of you who don’t know). Awesome craft beer and even awesome-r pizza. And even awesome-r, awesome-r patio. We’re talking a giant, jovial beer garden shaded by big oak trees, full of happy people and happy pups. Just remember, they’re closed Mondays! (As if we all needed one more reason to detest Mondays.)
Radio Coffee & Beer / 4204 Manchaca Road
Lots of favorite things going on here. Tacos from one of my very favorite taco trucks Veracruz All Natural, my fave Stumptown coffee brewed by an owner who lived in Seattle (like me!) and trained at Victrola Coffee (like me! Okay, not like me since I’m not a trained barista, but Victrola was always one of my favorite Seattle spots). AND as the name promises, they have lots and lots of beer. Plus great live music & entertainment: lots of my favorite local indie acts are known to frequent Radio, plus they have Bluegrass Mondays, outdoor movie nights, and more. Oh and finally: they just announced they’re starting to serve $18 carafes of mimosas.
Moontower Saloon / 10212 Manchaca Road
Menu / Happy Hour 11:00am-7:00pm Weekdays, 11:00am-5:00pm Weekends
Moontower is a super gigantic place and a perfect spring/summer meet-up spot down south. Gather a big group of friends (and dogs!) and enjoy multiple food trucks, live music, volleyball, and more.
Uncle Billy’s / 1530 Barton Springs Road
Menu / Happy Hour (really just different daily specials every day!)
One of my go-tos when I want a frosty drink before or after a dip in Barton Springs, Uncle Billy’s has an awesome patio (complete with misters!) plus solid craft beers brewed onsite and a full bar, too. Stop by on Sunday afternoons for some live tunes at the KUTX music series.
Woodrow’s Burnet / 5425 Burnet Road
Menu / Happy Hour 3:00-7:00pm Monday-Friday
I can take or leave most of the Little Woodrow’s locations, but there’s something I really like about the Burnet one. Its big patio seamlessly connects to an open, airy indoor area, and there are plenty of TVs for all your sports-watching needs. It’s also super dog-friendly and next door to Brooklyn Pie Co, so you can get their fantastic pizzas, wings, and giant portions of queso delivered to your seat at the bar. Score.
Epicerie / 2307 Hancock Drive
Menu / Happy Hour – rotating wine and cheese specials
One of my favorite places in Austin! This little bungalow was transformed into a charming French bistro and wine shop, with a killer cheese counter to boot. You can guess what I like to order here (fancy cheese and French rosé, duh). Their delightful little patio is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon over good conversation with a friend. Don’t forget a salted chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
Yard Bar / 6700 Burnet Road
It’s a dog bar! Yay! Bring your dogs and your friends, too. Yard Bar has a somewhat “fancy” menu for being basically a boozy dog park, and I like it. Check their social media for updates on rotating specials, events, and more.
Aristocrat Lounge / 6507 Burnet Road
Housed in the old Poodle Dog bar spot, Aristocrat is a good, divey spot with a sizable backyard-style patio out back. Enjoy fusion-y comfort food goodness from the Three Little Pigs trailer alongside your cheap well drinks.
Workhorse / 100 E North Loop, Suite B
Menu / As they say, “happy hour starts when you get here”
You wouldn’t guess it just by looking at the front, but Workhorse has a wonderful patio in the back of the bar! It’s dog-friendly, has a great list of rotating local taps, and offers a solid menu of bar food (try the mac & cheese, it’s extra cheesy). I don’t even care that they don’t have an official happy hour!
Olive & June / 3411 Glenview Ave
Menu / Happy Hour 5:00-6:30pm Monday-Friday
Okay, O&J isn’t thaaaaat far west, but it’s close enough. They have three levels of pretty, shaded patio to enjoy, and cute twinkle lights at night. Pair that with lovely wine and reliably great Italian food, and this is a perfect date night patio.
Clark’s / 1200 W 6th St
Menu / Happy Hour 3:00-6:00pm
Clark’s is a sister restaurant to Perla’s and is a similarly treat yoself kinda place. Oysters, all sorts of seafood, local beer, champs, the whole shebang. Their little patio on West 6th is super adorbs and makes for some great people watching, too.
Hula Hut / 3825 Lake Austin Blvd
Menu / Happy Hour 3:30-6:30pm
I know Hula Hut isn’t the coolest or most cutting-edge, but you know what, I LIKE IT. I thoroughly and unironically enjoy tiki/tropical themed parties and restaurants, even the tacky ones. The Hut’s big, sunny patio overlooks Lake Austin, has plenty of colorful lights at night time, and offers lots of good turtle-watching for kids and adults alike (this is probably one of the only places on my list that is very kid-friendly, so take it where you can get it). Plus giant rum drinks (some served out of fish bowls!), jalapeno-ranch salsa for your unlimited tortilla chips, and surprisingly delicious tropical fusion fajitas. Into it!
Mozart’s / 3825 Lake Austin Blvd
This cute coffee shop is right night to Hula Hut and its offers the same gorgeous views and lakeside ambiance, but without the booze, food menu, and big crowds of families. Come here for a quiet spot to watch the water and grab a coffee or a pastry.
Ski Shores / 2905 Pearce Road
Menu / Happy Hour? random rotating specials
Ski Shores is waaaay out west and I’ll be 100% honest, its food and drinks are nothing crazy and definitely a lil overpriced. But you are paying for the view. Plus if you’re coming off a day on the water, or you’ve docked your boat in their marina for a midday snack, that burger and beer is going to taste great.
So there you go, some of the best and loveliest patios in all of Austin! As I mentioned, if I missed any of your musts, holler at me and let me know!
I wrote this post mostly because I looooove a patio (obviously), but also to contribute this important info to the 2016 Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide. Check out the link (or click the graphic below) for more essential round-ups from Austin’s top food bloggers. See you on the patio!