Top Six Whiskey Bars in Austin, TX
Updated: Jul 5, 2018
Austin, Texas is full of world class bars- this is just a fact. But, what makes Austin such a great drinking town is the diversity of bars you can find spanning the various pockets in our city: island-themed rum bars on Lake Travis, fancy cocktail mixology bars in The Domain, country bars with mechanical bulls on Dirty Sixth Street, and bars with dusty taxidermy on the walls off 5th Street. Over the past few years an increasing number of whiskey bars have popped up in the Capital City, allowing us to taste hard-to-find small-batch and single-barrel selections as well as rare vintage bottles for those high-roller whiskey connoisseurs. Finding a good whiskey bar is tougher than you think- many suffer from high prices, poor selections and amateur bartenders- but lucky for you, we put our livers to work (so you didn't have to) and found our favorite Austin spots to grab a good ole' glass of grandma's cough syrup.
"Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey.”- Ernest Hemingway
(Below are our picks for best whiskey bars in Austin, Texas, in no particular order)
Moonshine Patio & Grill
First piece of advice: Don't let the name fool you. Moonshine boasts some of the greatest southern food in Austin and has also been featured on the Food Network, for exactly that. But to your surprise, Joe Nguyen and Larry Perdido, who are the operators of Moonshine Patio and Grill, each have arguably the largest personal bourbon collections this side of the Mississippi. They continuously look to grow their collections by partnering with distilleries and hand selecting private single barrels, with the master distillers themselves, and implementing this into their bar programs here at Moonshine. Pair an astounding bourbon list with one of the quickest bartender teams, led by bar manager Sera Baxter, and you have possibly the best bourbon bar in Austin. Also, just between us... I have heard rumors that Moonshine has a hidden private bourbon cellar that houses some of the rarest and hardest to find bourbons in the world. But you didn't hear it from us...
ADDRESS: 303 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
Nickel City Bar
With a list of 250 to 300 whiskeys and 20 brandies, Nickel City offers some of the best drink prices in town (no drink is over $10), partnered with the best retro dive bar decor which gives you a seedy feel without wood rot and the smoke-scented walls. If you are looking for knowledgeable bartenders, comfortable vibes, and great bar food (their sliders are hands down the best in Austin), then this Eastside brown liquid haven is for you. Oh... and their Frozen Irish Coffee is to die for.
ADDRESS: 1133 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
The Roosevelt Room
Who wouldn't want to go to a cocktail bar whose co-owner, Justin Lavenue, was recently named “Most Inventive Bartender” by Sapphire Bombay as well as being on the cover page of the "Men of the Year" Issue of GQ Magazine?! Yeah, The Roosevelt Room isn't quite considered a whiskey bar, but they sure are whipping out whiskey infused cocktails that will time-travel you back to the 1920s and will have you coming back for more. If stopping by here, we suggest trying out their Brooklyn Cocktail, which is listed below:
1908, New York
Rye Whiskey, Dry Vermouth, Maraschino liqueur, Amer Picon, and a Lemon peel
ADDRESS: 307 W 5th St. - Unit B Austin, TX 78701
Located in the popular "hipster area" of East 6th Street, The Grackle is the perfect spot to kick back, relax and enjoy the tunes of a crackly old jukebox. No need to get your fancy pants on if you're thinking about heading here- with a chill patio and an energetic crowd you will be immersed in Austin culture and might even find yourself playing a game trivia with a complete group of strangers. All in all, this bar has a great combination of outdoor patio space for day drinking, great service and fine whiskeys. Two thumbs up for their well whiskey being Buffalo Trace!
ADDRESS: 1700 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Freedmen's Bar and BBQ
Freedmen’s is a beer garden, laid-back whiskey lounge, and smokehouse serving barbecue and retro-inspired cocktails in an historic Austin building circa 1869, and wow were we impressed with menu. For such a small bar area to work with, they sure did bring it big time with the whiskey selection. Our favorite thing to try here was their whiskey flights which start at $13.25. Our choice was the Finishing Touches flight, which included:
Makers 46, Hudson Maple, Jefferson's Ocean for a reasonable price of $32.25. Also, if you start to feel a little buzzed, you can always grab some one-of-a-kind Tangy Pulled Pork to fill that stomach up before you catch your Uber ride.
ADRESS:2402 San Gabriel St, Austin, TX 78705
Seven Grand Whiskey Bar
LA-based whiskey bar Seven Grand made its way to 7th Street in East Austin and brought with them 400+ different whiskey & bourbon selections and a crazy $5 happy hour every night until 8pm. The hunting lodge theme paired with billiards tables, fuzzy deer head taxidermy and flowing beer taps, gives you a speakeasy, secret society feel. We highly recommend this spot for a fun night out with your significant other to dabble in some top-notch whiskey tastings and cocktails, made by some truly outstanding bartenders.
ADDRESS: 405 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
What is your favorite whiskey/bourbon bar in Austin and why? We love to hear your opinions, so please comment. Thank you for reading and please share with your friends.
Hugh Olson of Drinking Austin