7 Best Speakeasy Bars to Visit in Austin, Texas

The city of Austin boasts a huge variety of bars and clubs and a thriving entertainment and music scene. But for cocktail connoisseurs and those seeking a more personal, intimate evening, one of Austin’s famous “Speakeasy Bars” could be just the ticket.

They’re hard to find and even harder to get inside, but Speakeasies are the ultimate place to enjoy a perfectly mixed beverage in the most exclusive of surroundings. Here’s a list of the city’s top establishments:

Red-Headed Stepchild

The first speakeasy in Austin on the list and probably the hardest to gain entry into is “Red-Headed Stepchild. RHS is a rather exclusive place and is frequented by the city’s hipster elite. The decor is plush and artsy, and the cocktail menu a stroke of genius. You’ll just have to work on finding a way inside.

How to Find It:

Situated at 119 E. 5th St: There’s a keycode system on the door and the staff change it monthly, so for your best of getting in, you’ll need to hang around in HandleBar (the bar situated upstairs) or befriend a local hipster at one of the other trendy bars in town!

Small Victory

Small Victory is a classy speakeasy in Austin, Texas located at the back of an inconspicuous garage. The bar staff here are some of the best in the city. Combined with an excellent selection of charcuterie-style snacks and tables big enough for six, this establishment is one of Austin’s finest.

How to Find It:

Situated at 108 E. 7th St: This one’s easy to miss: Look out for a parking garage and then a small red “V” decal attached to a nondescript glass door. There’s a buzzer attached to the frame: ring it, and a member of the staff will let you inside.

Watertrade

Watertrade is fairly easy to find and even easier to get into, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less interesting: Inside the bar, the main room is nearly pitch black, with the only illumination coming from the vintage lamps set behind the bar. The menu here isn’t extensive, but the staff are expert mixologists and the selection of whiskies is huge.

How to Find It:

Situated at 1603 S. Congress Ave: In the South Congress Hotel courtyard, you’ll see some stairs. Walk to the top and open the door, then head to the left.

Here Nor There

What do you picture when you think of a classic speakeasy? For the majority of folks, it would look exactly like “Here Nor There”. This bar has a very varied drinks menu and extremely friendly staff, and the decor really makes you feel as though you’ve traveled back in time.

How to Find It:

Situated at 612 Brazos Street: The entrance to this bar is behind a gate and down an alleyway. “Here Nor There” has its own app, and you’ll need to download this to make a reservation. Once you’re booked in, you’ll receive a door code (the code changes nightly).

Milonga Room

The Buenos Aires Cafe near Austin is a great spot for a tasty lunch in its own right, but at the back of this delicious eatery lies a secret: Beyond an unassuming blue door, there’s a staircase leading down to the “Milonga Room”, a speakeasy bar featuring amazing cocktails, tasty tapas, and even live music.

How to Find It:

Situated at 1201 E 6th St., this one’s pretty easy: Head to the back of the Buenos Aires Cafe and knock on the blue door to gain admission.

Firehouse Lounge and Hostel

Firehouse Lounge is actually inside a hostel. That means you’re likely to bump into other travelers at this speakeasy in Austin. Once inside the hidden bar, you’ll be able to enjoy a classic (and decently priced) cocktail like a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned, whilst you soak up the atmosphere of this dimly lit lounge.

How to Find It:

Situated at 605 Brazos Street: You’ll see a member of staff behind the hostel counter. Give them the password (nod, and say “no”!), and head towards the large bookshelf, which is in fact a secret door!


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Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy is owned by the people at Alamo Drafthouse. The venue is a former massage parlor, though these days the decor (and clientele) is far less seedy! Midnight Cowboy has multiple booths and fantastic table service featuring “Cocktail Carts” for mixing drinks directly at your table. The menu at this speakeasy is very eclectic and the atmosphere at weekends is lively, especially on the patio outside the bar.

How to Find It:

Situated at 313 E. 6th St: Ring the subtly positioned buzzer labeled “Harry Craddock”. You’ll need a reservation to get inside, which will give you a two-hour slot inside the bar.

Featured Image Credit: Midnight Cowboy Austin Facebook Page

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