Spring in Austin can be a little unpredictable. We've got the April showers (and March showers, May showers, etc.) typical of the season, as well as days of unseasonably cool and warm temperatures to contend with. But then we also have days that are undeniably perfect — the days that draw us outside. And could there be anything better than happy hour at our favorite local patio, sipping a cold beer or a salt-lined margarita?
Probably not. If al fresco dining and drinking sounds like something you need to do, stat, here are the Austin places to visit over the next couple of months thanks to their idyllic patios.
Anthem, 91 Rainey St. #120
The patio might be small, but you'll be too busy appreciating Anthem's kitschy-cute tropical vibes to notice its size. At the northern end of Rainey Street, the restaurant fusing Texas and Asian flavors keeps al fresco diners shaded with a slatted roof. Snag one of the two wicker swings or booth seating that runs along the outer wall — either way, the chaos of the surrounding street won't pierce this green-hued oasis.
What to sip: Less than a year open, Anthem has become known for its tiki drinks like the Kegged Mai Tai that comes served in a Chinese takeout container.
Bar Peached, 1315 W. Sixth St.
One of Austin's newest patios is part of the latest concept from the Peached Tortilla team, which renovated the former Winflo Osteria bungalow. Booze commands a greater portion of the menu here, as embodied through the 13-seat centerpiece bar inside. But the expansive patio featuring an enormous heritage tree strung with lights is what all outdoor-loving Austinites dream of.
What to sip: Beverage director Kevin Kok draws inspiration from international sources, including Mexico and South Korea, for cocktails like the beautifully colored Kyoto Kiss with gin, raspberry, yuzu, shishito, egg white and preserved raspberries. Yes, that's a lot of disparate flavors coming together, and yes, it's a harmonious blend.
The Brewer's Table, 4715 E. Fifth St.
Not your typical brewery, the Brewer's Table has worked to make its outdoor lager garden a welcoming hang-out amid the industrial area of East Austin where it's located. In the minimalist yard, cornhole, shade and an extra-affordable menu await.
What to sip: A little bit of everything is available here, from Texas wine to craft cocktails, but order one of the house lagers like Vor Ort, a light, pilsner-like easy sipper with flaked maize and, in the most recent batch, Saaz and Cascade hops.
Draught House Pub & Brewery, 4112 Medical Pkwy.
Austin loves chill spots. And this longtime (read: nearly 50 years old!) British-style tavern is pretty much as laid-back as it gets. Once you've ordered your pint within the dark, cozy interior, head outside to claim your place at one of the long picnic tables in front of the Tudor-style building. Or go ahead and get in line for food truck grub. Either way, count on staying awhile.
What to sip: With nearly 80 craft beers, ciders and wines on tap, you've got a lot of options to choose from. The Draught House, which has been a brewpub since 1995, also has house beers, so why not try a pint of something you can't get anywhere else, such as the Beelzebub Bock?
Ciclo and Live Oak at the Four Seasons Austin, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.
The downtown hotel underwent renovations last year to its bottom-floor restaurant and lobby bar, renaming them Ciclo and Live Oak, respectively, but the main draw of both places was already present. To best show off those irresistible views of Lady Bird Lake, the Four Seasons added an outdoor deck to the rejiggered Live Oak. Lounge out there during the twilight hour to wait for the bats to take off from under the Congress Avenue bridge.
What to sip: In honor of the bats that take flight nightly not far from the hotel, Four Seasons bartender Sarah Rahl created El Murciélago (which, as you might guess, is 'bat' in Spanish). With morita chile-infused Kimo Sabe mezcal, Aperol, guava juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, agave and a dehydrated pineapple slice, the drink has exactly the sort of spicy, smoky and tropical fruity notes Austinites gravitate toward. And did we mention the square ice cube stamped with the image of a bat?
Il Brutto, 1601 E. Sixth St.
Despite what its name suggests, there's nothing ugly about Il Brutto. From the New Waterloo restaurant team behind La Condesa and other projects, the Italian restaurant boasts a nice-sized patio (with an ever-essential oak practically smack in the center) where you can people-watch while you carb-load thanks to Il Brutto's prime location in the middle of the East Sixth Street action.
What to sip: Frozen drinks are a must in Texas, and low-ABV spritzes have also caught on in the past couple of years. Il Brutto has brilliantly combined the two and, as of its anniversary earlier this month, began offering a frozen Aperol Spritz.
Kitty Cohen's, 2211 Webberville Rd.
With a larger patio than indoor space, the retro-inspired bar comes complete with spiky palm trees and an outdoor wading pool where you can soak your feet during a high-temperature afternoon. Along with large white umbrellas shading mismatched tables, that raised pool establishes a vibe of 1970s cool that’s hard to beat.
What to sip: Two words: frozen rosé.
The Little Darlin', 6507 Circle S Rd.
If any bar patio could feel like a backyard where all your closest friends are congregating, this South Austin spot is it. The spacious yard has games, live music, plenty of seating and the kind of casual, dog-friendly atmosphere that locals love.
What to sip: What could pair better with the laid-back vibes than a good local beer? The Little Darlin' keeps Austin beers on tap that range from Live Oak Hefeweizen to the latest Zilker Brewing IPA. There are also a variety of canned and bottle options.
RELATED: You can pour your own beer at Northwest Austin's Oz. Tap House
Manuel's, 10201 Jollyville Rd.
The original downtown location of this Mexican restaurant has been family-owned for more than 35 years, as has the newer location in the Arboretum area. It's this north location you'll want to check out for its gorgeous garden patio, featuring outdoor sofas, tropical gardens, 200-year-old live oak trees and even a waterfall.
What to sip: What else could you drink at a Mexican establishment than a proper margarita? Manuel's house margarita, which comes frozen or on the rocks, has blanco tequila, triple sec and lime juice, but you can add fruit like mango, prickly pear or fresh watermelon for an extra $1.
Mattie's, 811 W. Live Oak St.
Southern charm and hospitality take center stage at the longtime Austin restaurant. (You might remember it was revamped a couple years ago by La Corsha Hospitality Group, but it was once Green Pastures.) The grand old house built in the late 1800s holds design surprises in every room, but the many twisted oak trees dotting the property — along with wandering, camera-ready peacocks — will lure you onto the porch or the patio for serene outdoor dining.
What to sip: La Corsha's beverage director, Jason Stevens, designed the cocktail menu to have many Southern-accented cocktails, including the Green Pastures Julep. Featuring Woodford Reserve bourbon, peach rooibos brandy and a veritable bouquet of spearmint, this ice-topped twist on a classic is perfect to drink anytime, and not just during May's Kentucky Derby.
Olive & June, 3411 Glenview Ave.
There are three stories to this hideaway Italian spot, but with Olive & June's plans to take down the tent over the patio on April 23, you'll likely want to flock to one of the tables underneath an enormous oak tree. The entire patio is decked out with greenery that will leave you feeling at peace whether you have one of the happy hour cocktails or not.
What to sip: Go with the peachy La Tempesta, created by lead bartender Alex Gonzalez. He combined Bombay Sapphire gin with Acqua di Cedro Liqueur, Laphroaig 10 year Scotch, peach and lemon for a delightfully complex mixed drink.