Your definitive guide to day drinking in Austin: Where to go, what to order and more
Yes, in Austin, there are always socially acceptable times to day drink — whether you’re showing the sights to a visiting friend or having a luxurious Sunday brunch. Whatever the occasion, a restaurant in this booze-loving city has the afternoon cocktail you’ve been craving.
Just make sure to do your day drinking safely, keeping water handy and ordering a Uber if necessary.
Here’s where to go.
Holy Roller, 509 Rio Grande St. Brunch has always been an easy excuse for us to partake in early p.m. drinks, and with this punk rock diner serving eclectic breakfast fare all day, every day, you won’t have to wait until the weekend to do it. Mixology maven Jen Keyser serves as the guiding force behind the cocktails, which include clever, playful concoctions like the Lyka Boss with honeysuckle vodka and caviar.
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails, 406 Walsh St. Don’t work out of a dedicated office? The all-day Southern-accented restaurant from the founders behind the Brew & Brew provides a calm setting where you can pull out your laptop, getting the day’s tasks done while you’re enjoying the likes of cauliflower tots and pickled-brined fried chicken. Oh, and nursing a drink, too, such as one of the five draft cocktails.
Pool Burger, 2315 Lake Austin Blvd. Spend a summer afternoon taking a dip in Deep Eddy Pool and, before or after that, having lunch at the tropical-inspired bar and burger joint nearby. It’s as close to a full-scale tiki bar as Austin has at the moment and serves fruity rum drinks along with creative burgers. Order a classic Mai Tai to taste those island vibes in booze form.
Irene’s, 506 West Ave. The downtown diner with dive bar vibes and an expansive patio serves booze as early as 7 a.m., when Irene’s opens its counter window for simple breakfast options like Nutella toast and an all-day breakfast sandwich. That’s when you can also grab canned brews, boilermakers and brunch cocktails after having worked the night shift and are feeling in need of a daylight pick-me-up.
Banger’s, 79 Rainey St. A massive expansion that will give the Rainey Street bar the largest draft system in Texas is sure to draw even larger crowds any time of day, but at the moment, the beer- and sausage-loving Banger’s is notable for its gigantic “manmosas” (which each call for a whole bottle of champagne) on weekends. Banger’s also regularly taps some of the best, rarest beers in the country.
Lazarus Brewing, 1902 E. Sixth St. Take advantage of a brewery open in the afternoon. In a prime part of East Austin, you can grab both house-made coffee and beer, sit down at one of the communal tables inside or the patio seating outside — where some serious misters will protect you from the stifling summer heat — and get to work. Did we mention there’s tacos at this divine local hangout?
Hank’s, 5811 Berkman Dr. One of the most Instagram-friendly new restaurants in Austin, Hank’s has the substance to back up all that West Texas-inspired style, as the expanded follow-up to former South Austin wine bar Henri’s. Take visiting friends to the Windsor Park eatery to enjoy house-made pastas, sandwiches like prosciutto and brie, and colorful cocktails that include a Frozen Paloma and more.
Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar, 8300 N. FM 620. Three-martini lunches aren’t exclusive to the “Mad Men” era. When you’re treating clients to a midweek meal, a sophisticated spot like Oasthouse can help you keep the price tag down — thanks to a two-for-$10 lunch menu — while also providing premium drinks. Splurge on the booze, but fill up with the likes of truffled fries and smoked salmon sliders. It’s a win-win.
June’s All Day, 1722. S. Congress Ave. All restaurants owned by the McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group are ideal for boozy work lunches, but this neighborhood cafe and wine bar has been a regular on best-of lists. The wine list, curated by master sommelier June Rodil (a partner in her namesake restaurant), can lead you from the afternoon — with June’s house brut rosé — to evening, when a full-bodied red awaits.
Second Bar + Kitchen, 3121 Palm Way #101. Both the downtown and Domain Northside locations of this accessible fine dining staple are solid bets for fancy work lunches. But at Northside, a major dining and shopping hub in North Austin, the food and drink doesn’t get much better than what you can find at the ground floor restaurant at the Archer Hotel. Classic Second cocktails like the Gin + Jam are best bets here.