This bar is probably one of the worst kept secrets in town, but it’s still one of the best ones on the list. Located in Austin’s oldest standing fire station, built in 1885, the Firehouse Lounge is a speakeasy hidden behind a bookshelf in the Firehouse Hostel’s lobby. The bar has great cocktails, a cozy and warm vibe, and dapper bartenders all eager to please.
Tucked away on Colorado Street between 5th & 6th Street, head inside the McGarrah Jesse building parking garage and look for the random neon sign blinking “Garage”. The bar is located inside the former parking garage attendant’s booth.
It has a list if impressive cocktails that feature local ingredients and bar snacks created by chef Philip Speer. Little known fact? They have an extensive list of Japanese whiskey. Click here to get reservation.
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This bar is one of the more challenging bars to get into which makes it even more fun when you do! To gain entry, you must use a door code that changes every couple of weeks.
A couple of tips for figuring it out: Grab a drink at Handlebar next door and tip your bartender well. They’ve been known to share the code when bribed! Next, there are sometimes “clues” posted on the board outside the bar. Feeling lucky? Wait outside for an opening 🙂
Once part of Austin’s notorious red light district, this bar was a raunchy massage parlor until 2005. Now, it’s considered one of the coolest secret bars in Austin.
For access, you must RSVP ahead of time and then follow the instructions that are sent. This system ensures its never too crowded and the ambiance is always chill. If for some reason there is an open table available, the “vacancy” sign above the entry will be illuminated.
Want a trip to South America without needing a passport? Then check out this secret bar hidden below Buenos Aires Cafe on 6th Street. “Milonga” is the word for an Argentine dance, and also a place for dancing and socializing so be sure to bring your dancing shoes!
The cocktail menu is heavily influenced by South American flavors and there’s a small bites menu for grazing on as well. Reservations are required, click here for deets on how to get them.
CLOSED: Bar Illegal
If you end up in the Rainey District area, be sure to stop by Clive Bar and wander towards the stone building in the back. The bar is one of the oldest buildings in the area and only has one specialty- mezcal.
If you’re not familiar with mezcal, it’s a smoky, agave-based liquor that’s reminiscent of tequila. The drinks offered are the real deal and they only serve small-batches imported straight from Oaxaca. If you’re curious to learn more, ask the bartender for a flight.