• September 11, 2023
  • Lauren Critzer
  • 0

Dipping Into Austin’s Secret Sips: Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Underground Speakeasy Bars

In Austin, Texas, music and merriment overflow from every corner. However, there’s another side to the city’s nightlife that’s more hush-hush. Secret passwords, hidden doors, and unmarked entrances… Welcome to Austin’s underground speakeasy scene. Join us on this adventure, and allow us to be your local guide to the best speakeasy bars in Austin. We’re heading below the surface and behind closed doors, into a world where the roaring ’20s vibe is intoxicating, and vintage cocktails make for nights folks seldom forget.

The Magic Behind Hidden Doors

During the temperance movement of the late 1920s, when alcohol was considered contraband, speakeasies were the secret spots for sipping and socializing. Fast forward to the 21st century, these speakeasies are no longer hidden to elude the law, but to offer an enchanting escapade from the norm. The secrecy and vintage charm create an atmosphere of intrigue and indulgence. Shrouded in mystery, Austin’s speakeasies are remarkable, waiting to seduce you with their clandestine charm.

Midnight Cowboy: Putting the ‘Speak’ back in Speakeasy

Nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of 6th Street, Midnight Cowboy is intriguingly discrete. This speakeasy perfectly embodies the term ‘hidden gem’ from its unmarked exterior to artfully crafted libations, there’s a story behind each element.

Why it’s special

Originally functioning as a brothel, Midnight Cowboy yet bears the spirit of its promiscuous past. The decor is steeped in the charm of the early 20th-century, evoking a nostalgia that draws you in. Here, it’s not just about sipping on craft cocktails, but about appreciating the ambiance, the history, and the fond memories this place evokes.

Their drink menu is another intriguing chapter. Their mixologists are veritable sorcerers, conjuring up concoctions that tantalize taste buds. The curated list of classics like Old Fashions and unique creations like their Thai Gimlet, crafted with fresh Thai basil, are testament to their creative prowess.

How to get in

This establishment values secrecy as much as it prides itself in service. From the moment you locate the spot, you’ll be steeping yourself in the thrill of discovery. Look for a buzzer on an unmarked entrance marked ‘Harry Craddock’. It’s worth noting that this speakeasy insists that guests make online reservations and enforces a strict two-hour seating rule.

Firehouse Lounge: A Literary Rendezvous

Unassuming yet undeniably charismatic – FirehouseHostel’s speakeasy, Firehouse Lounge is an enchanting epitome of Austin’s underground bar scene.

Why it’s special

Tucked away behind a bookshelf in the lobby of a bustling hostel, Firehouse Lounge offers craft cocktails and unique bites that are guaranteed to delight your senses. The Prohibition-era cocktails are artistically crafted using fresh, high-quality ingredients and an uncompromising attention to detail.

What makes it a standout Austin speakeasy isn’t just the drinks or its hidden entryway. The lounge is also home to a rotating selection of live Jazz and Blues artists, the soulful tunes positioning it as an enticing locale for locals and tourists alike.

How to get in

Enter the hostel’s lobby, make your way to the bookcase, masquerading as a secret entryway. Discover the right book and let it guide you into this magical, hidden world of stimulating spirits and sultry tunes.

Garage: A Hideout in Plain Sight

What once was a dull, concrete parking garage is now a modern speakeasy, renowned for its innovative and resplendent cocktails. Housed within an actual garage, appropriately named Garage, this bar exemplifies that often, beautiful surprises lie buried in the most unexpected places.

Why it’s special

In a city known for its live music, Garage stands out for a decidedly different reason: its iconic signature cocktail, the ‘Indian Paintbrush’. This delightful creation won ‘Best Signature Cocktail’ at the Official Drink of Austin contest, securing Garage’s place as a premier destination on Austin’s cocktail landscape.

This tavern’s not solely about exquisite drinks. As soon as you walk into the space, you’ll be awed by its industrial-chic aesthetic. The vintage charm and modern design elements construct an alluring interior, and its intimate, dimly lit confines make it a sanctuary for spirited whisperings and sparking conversations.

How to get in

The Garage’s entryway stays true to its minimalist exterior. Enter the Colorado Street parking garage and look for a simple, unassuming sign stating “cocktail bar”.

Red-Headed Stepchild: A Secret Worth Finding

Tucked away down an unassuming alleyway in bustling downtown Austin, the Red-Headed Stepchild is a hidden haven for those in search of a truly clandestine night out.

Why it’s special

This cozy den combines a laid-back vibe with a refined drinking experience. Like a time capsule, the retro aesthetic invites patrons to immerse themselves in a bygone era, while the inventive drink menu keeps you firmly planted in the present.

The art of mixology is taken seriously here. The bartenders’ flair and skill transform classic cocktails and creative mixes into a poignant combination of taste and presentation. Patrons get to taste not just their drinks, but Austin’s culture in every sip they take.

How to get in

Finding the entrance is half the fun. Venture down the alley off 7th Street and look for a painted floppy disk on the wall. The entrance is a door nearby. The right password, obtained from their social media accounts, is your golden ticket into this fascinating underground gem.

How to Dress for Speakeasy Success

Clothes aren’t just about style; they convey a story. When visiting Austin’s speakeasies, it’s about embodying the spirit of a bygone era. Picture dapper men in fedoras, women in fancy flapper dresses, and a haze of convivial chatter and laughter. Dressing the part adds authenticity to your experience and makes for some fantastic, sepia-toned photos.

Wrap Up Your Speakeasy Adventure

The intriguing, hidden side of Austin’s bar scene provides an alternative to the regular outing. Going to an Austin speakeasy isn’t just an ordinary night out, it’s an experience – steeped in charm, secrecy, and expertly crafted libations. As we conclude this guide to the Best Underground Speakeasy Bars in Austin, we encourage you to step off the beaten path and uncover the secrets hidden in plain sight. Your underground adventure awaits!

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

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