City Guide / Austin

A Local’s Guide to the 15 Best Rooftop Bars in Austin

By Veronica Meewes | Aug 9, 2022
Zanzibar's lush rooftop bar, one of the best rooftop bars in Austin.

There’s no doubt that Austin knows how to have fun. Bars line the streets of this Texas capital, from Dirty Sixth to Rainey Street to the Eastside and beyond.

Over the past few years, the city’s quickly rising skyline has resulted in a number of new rooftop bars boasting vacation vibes and breezy sweeping views. There’s no better way to experience the city’s alluring “violet crown” sunsets or watch the famous Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from the South Congress Bridge than a visit to some of these best rooftop bars in Austin.

Plus, many of these destinations also come with the opportunity for pool access—a necessary refreshment on sizzling summer days!—and some even offer cabana rentals, if you want to treat yourself.

If you’re looking for some fun in the sun at a rooftop bar in Austin, here are our top picks:

  • Zanzibar
  • Wax Myrtle’s
  • Otopia
  • La Piscina
  • P6
  • Geraldine’s
  • Coconut Club
  • Group Therapy
  • Eastside Tavern
  • Rules & Regs
  • Upstairs at Caroline
  • 77 Degrees
  • Second Bar + Kitchen Rooftop at The East Austin Hotel
  • Gin Bar
  • Greenlight Social

Let’s get started!

1. Zanzibar

Enter Zanzibar, the tropically themed rooftop pool bar crowning the Marriott Austin Downtown, and you really will feel “seven stories up and a world away,” just like they promise! Huge, vibrant tropical plants set the scene here, and whether you’re relaxing in lounge chairs or are perched at a high-top table, you’ll find plenty of gorgeous city views to admire.

The cocktail menu at Zanzibar features classics like Mai Tais and Birds of Paradise, plus beach-inspired signature drinks such as the frozen Tradewinds, made with rum, coconut, peach, Aperol, and lime. The food menu is also island-leaning, with offerings like poke bowls, massive shrimp skewers, and pulled pork on Hawaiian rolls with pineapple slaw.

2. Wax Myrtle’s

Named after a shrub that thrives in the south, Wax Myrtle’s is a tropical hideaway atop The Thompson Austin. This bar features thriving plants that cascade over the outdoor bar and provide privacy throughout a labyrinth of plush lounge chairs. A covered area provides table seating and a fireplace with city views for cooler months. The pool deck at Wax Myrtle’s is surrounded by plush beds and cabanas that can be reserved by both hotel guests and visitors alike.

The ever-changing Mediterranean- and Mexican-inspired menu serves some of the best rooftop plates in town, with plenty of fresh veggie options, and the drink menu features riffs on classic cocktails, boozy frozen drinks, and a wine list spanning Texas to Greece.

3. Otopia

Located right on the edge of campus at the University of Texas at Austin, the music-themed Otis Hotel and its rooftop lounge—appropriately dubbed Otopia—act as a blissful escape from a neighborhood typically dominated by swarms of students.

Each day from 5 p.m. to close, visitors are welcome to enjoy fresh bites like tuna wonton tacos and Wagyu carpaccio, plus “sunshine sips” and elevated classics like the Let the Man-go, with rum, pineapple, lime, mango puree, jalapeño, and mint.

Monday through Thursday, one hour before sunset and one hour after is known as “The Golden Hour,” when you’ll receive half off selected appetizers, $2 off wine by the glass, and an $8 rotating specialty cocktail while the sun sinks behind the Texas Capitol.

4. La Piscina

This vibrant bar and restaurant located on the fifth floor of the Austin Proper Hotel features a serene rooftop pool deck overlooking the hustle and bustle of downtown. While the pool is only open to hotel guests, you can still hang out and sample its menu of coastal Mexican cuisine with a Texas twist, such as ceviche, aguachiles, and sizzling tabletop fajitas. If you’re looking for the perfect golden hour spot, you’ve found it!

In addition to having plenty of patio seating, the interior of La Piscina is almost entirely windows, with sun-soaked teak and tropical plants bringing the outside in. So, whether you choose to soak up the sun or hide from it, either option is perfect for sipping on one of their well-executed cocktails. We recommend trying the hot fuchsia hibiscus margarita or the elote cobbler, made with bourbon, tequila, corn liquor, almond milk, and orgeat.

5. P6

Formerly a parking garage, P6 is now a rooftop lounge on the sixth floor of the Line Hotel. The elevated lounge is decked out in pink prayer flags and serves Mediterranean-inspired plates and seasonal cocktails with sweeping views of Lady Bird Lake and the bat-centric South Congress Bridge.

In lieu of a margarita, we recommend trying the Wild Side, a refreshing herbal blend of sotol, basil syrup, cucumber, and basil seeds alongside the crispy patatas bravas, which come with Parmesan, red pepper, pine nuts, and aioli.

From Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., you can find happy hour deals on beer, wine, and selected plates and save $20 on bottles of wine starting at 4 p.m. on Sundays.

P6 is a very popular Austin rooftop bar, so you can expect to book at least a month in advance for Friday and Saturday sunset reservations, and at least a couple weeks out for weekday slots.

6. Geraldine’s

Geraldine’s is the rooftop bar and restaurant atop the music-inspired Hotel Van Zandt, located just off rollicking Rainey Street. Enjoy the day lounging on the pool deck, which is open to both guests and visitors.

The pool bar offers refreshing cocktails like the Aloe Bout it (gin, aloe liqueur, habanero, and lime) and the Oaxacan on Sunshine (mezcal, pineapple, cilantro-jalapeño syrup, and lime), plus snacky essentials like a spicy fried chicken sandwich and mushroom tacos al pastor.

The city view is breathtaking as the sun goes down, and their deck is the place to be when fireworks go off over Lady Bird Lake.

7. Coconut Club

The rooftop is the crown jewel of this two-story Warehouse District dance club, which has hosted everything from daytime dance parties to artist markets to drag shows. Coconut Club gets pretty busy, especially on the weekends, so it’s usually easiest to order something simple (like a ranch water, the unofficial drink of Texas). However, at the end of the night, it won’t really matter what’s in your hand when you’re on the dance floor, wrapped in laser lights and surrounded by skyscrapers.

8. Group Therapy

Located on the seventh floor of Hotel Zaza and overlooking downtown Austin and Republic Square Park, Group Therapy features a lovely pool-facing terrace with blue and white Talavera tile, French bistro chairs, and potted philodendrons lining the building’s exposed brick.

The menu at Group Therapy features seasonal specials but, true to its name, leans toward classic comfort dishes like a Texas wedge, beer-braised shortribs, and crispy chicken with whipped potatoes. A sizable cocktail menu offers something for just about every taste, and you cannot leave without one of their signature espresso martinis.

Plan your visit around Group Therapy’s entertainment calendar, and you might just catch some live music on the rooftop, too!

9. Eastside Tavern

Despite its name, this eastside watering hole is far more than just a tavern. The modern, light-filled space recently transitioned from a barbecue-centric menu to instead feature dishes like Lockhart quail with gnocchi and blackened Texas redfish with goat cheese grits and sauteed kale—plus, a whole brunch menu.

Eastside Tavern’s lengthy cocktail list includes fun creations like the Lalo-palooza, made with lal tequila, Jarritos soda, grapefruit, lime, and butterfly pea flower simple syrup. There are always several frozen drink options as well, which are a must for hanging out on this spacious rooftop. Eastside Tavern is also an entertainment venue, with weekly shows ranging from karaoke nights to live music to drag shows.

10. Rules & Regs

Rules & Regs, a bar and restaurant on the seventh floor of the Fairmont Austin, features bright whites and nautical stripes, a spacious outdoor patio with plenty of coverage from the sun, and an expansive view of downtown Austin. A coastal, Mexican-inspired menu features dishes like cheesy Mexican street corn ribs and duck confit sopes, and the signature cocktails are all appropriately tropical. We recommend trying the Acapulco Breeze, made with sotol, tequila, banana liqueur, lemon, cucumber, and prickly pear.

Reservations for the bar and restaurant can be made any day, but the pool is only open to visitors Monday through Thursday. The Fairmont Austin also boasts one of the biggest pools in the city, so it’s perfect for a group celebration. Inquire about their various themed cabana packages, which provide everything you need for a stress-free birthday party or even a bachelor or bachelorette party.

11. Upstairs at Caroline

If you wish happy hour would feel more like summer camp, Upstairs at Caroline is the bar for you. The spacious interior features picnic tables on Astroturf, and the doors lining the perimeter open up to views of Congress Avenue and 7th Street. An offset roof provides coverage from rain and sun while letting plenty of light and breezes in while you play Giant Jenga, cornhole, foosball, and pool.

Caroline is the Aloft Austin Downtown’s more austere sister restaurant, while Upstairs offers a selection of tacos (which go for just $2 on Tuesdays!), as well as chips and dips. In addition to daily weekday happy hour specials, they also offer daily specials where their draft cocktails and frozen drinks are just $7. We recommend trying the coconut-spiked Hipster-jito and the Bad Life Choices, a watermelon frosé with an Everclear floater. And, on Sundays, bring your furry friends for 25% off your Yappy Hour order.

12. 77 Degrees

By day, 77 Degrees (named for the “perfect temperature”) is a breezy, sun-lit patio bar that overlooks The Domain, North Austin’s shopping and entertainment district. The rattan chair swings here are all the rage for Instagrammers. But when the sun goes down, the music goes up and it becomes a glowing, three-story club with an outdoor dance floor, plus plenty of lounge spaces to tuck into with your crew.

Their signature cocktails are a reasonable $12, and you can upgrade to a pineapple bowl for extra-tropical vibes or even order hookahs for your table. If you’re really looking to throw down, book VIP bottle service, and their bottle girls will pull out all the bells and whistles.

13. Second Bar + Kitchen Rooftop at The East Austin Hotel

This rooftop cocktail bar perched on the East Austin Hotel is perfect for a Sunday Funday situation, not least because the hotel has a sweet pool. Second Bar + Kitchen Rooftop is also heavy on the transportive travel vibes, with rattan patio furniture, Moroccan poufs, goldenrod tile, a sparkly red bartop, and nightly projected films that truly transport you to another time and place. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound patio look out onto East 6th Street so you can people-watch while you sip, too.

On Monday through Thursday, happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m., with 50% off their riffs on classic cocktails, beer, and wine, while Friday and Saturday bring a fun reverse happy hour from 8 to 10 p.m. Bar snacks here span the globe, with options like gochujang queso and blistered shishitos with yuzu aioli.

Want to beat the heat? Non-guest visitors can purchase a pool pass and get access to the pool from 12 to 4 p.m. or 4 to 8 p.m.

14. Gin Bar

The only bar in Austin dedicated entirely to gin, this East 6th Street cocktail lounge pours over 75 different labels of the spirit from all over the globe. Gin Bar is located at the back of the Arrive Hotel, a location with sleek, modern design elements such as delicate geometric shapes, wooden bench seating, fire tables, and intentional pops of red. There’s no better place in town to tuck away with a book or a friend and enjoy a dirty gin martini and a meat, cheese, and jam board with a view of East Austin.

15. Greenlight Social

You might want to arrive on the early side to ensure you can get into this West Sixth Street bar without waiting in some kind of a line. Green Light Social fills up on the weekends, particularly with groups of reveling bachelorettes, but it also has a fan base of locals who come out for the DJ-fueled dance parties and fun drinks — like adult Capri Suns and frozen cherry lemonades. The second-floor space features a wall of “mirrors” that are actually attached to a whiskey-focused speakeasy, and the wraparound patio features a perfect view of downtown Austin.

Looking for more nightlife ideas in Austin? Check out our blog posts:

Veronica Meewes

Veronica lives in Austin, Texas, where she writes about food, beverage, travel and lifestyle for a number of media outlets and brands. She's currently working on her fourth book project, a drinks guide to Austin, and her work has appeared in Forbes Travel Guide, Food & Wine, Texas Monthly, Tasting Table, GOOD, PUNCH, The Today Show, The Local Palate, Cosmopolitan, Vera, Serious Eats, EatingWell, Austin Monthly, Fodor's, Vinepair, Texas Highways and more. When she's not seeking out the best food and drink around the globe, you can find her hiking, swimming, doing yoga, enjoying all the live music Austin has to offer, and exploring with her pup Banjo. Follow her on Instagram @wellfedlife and visit