The 11 Best Speakeasies in Austin, Texas
Craving a drink with a twist? Though real speakeasies in Austin disappeared with the repeal of Prohibition, you can find a number of speakeasy-inspired hidden bars throughout town. After all, if there’s anything better than discovering a great new cocktail bar, it’s finding one that feels secretive and exclusive! Most of these spots are intimate—and some require reservations or a password to enter—so be sure to get the most updated information from their websites or social media before you go.
If you’re looking for a perfectly crafted cocktail, here is our list of the 11 best speakeasies in Austin, including:
- Midnight Cowboy
- Small Victory
- Milonga Room
- Here Nor There
- Firehouse Lounge
- Red Headed Stepchild
- Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar
- Mezcalerïa Tobalá
- Kinfolk Lounge & Library
- Eden Cocktail Room
Let’s get started!
1. Midnight Cowboy
For the ultimate speakeasy experience, book a reservation for this cocktail bar set in a former brothel in the heart of Downtown Austin. Look for the red light at the door and ring the doorbell labeled “Harry Craddock,” and an attendant will slide open a little window to confirm your identity before granting you access.
Once inside the dark, swanky, and very film noir lounge, the chaos of Sixth Street will seem far, far away. Tuck into a booth in the narrow, mirror-lined main bar, or reserve a private room in the back for a group of four or more, where you can flip a switch that turns on another red light for service.
The expertly crafted cocktails at Midnight Cowboy are some of the best in Austin, spanning from riffs on classics to thoroughly innovative creations made tableside on a bar cart. Get your camera ready, because each drink—and its glassware and garnish—is a work of art (and some are even made with smoke and fire!).
2. Small Victory
This aptly named cocktail bar is so small that we highly recommend making a reservation on Resy before you show up. It can be accessed through the parking garage of the Stephen F. Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel on 7th Street, just east of Congress. Go up a small flight of stairs, then ring the bell outside for access. Once inside, you’ll feel really off the radar as you slip into a velvet blue booth or hide away at the round table in the back.
The cocktails at this Austin bar lean classic, from fan favorites like Mai Tais and Singapore Slings to lesser-known creations like the Better & Better or the Don Lockwood No. 2. Small Victory is also the place to ask your bartender to surprise you with a drink of their own choosing, as they are all extremely knowledgeable and skillful.
Pro tip: Don’t skip over their beautiful cheese and charcuterie boards, sliced to order and large enough to make a meal of it.
If you really like your bars in unexpected places, you’ll love Garage, an Austin speakeasy tucked away inside—you guessed it!—a parking garage on Colorado, just a stone’s throw away from the Driskill Hotel between 5th Street and 6th Street. Once you arrive, you’ll see “Enter” and “Exit” signs for the garage, but you’ll want to head toward the glowing neon “Cocktails” sign to access this bar.
This is an intimate spot, so you’ll definitely want to make a booking on Resy ahead of time to ensure you get a seat. For a quiet midweek date night, you’ll want to snag a marble table, but for a buzzier, weekend vibe, we recommend opting for a seat at the rounded bar.
If it’s your first visit, you’ll definitely want to try the signature Indian Paintbrush—once named the Official Drink of Austin!—or an Old-Fashioned, widely considered to be one of the best in town. Garage also sells snacks like salsa macha popcorn and spiced pecans.
4. Milonga Room
If you really want to impress your date, take them to Milonga Room, a romantic little speakeasy located below Buenos Aires Café on East 6th Street. This space’s luxurious fabrics, vintage furniture, and beautiful plants will transport you to an Art Deco Argentine salon, and there is often live music (and sometimes tango!) adding to the vibe.
Amaro and fernet are the specialties at this Austin bar, and you’ll even find some Argentine bottles you won’t see elsewhere. Add some snacks to your experience with delicious handmade empanadas and pastries from the kitchen upstairs.
Pro tip: Text the number on Google Maps to book a spot, then find the secret entrance in the back of the building.
5. Here Nor There
If exclusivity is your thing, you’ll want to see and be seen at this underground speakeasy on Brazos Street (between 6th St and 7th St). But first, you’ll need to request a reservation at this invite-only hideaway by downloading the HNT app.
Once inside, choose from intimate table seating, sink into couches and get cozy with your date, or sidle up to the bar to watch the Here Nor There bartenders work their magic, including whittling hand-carved ice before your very eyes. The menu features globally inspired cocktails, changes seasonally, and (spoiler alert) can only be read under blacklight.
6. Firehouse Lounge
The Firehouse Hostel & Lounge is more than just a cute name—it’s housed in the city’s oldest fire station, built in 1885. This lounge, which is one of the city’s largest speakeasies, can be accessed by pushing on a “bookshelf” located in the hostel library.
Firehouse Lounge is always a great way to start—or really, end—a night of barhopping. The cocktail menu at this secret bar embraces the classics at a reasonable price point that makes it a favorite among the hospitality industry (you can’t go wrong ordering the daiquiri!).
The space is no-frills, with red-patterned wallpaper, black booths, and mood lighting, though the vibe can vary depending on the night and whether there is live music or a weekend party crowd.
7. Red Headed Stepchild
Most people actually call this East 5th Street bar by the name of the sign on its facade, which is the tongue-in-cheek “Floppy Disk Repair Co.” Whatever you call it, you do need to get the code—which changes monthly—in order to open the locked door and get inside. (Hint: Try asking bartenders at other bars and look for clues on the sign outside.)
This place usually gets loud and busy, particularly on the weekends, so try going midweek if you want to get one of the swing seats at the bar (or want to be able to converse comfortably with your company). Also, you won’t find any candlelight or jazz playing at this secret bar—instead, you’ll find “blood”-splattered bathrooms, Ouija boards, a deer head crowned with fringed lampshades, and a horror movie typically playing on the television screen.
This speakeasy’s irreverent cocktail menu features highlights like a Purple Drank served in a Styrofoam cup and These Trix Are Not For Your Kids, which comes in a milk jug with Trix cereal on the side.
8. Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar
This low-key mezcaleria is located by the same family as Tex-Mex classic Mi Madre’s Restaurant and can be accessed by climbing a staircase off the patio of School House Pub. Lean into the dusty-looking carved doors, and you’ll enter a hideaway with a low ceiling, dark wood and brick walls, black scalloped bistro tables, and black leather-covered bar stools, with minimal light coming from a stained-glass window and some flickering Veladora candles.
Expand your mezcal knowledge by ordering a flight of copitas, or opt for a reasonably priced mezcal margarita. Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar also features rotating house creations, like the Tepache Mepache, made with tequila, mezcal house tepache, and pineapple-sage shrub.
9. Mezcalería Tobalá
The stairs outside Whisler’s, the popular East 6th Street cocktail bar, will lead you to Mezcalería Tobalá, an intimate space open only on Friday and Saturday nights. Framed sepia photos, worn wood and stone walls, and corrugated metal with peeling paint give the illusion of a space much older than this one, and glowing veladora candles and vintage Mexican artwork will make you feel like you stumbled into a rustic Oaxacan bar.
The back bar boasts a huge selection of different mezcal varietals—from Madre Cuixe to Arroqueño to Tepextate—and knowledgeable bartenders will gladly guide you through your experience. But if it’s cocktails you seek, you’ll need to go downstairs to Whisler’s—up here, they only serve clay copitas of mezcal accompanied by sal de gusano (worm salt) and orange slices.
10. Kinfolk Lounge & Library
While it might not be billed as a proper speakeasy, this bar and spirits library is inherently based on its hard-to-find location alone. Reservations are needed to enter the space, which is open Thursday through Saturday and located downtown in the historic 19th-century cellar below Moonshine Grill on Red River Street.
This cozy spot features brown leather banquettes, small marble tables, and a large communal table, plus bar seating facing an impressive, backlit collection of liquor bottles (including some very hard-to-find labels). Kinfolk Lounge & Library’s beautifully made cocktails are served in era-appropriate glassware and are split into four categories: fancy drinnks, old-fashioned and improves, daisies, and fizzes. They also offer cheese and charcuterie from Antonellis’ and macarons from La Patisserie.
11. Eden Cocktail Room
Making your way through the chaos of Dirty Sixth Street to find Eden is half the fun—and how appropriate that the bar is themed around vices, virtues, and original sin! Book a reservation on Resy before looking for the alley off San Jacinto between 6th St and 7th St, where you’ll find a purple door and a glowing red light. This is where you enter a world filled with glowing candles, draping brocades, and velveteen seating.
Serving cocktails with names like Fruit of the Forbidden, In the Beginning, and In Lieu of Taboo, this is the brainchild of Chris Crow, formerly a bartender at Here Nor There, so you know you’re going to want to get comfy and try at least a couple of these cocktails. Have no fear: There’s no judgment here, says the neon sign proclaiming, “We’re Only Human.”
If you’re still looking for ideas for a fun night out in Austin, check out our blog post, “A Local’s Guide to the Best Rooftop Bars in Austin.”