When I lived in Austin I learned over time about some pretty cool bars I had walked by a zillion times, but never knew were there. That’s because along with having a very happening public bar scene, Austin also has a pretty amazing hidden bar scene with excellent mixologists and dimly lit interiors.
The Bold Metrics office was directly across the street from the Omni Hotel so it just so happens that I know some great spots all a short walk from the hotel. So if you’re looking for a little adventure while your in Austin, here are my three favorite hidden bars, in order.
Small Victory (108 E 7th Street)
Only one block from The Omni, Small Victory is a bar I actually walked by for a full year before finding out that it existed. Located on the side of a parking lot and honestly looking like the stairs you would take to get to the second floor of the lot, this became my favorite hidden bar in Austin.
What I like about Small Victory is the juxtaposition between what it looks like outside, and the instant change you go through walking inside. Buzz the buzzer and you’ll be transported from a bright parking lot in downtown Austin to a small dimly lit cocktail bar with amazing drinks and honestly one of the best cheese plates I’ve ever had. Seriously, if you go there, get the cheese plate – I think they refresh it weekly and it’s amazing.
Firehouse Hostel (605 Brazos Street)
Okay, this one might sound weird at first but trust me, it’s one of Austin’s best mixology spots hands down IMHO. Firehouse is a hidden bar, in a Hostel, that you access by sliding a bookshelf to the side like you’re in a James Bond movie – it’s pretty cool.
To get into the bar simply walk-into the Firehouse Hostel, you’ll see the check-in desk on the left where they might ask you if you’re checking into the Hostel. Just give a little nod towards the bookshelf and grab the handle on the far left, sliding the bookshelf to the right.
Firehouse has great drinks but note it can get pretty darn busy in here and it could take a while to get your drink. I’m not a huge fan of the food personally so I’d stick to drinks when you come here. Located about a block and a half from The Omni it’s also a very short walk.
Midnight Cowboy (313 E 6th Street)
Midnight Cowboy has a certain “cool-factor” that has made it one of the hottest, yet secretive bars in Austin. I kept hearing about Midnight Cowboy from different people and when we’d go out on 6th Street friends would constantly point out it’s rather funky looking entrance.
Don’t let the entrance fool you, after getting in, Midnight Cowboy is one heck of a swanky place with a great vibe and amazing cocktails. This is also the only hidden bar on my list that does require a reservation to get in…so if you’re planning on going, make sure to make a reservation here.
I checked and there are reservations available Weds – Sat but I’m not sure how long that’s going to last, so if you want to check out Midnight Cowboy, I’d recommend getting a reservation ASAP.
Believe it or not, Austin has quite a few other hidden bars but these three were my favorites and I’m guessing I’ll end up and one or two while I’m in town. If you have a favorite you’d like to recommend, or thoughts on any of these three don’t hesitate to share them in the comment section below.