Growing up in the Austin nightlife scene gave me a deep appreciation for the kind of spots that make you feel at home. In an ever changing Austin skyline, it’s imperative you find your go-to places.
I have a theory I live by called the two-thirds method. The three components for a successful night out are good people, good drinks and a good atmosphere. My theory is if you have at least two out of these three components, you are destined to have a good time. I’ll give you the drinks and the atmosphere, but the people are up to you – the perfect equation to an amazing night!
Doing all of this with a healthy mindset just levels up your evening! You can have your gluten-free cake, and eat it too. Balance is key, and you should be able to go out guilt-free with friends without being the “health police,” aka, a total buzzkill. Here’s your guide to local Austin favorites with a cheat sheet to healthy options. Now, as we all know, Austin is growing rapidly, which directly correlates with the lines and crowds. So I am reluctant to share some favorites with you, but who am I to gatekeep these gems?
If you’re craving a hill country view and a night outside to enjoy the crisp weather, spend the evening at 5 Soul Winery. It is the epitome of Spicewood in all its glory and perfect for sharing a few glasses of wine or their delicious fall sangria accompanied by local artists’ live music. Though it is a more casual, relaxed location for a night out, you can play pickleball if you’re feeling active! Personally, I love their frosé made with organic juice and their own rosé. The more calories you burn, the more glasses you earn – am I right?
Photo tag: Not to mention the photos with your crew will turn out perfect with such picturesque scenery
Now, we can move along to The Gramercy, which is a newer spot in Lake Travis and still relatively under the radar. The cocktails are unique and delicious, and as a local, family-run joint, the drinks match the passion they put into it. These fresh ingredients with interesting craft twists are healthier and more satisfying here than your average joint. This cocktail lounge will thrust your evening into a glamorous direction. It also has a 1920s magic about it with its jazzy tunes, old school movies on replay and drinks that get you fired up… literally!
Photo tag: Pictured drink: the R&R, a Christmas special gin drink infused with rosemary and raspberry
Downtown, there are endless drinking possibilities, but I am partial to hitting up Whisler’s everytime. Both the outdoor breezy area and the indoor alluring atmosphere scream old Austin. Rustic and chic Whisler’s is an indispensable staple to the downtown scene, both in early evenings and late nights. They use wholesome ingredients with fresh fruit and herbs to make their drinks natural and unique, which makes for a fun night on the town in a low-cal way.
Photo tag: Pictured drinks: Sage advice, Aleister crowley and Southern cross
To survive any proper night out, you need a pit stop at a delicious restaurant to prep and prime your drinking canvas. Suerte is a convenient one-minute walk from Whisler’s. Their delicious butternut squash, guacamole con mancha verde (bonus: since it’s packed with avocado to aid your hangover) and any of their amazing masa y mas selections, and you are set for a perfect shareable meal, which is full of unique flavors and filling healthy options. Not to mention their delicious craft cocktails will keep your buzz going.
Photo tag: Butternut squash dish
Finishing off our locals list at a hometown favorite – singing and dancing alongside your friends at Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar makes any Austin evening one for the books. If you’re looking for a spunky night out in a crowd full of fun banter and flowing shots, this is your spot. For all of our new Austinites, Pete’s is like a rite of passage, and you need to spend a night singing some of your favorite tunes to officially become a true local.
Don’t let your liver blame me for all the fun you’re going to have with this list. Be it a girls’ night out, game night with the boys, double date or coworker happy hour, these spots won’t let you down and will inevitably impress your crowd.
About the Author
Katerina Cotroneo is a professional photographer turned lifestyle writer. Using her marketing background and her talent behind the camera, Katerina tells unique stories through her lens and captures diverse perspectives.